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

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Staff Reviews

In the 1920’s the U.S. Government moved the Osage Indian Nation to worthless land in Oklahoma for their reservation.  Unknown to the authorities, but quickly discovered by the Indians, oil was discovered and soon the wealthiest per capita people were the same Osage tribe members. Whenever there is wealth that belongs to people that are easily divested of it by legal or other means, bad things happen.  The Osage tribe soon began to experience many deaths by unusual means; drowning, poisonings, even being thrown down stairs or from moving trains.  Even when there were investigations into these deaths, the investigators were killed.  Law enforcement soon felt that a new way was needed to catch these killers.  What would become the FBI was enacted and the killers were soon identified.  Achieving justice was denied for the Osage tribe.  This book is an indictment of the treatment that Native Americans endured as well as a thrilling story of law enforcement’s early beginnings in a more modern age.


— Richard Stonehouse

The Osage Nation had been driven onto a reservation in Oklahoma because the land was worthless; rocky, dry, unfit for cultivation.  In the late 1800’s the tables turned, while the land on top might not fit the description of desirable farmland, there was black gold underground.  By the early 1920’s the Osage Nation’s Native Americans were the richest people in the world.  Of course they were swindled, by guardians appointed to handle all that luscious cash because the government couldn’t fathom letting the Indians be in charge of their own financial wellbeing. Even with this graft in place, whites were seething at the wealth of the Osage Nation.  Murder was the solution, not just one murder but conspiracies of murders, large numbers of murders.  A fledgling bureaucracy was just beginning, it would be called the FBI, its director, a young chap named J. Edgar Hoover sent his agent, Tom White, down to Oklahoma to put a stop to the killing.  But it took the ingenuity of the Osage Nation to investigate the crimes.  Texas Rangers, crooked ranchers, Native Americans, FBI, and a slew of interesting people make this an engrossing story of just how far corruption and greed can go left unchecked.  

— Deon Stonehouse

May 2017 Indie Next List

“One of the most horrific chapters in American history is brought back to the national consciousness with alarming detail in Killers of the Flower Moon. After the Osage Indian Nation strikes oil, its members become rich beyond their wildest dreams, only to encounter a vast and murderous conspiracy that will leave more than 60 members of the nation dead. David Grann reconstructs those murders and the subsequent investigations with astonishing care and reveals the depths of a conspiracy that stretched from Oklahoma to Washington, D.C. This story will certainly be one of the most important books of 2017.”
— Steven Shonder, Anderson's Bookshop, Naperville, IL

Summer 2018 Reading Group Indie Next List

Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann (The Lost City of Z) is a page-turner that reveals a part of American history long forgotten. In the 1920s, the Osage Indians of Oklahoma were some of the wealthiest people in the world. They were also being poisoned and murdered. Grann covers all the sordid details, brings the principal characters to life, and just when you think it’s all figured out, reveals new information. It’s a compelling story of greed, betrayal, J. Edgar Hoover, the Wild West, and murder, still resonating with the Osage today.”
— Alison DeCamp, Between the Covers, Harbor Springs, MI


NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST NATIONAL BESTSELLER • A twisting, haunting true-life murder mystery about one of the most monstrous crimes in American history, from the author of The Lost City of Z.

In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, the Osage 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. One of her relatives was shot. Another was poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more and more Osage were dying under mysterious circumstances, and many of those who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered.

As the death toll rose, the newly created FBI took up the case, and the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to try to unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including a Native American agent who infiltrated the region, and together with the Osage began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.

Look for David Grann’s new book, The Wager, coming in April 2023!

About the Author

DAVID GRANN is the author of the #1 New York Times bestsellers KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON and THE LOST CITY OF Z. KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON was a finalist for The National Book Award and won an Edgar Allan Poe Award. He is also the author of THE WHITE DARKNESS and the collection THE DEVIL AND SHERLOCK HOLMES. Grann’s storytelling has garnered several honors, including a George Polk Award. He lives with his wife and children in New York.

Praise For…

A New York Times Notable Book

Named a best book of the year by Amazon, 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

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

“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

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

“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

New York Times
bestseller (April 2018)
Product Details
ISBN: 9780307742483
ISBN-10: 0307742482
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: April 3rd, 2018
Pages: 400
Language: English