Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann is a brilliant work of investigative journalism covering a brutal, jaw dropping part of history that the US has swept under the rug and erased from history. In the 1920’s, the Osage Nation lived on a remote area of Oklahoma. They were forced off their original tribal land and made to live on what the colonizers thought was barren, useless, hilly land. Low and behold, it was rich with oil, and soon the Osage Nation became some of the wealthiest inhabitants of the US. Along with their wealth, came a string of racist and corrupt government restrictions on how they could access their money. Members of the Osage tribe were found dead, under suspicious circumstances, and their money began going to white settlers who cozied up to the tribe members.
Killers of the Flower Moon is a story of the Osage Nation Reign of Terror, as well as the forming of the FBI and how they investigated these crimes. Most of the murders in the Osage nation were never investigated and remain unsolved; the families have generational trauma that has haunted them to this day. It is a story of murder, corruption, and injustice against the Osage tribe that you will not find in any history books.
This book will leave you shell shocked and will fire you up about the injustices that indigenous people have faced since settlers came on this land and claimed it as their own. Killers of the Flower Moon is split up into three sections, covering the beginnings of the Osage Reign of Terror and the murders that started the FBI investigation, the corruption that the investigators uncovered involving high ranking government officials, attorneys, doctors, bankers, medical examiners, and many others, and the investigative journalism that the author himself invested in the book. This is a true work of nonfiction genius that reads as smooth as a fiction novel. Grann does not weigh you down with history and facts but tells the history in a way that reads quickly and packs so much information into the pages.
5 stars – A must read.
“Like most Americans, when I was in school, I never read about the murders in any books; it was as if these crimes were excised from history.”
Content warnings: racism towards indigenous people, graphic murder scenes, death