Killers of the Flower Moon
by David Grann
About the Book
From New Yorker staff writer David Grann, #1 New York Times best-selling author of The Lost City of Z, a twisting, haunting true-life murder mystery about one of the most monstrous crimes in American history.
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, they 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. Her relatives were shot and poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more and more members of the tribe 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 like Al Spencer, the “Phantom Terror,” roamed—many of those who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered. As the death toll climbed to more than twenty-four, the FBI took up the case. It was one of the organization’s first major homicide investigations and the bureau badly bungled the case. In desperation, the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including one of the only American Indian agents in the bureau. The agents infiltrated the region, struggling to adopt the latest techniques of detection. Together with the Osage they began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.
In Killers of the Flower Moon, David Grann revisits a shocking series of crimes in which dozens of people were murdered in cold blood. Based on years of research and startling new evidence, the book is a masterpiece of narrative nonfiction, as each step in the investigation reveals a series of sinister secrets and reversals. But more than that, it is a searing indictment of the callousness and prejudice toward American Indians that allowed the murderers to operate with impunity for so long. Killers of the Flower Moon is utterly compelling, but also emotionally devastating. ~https://www.davidgrann.com/books/
- Buried secrets: The Osage murders (CBS News)
- Largely Forgotten Osage Murders Reveal A Conspiracy Against Wealthy Native Americans (NPR)
- The Osage Indians Struck It Rich, Then Paid the Price (New York Times)
About the Author
After half a decade of research, Grann’s new book, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, follows the murders of Osage Native Americans after striking oil in 1920s Oklahoma. Debuting at #3 on The New York Times nonfiction bestsellers list, Killers of the Flower Moon has received rave reviews. The Washington Post called it “wildly entertaining” and Booklist described it as “a chilling tale of unfettered greed, cruel prejudice and corrupted justice.”
His first book, The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon, became a #1 New York Timesbestseller and has been translated into more than 25 languages. The book interweaves the story of the legendary British explorer Percy Fawcett’s 1925 quest to find a fabled civilization and Grann’s own attempt to follow Fawcett’s elusive trail and solve “one of the greatest mysteries of the twentieth century.”
The 2017 film adaptation, directed by James Gray and starring Charlie Hunnam, is a dramatic portrayal of Fawcett’s expedition through the Amazon. Called “mesmerizing” by The New York Times and “a mysterious, enthralling masterpiece” by The Atlantic, The Lost City of Z saw the return of Grann’s book to the Timesbestseller list eight years after its original release.
Known for his compelling and irresistible stories, Grann has been called “The man Hollywood can’t stop reading.” The film version of his New Yorker article, “True Crimes,” starring Jim Carrey, will be released in 2017. The movie based on Grann’s story, “The Old Man & The Gun,” is currently in production, starring Casey Affleck and Robert Redford. And there was a bidding war for the film rights to Killers of the Flower Moon, with a screenplay in the works by Oscar winner Eric Roth.
Grann’s second book, The Devil and Sherlock Holmes, contains many of his New Yorker stories and was named by Men’s Journal one of the best true-crime books ever written. One particular story, “Trial by Fire,” won a George Polk award for outstanding journalism and a Silver Gavel award for fostering the public’s understanding of the justice system. It was also cited by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer about the constitutionality of the death penalty.
Before joining The New Yorker in 2003, Grann was a senior editor at The New Republic and the executive editor of The Hill. His work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, and The Washington Post.
To learn more about Grann, visit his website https://www.davidgrann.com/
David Grann’s Visit to GGF
David Grann will participate in the 49th Annual UND Writers Conference, “Truth and Lies,” which will take place March 21-23, 2018 at the Memorial Union on UND’s campus. The events are free and open to the public. Free parking is available. To learn more, visit www.undwritersconference.org.