Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI

by David Grann

Narrated by Will Patton, Ann Marie Lee, Danny Campbell

Unabridged — 9 hours, 4 minutes

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI

by David Grann

Narrated by Will Patton, Ann Marie Lee, Danny Campbell

Unabridged — 9 hours, 4 minutes

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Overview

Notes From Your Bookseller

Adapted for young readers, this heartbreaking and critically acclaimed work of narrative nonfiction from David Grann reads like a novel. However, make no mistake — the history here is very real and Grann sets the bar high in bringing these events to light.

From New Yorker staff writer David Grann, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost City of Z, a twisting, haunting true-life murder mystery about one of the most monstrous crimes in American history.

In the 1920s the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, they rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe.

Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. The family of an Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, became a prime target. Her relatives were shot and poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more and more members of the tribe began to die under mysterious circumstances.

In this last remnant of the Wild West—where oilmen like J. P. Getty made their fortunes and where desperadoes like Al Spencer, the "Phantom Terror", roamed—many of those who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered. As the death toll climbed to more than 24, the FBI took up the case. It was one of the organization's first major homicide investigations, and the bureau badly bungled the case. In desperation the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including one of the only American Indian agents in the bureau. The agents infiltrated the region, struggling to adopt the latest techniques of detection. Together with the Osage they began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.

In Killers of the Flower Moon, David Grann revisits a shocking series of crimes in which dozens of people were murdered in cold blood. Based on years of research and startling new evidence, the book is a masterpiece of narrative nonfiction, as each step in the investigation reveals a series of sinister secrets and reversals. But more than that, it is a searing indictment of the callousness and prejudice toward American Indians that allowed the murderers to operate with impunity for so long. Killers of the Flower Moon is utterly compelling but also emotionally devastating.


Editorial Reviews

The New York Times - Dwight Garner

[Killers of the Flower Moon]…is close to impeccable. It's confident, fluid in its dynamics, light on its feet…the crime story it tells is appalling, and stocked with authentic heroes and villains. It will make you cringe at man's inhumanity to man. About America's native people, Saul Bellow wrote in a 1957 essay, "They have left their bones, their flints and pots, their place names and tribal names and little besides except a stain, seldom vivid, on the consciousness of their white successors." The best thing about Grann's book is that it stares, hard, at that stain, and makes it vivid indeed.

Publishers Weekly - Audio

06/05/2017
Three voice actors divvy up the task of narrating the audio edition of Grann’s saga of the mysterious murders of at least two dozen members of the wealthy Oklahoman Osage Indian nation. Actor Lee reads the first third of the book, entitled “The Marked Woman,” which largely focuses on the story of Mollie Burkhart Lee, an Osage woman whose family was killed off one by one in the early 1920s. Unfortunately her pacing is so slow that the grammatical structure of sentences is often lost, and she uses the same tone whether the subject is serene scenery or vicious murders. Luckily Patton picks up the pace when reading the middle portion of the book, entitled “The Evidence Man,” which chronicles FBI agent Tom White’s struggles to investigate the case. Campbell ultimately steals the show in the third section, “The Reporter,” which follows the man who uncovered the plot to steal the oil-rich Osage territory. He reads in a voice as gruff as the man the chapter is based on, while clearly communicating the complex plot twist that ends this fascinating chunk of American history. A Doubleday hardcover. (Apr.)

Publishers Weekly

★ 10/10/2016
New Yorker staff writer Grann (The Lost City of Z) burnishes his reputation as a brilliant storyteller in this gripping true-crime narrative, which revisits a baffling and frightening—and relatively unknown—spree of murders occurring mostly in Oklahoma during the 1920s. From 1921 to 1926, at least two dozen people were murdered by a killer or killers apparently targeting members of the Osage Indian Nation, who at the time were considered “the wealthiest people per capita in the world” thanks to the discovery of oil beneath their lands. The violent campaign of terror is believed to have begun with the 1921 disappearance of two Osage Indians, Charles Whitehorn and Anna Brown, and the discovery of their corpses soon afterwards, followed by many other murders in the next five years. The outcry over the killings led to the involvement in 1925 of an “obscure” branch of the Justice Department, J. Edgar Hoover’s Bureau of Investigation, which eventually charged some surprising figures with the murders. Grann demonstrates how the Osage Murders inquiry helped Hoover to make the case for a “national, more professional, scientifically skilled” police force. Grann’s own dogged detective work reveals another layer to the case that Hoover’s men had never exposed. Agents: Kathy Robbins and David Halpern, Robbins Office. (Apr.)

From the Publisher

NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK 

A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, GQ, Time, Newsday, Entertainment Weekly, Time Magazine, NPR, Vogue, Smithsonian, Cosmopolitan, Seattle Times, Bloomberg, Lit Hub, and Slate


“Disturbing and riveting. . . . Grann has proved himself a master of spinning delicious, many-layered mysteries that also happen to be true. . . . It will sear your soul.”
—Dave Eggers, New York Times Book Review

“A marvel of detective-like research and narrative verve.”
Financial Times

“A shocking whodunit. . . . What more could fans of true-crime thrillers ask?”
USA Today

“A master of the detective form. . . . Killers is something rather deep and not easily forgotten.”
Wall St. Journal

