Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann

Title:   Killers of the Flower Moon

Author:          David Grann
Published:     April 18, 2017 by Doubleday
Hardcover:    338 pages
Awards:         Edgar Award Nominee for Best Fact Crime (2018); Andrew Carnegie Medal Nominee for Nonfiction (2018); National Book Award Finalist for Nonfiction (2017); Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for History & Biography (2017); Brooklyn Public Library Prize Nominee for Nonfiction (2017)

29496196Summary:     Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann explores the deaths of an incredible number of Osage Indians in the early 1900’s, specifically the family of Mollie Burkhart. The Osage were moved from their lands to a reservation on land that was later discovered to be on top of a rich oil field. The Osage had headrights to these lands and some of the white men, who were appointed their guardians, worked out ways to eliminate the Osage so they could have the money earned from them. David Grann tells the story of Mollie Burkhart’s family and how they were systematically killed so their headrights would be passed on. He also tells the story of how the U. S. Government was involved and the men who started the Federal Bureau of Investigation, some of whom worked on this Osage case. Who was behind all these murders? Was there only one man or were there many white men taking advantage of the Osage?

Overview:      I probably would never have picked this book up on my own, but it was our library book club’s February selection. I was surprised to find that I was very interested in what happened to the Osage Indians at this period in time and I was saddened by the way the white men treated them – as though they were not intelligent enough to handle their own affairs and that they weren’t fully “human.” It was racist and disgusting to me. Even though there were some passages that were heavy on investigation issues that didn’t work out, I didn’t feel that the book dragged.  I was more and more interested in the eventual outcome as I read along. If you like true crime stories, this is the book for you.

Until Tom White took over, the investigation seemed to go several different ways. Mr. White too all the possible leads and followed them to learn all he could and verify the facts given. I don’t usually like crime novels, but this was true and I wanted to find out if the criminals involved were brought to justice. There was nothing offensive as far as sex or swearing involved, however, there was ample violence due to the way several of the Osage were murdered.  I am very interested in details and making lists and checking off items when they are completed. This book was a great demonstration of that being done. Tom White made a lists of all the evidence that was gathered and set out to prove or disprove each item. He got discouraged, but in the end his persistence paid off.

Mr. Grann goes beyond Tom White’s investigation and communicates with descendants of the Osage to discover even more families who were victimized by their white guardians. As I said previously, it was disgusting to think that a nation of people could be taken advantage of in such a way. Although, if you think about it a bit, there were other nations who leaders attempted to destroy because they were deemed “undesirable”. This brings to mind the Nazis and the Jews. How can man be so cruel?

 I gave this selection 4 stars because it wasn't really a page-turner for me, although I did get more and more interested as i read on. 

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