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

David Grann

Non Fiction

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 this 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.

-Excerpt taken from Goodreads.

Check Goodreads to see the book’s ratings.

My Opinion

”This land is saturated in blood.”

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5) The unimaginable story of the Osage Nation and the murders that ultimately destroyed them. The Osage went from the richest people in America due to the oil on their land, to the most murdered per capita and definitely the most ill-treated. The corruption sank deep into their people and the surrounding lands. It became a “web of silent conspirators.”

I believe it’s important to be informed of history, even the dark parts. But wow, some is really hard to stomach. It really was hard to hear some aspects of this story. The Osage started as a very content community until men came and took away their land. The land they were given was found to be inundated with oil and the Osage became rich. Because of that money, many, many people took advantage of them. The American government became the worst offender as most Osage people were deemed “unfit” to handle their own money. The money became their doom and people stared going missing or found dead.

What started as a murder mystery, turned into a detail-oriented investigation. I was initially 100% invested and broken hearted. Then the investigation started and I have to admit it was heavy on the particulars. While I was invested in the story, I found myself waning with the excessive details. The many elements and people mostly became stats and figures, not a personal story anymore. I found myself wanting to hear from the people, not the investigators. 

There were multiple people involved in the story, too many to keep track of. But it reminded you each time the people were introduced, what they were typically known for in the story. I found this to be so helpful!

In addition, the story focuses on what became the FBI. It was interesting to hear how and why it was assembled, and how it differs from today. The developing science of criminology was fascinating to hear. I love that crime scene details ended up progressing the science we are so familiar with today.

AUDIO REVIEW: There were three narrators for the story. Each took a different aspect of the story and were spaced out in multiple parts. I found this helpful as the monotony of the story became renewed with a new voice. However, it was still dry and detail-oriented which seemed to stray from the purpose and feel of the beginning of the story.

General content summary: minimal language, N*****=1, missing woman, previous sibling death, corpse found shot, another corpse found (few details), details of autopsy, digging up body for another autopsy, parental death, grief, Osage children forced to go to school days away, racism and prejudice (multiple), many poisonings (some details), house explosion with people inside (some details), many murders (details but not gruesome), rapist (few details), physical violence (blood), hanging (details), small child death from sickness, hanging death, murder suicide (gun, no details), spousal physical abuse.

Thank you to PRH Audio for the copy!

**As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. 

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