“The best book of the year so far.”
Entertainment Weekly

“David Grann's Killers of the Flower Moon is unsurprisingly extraordinary."
Time

“A masterful work of literary journalism crafted with the urgency of a mystery. . . . Contained within Grann's mesmerizing storytelling lies something more than a brisk, satisfying read. Killers of the Flower Moon offers up the Osage killings as emblematic of America's relationship with its indigenous peoples and the 'culture of killing' that has forever marred that tie.” 
The Boston Globe

“[C]lose to impeccable. It's confident, fluid in its dynamics, light on its feet. . . . The crime story it tells is appalling, and stocked with authentic heroes and villains. It will make you cringe at man's inhumanity to man.”
The New York Times

Library Journal

★ 02/01/2017
In the 1870s, the Osage Indians were herded onto a small tract of land in Oklahoma—land that unexpectedly held vast reserves of oil, rendering the tribe incredibly rich overnight. By law, the Osage had mineral rights outright, although they were still treated like children, requiring a white "guardian" to manage their assets. In 1921, there was a sudden upsurge in deaths of the Osage on the reservation—accidents, bad whiskey, and outright murder. Author Grann (The Lost City of Z) writes of these crimes, where at least 18 Osage and three nontribe members met suspicious deaths by 1925, many of them members of the same family. The Osage pleaded for the federal government to help, and J. Edgar Hoover, head of the fledgling FBI, sent agent Tom White to investigate. White discovered that many of the victims were connected to a single man, an upstanding community leader who stood to profit handsomely from the murders. The long, drawn out investigation finally resulted in convictions and good publicity for the agency, but some unanswered questions remain. VERDICT A spellbinding book about the largest serial murder investigation you've never heard of, which will be enjoyed by fans of the Old West as well as true crime aficionados. [See Prepub Alert, 10/17/16.]—Deirdre Bray Root, MidPointe Lib. Syst., OH

School Library Journal

★ 08/01/2017
In 1920s Oklahoma, many members of the oil-wealthy Osage Nation were dying untimely and suspicious deaths. The widespread crimes against the Osage and the inability to identify those responsible led to the establishment of what is now known as the FBI. Grann, author of the best-selling The Lost City of Z, makes a complex web of violence and deception easy to follow by keeping the focus on one Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, whose family members were murdered one by one. This gripping title uncovers a baffling level of corruption. The author points his investigative lens at the perpetrators of the murders, reveals cover-ups by authorities all the way up to the national level, and illustrates that the deception continued almost a century later. There are plenty of curriculum connections: Native American and Osage tribal history, economics, law enforcement, and journalism. A varied selection of photographs help to set the scene for readers. End pages include comprehensive source notes, citations, and a bibliography. VERDICT This thoroughly researched, suspenseful exposé will appeal to followers of true crime programs such as the podcast Serial and the Netflix documentary series Making a Murderer, as well as to fans of Louise Erdrich's The Round House.—Tara Kehoe, formerly at New Jersey State Library Talking Book and Braille Center, Trenton

APRIL 2017 - AudioFile

This audiobook will cause listeners to rethink everything they know about oil, the settlement of the West, and our nation’s treatment of Native Americans. The work is so rich that it takes three people to perform it. While Ann Marie Lee has a lovely voice, it’s too light for the horror she recounts—the murder of dozens of Osage Indians in the 1920s for the purpose of obtaining rights to their oil-rich land in Oklahoma. Will Patton and Danny Campbell, who mainly narrate the investigation by the nascent FBI and the subsequent trial, sound grim and gritty, as befits the story. It's amazing how much history and horror fills this book. Together, the narrators’ deliveries are powerful, making it a story listeners will never forget. M.S. © AudioFile 2017, Portland, Maine

Kirkus Reviews

★ 2017-02-02
Greed, depravity, and serial murder in 1920s Oklahoma.During that time, enrolled members of the Osage Indian nation were among the wealthiest people per capita in the world. The rich oil fields beneath their reservation brought millions of dollars into the tribe annually, distributed to tribal members holding "headrights" that could not be bought or sold but only inherited. This vast wealth attracted the attention of unscrupulous whites who found ways to divert it to themselves by marrying Osage women or by having Osage declared legally incompetent so the whites could fleece them through the administration of their estates. For some, however, these deceptive tactics were not enough, and a plague of violent death—by shooting, poison, orchestrated automobile accident, and bombing—began to decimate the Osage in what they came to call the "Reign of Terror." Corrupt and incompetent law enforcement and judicial systems ensured that the perpetrators were never found or punished until the young J. Edgar Hoover saw cracking these cases as a means of burnishing the reputation of the newly professionalized FBI. Bestselling New Yorker staff writer Grann (The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession, 2010, etc.) follows Special Agent Tom White and his assistants as they track the killers of one extended Osage family through a closed local culture of greed, bigotry, and lies in pursuit of protection for the survivors and justice for the dead. But he doesn't stop there; relying almost entirely on primary and unpublished sources, the author goes on to expose a web of conspiracy and corruption that extended far wider than even the FBI ever suspected. This page-turner surges forward with the pacing of a true-crime thriller, elevated by Grann's crisp and evocative prose and enhanced by dozens of period photographs. Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940169440867
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Publication date: 04/18/2017
Edition description: Unabridged
Sales rank: 200,049

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Chapter 1
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Excerpted from "Killers of the Flower Moon"
by .
Copyright © 2017 David Grann.
Excerpted by permission of Diversified Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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