Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Killers Of The Flower Moon: Oil, Money, Murder And The Birth Of The FBI (History) by David Grann


Paperback:  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, the Osage rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe.

Then, one by one, they began to be killed off.  One Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, watched as her family was murdered.  Her older sister was shot.  Her mother was then slowly poisoned.  And it was just the beginning, as more Osage 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 such as Al Spencer, “the Phantom Terror,” roamed - virtually anyone who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered.  As the death toll surpassed more than twenty-four Osage, the newly created FBI took up the case, in what became one of the organization’s first major homicide investigations.

But the bureau was then notoriously corrupt and initially bungled the case.  Eventually 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 one of the only Native American agents in the bureau.  They infiltrated the region, struggling to adopt the latest modern techniques of detection. 

Together with the Osage they began to expose one of the most sinister conspiracies in American history.

Killers Of The Flower Moon (2017) is a true-life murder mystery about one of the most monstrous crimes in American history.

About the author:  David Grann has written about everything from New York City’s antiquated water tunnels to the hunt for the giant squid to the presidential campaign.  His stories have appeared in several anthologies, including What We Saw: The Events of September 11 (2001);  The Best American Crime Writing, of both 2004 and 2005;  and The Best American Sports Writing, of 2003 and 2006.  A 2004 finalist for the Michael Kelly award for the “fearless pursuit and expression of truth,” Grann has also written for The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard, and The New Republic.

Before joining The New Yorker in 2003, Grann was a senior editor at The New Republic, and from 1995 until 1996, the executive editor of the newspaper The Hill.  He holds master’s degrees in international relations from the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy as well as in creative writing from Boston University.  After graduating from Connecticut College in 1989, he received a Thomas Watson Fellowship and did research in Mexico, where he began his career in journalism. 

He lives in New York with his wife and two children.

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