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

av David Grann

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MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
3,2192033,086 (4.07)261
Presents a true account of the early twentieth-century murders of dozens of wealthy Osage and law-enforcement officials, citing the contributions and missteps of a fledgling FBI that eventually uncovered one of the most chilling conspiracies 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.… (mer)
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Most of us have heard stories of how​, hundreds of years ago,​ Native Americans ​had been mistreated by soldiers, settlers, or the government. ​As settlers pushed west, Native Americans ended up being forced from their traditional lands, or worse. ​Even when treaties were signed between the Indian Nations and the Federal Government, settlers and prospectors often ignored the agreements, and time after time, the government failed to uphold the terms of the treaties. Inevitably, Indian tribes were removed from their lands, and forced onto the least desireable regions of the States and Territories.

​We tend to think of this as "old history" or unfortunate mistakes of the past --- things which ended long ago. ​And then a book like David Grann's "Killers of the Flower Moon" is published, reminding us that mistreatment of the less privileged by those in power is not such ancient history.

Grann tells the story of the Osage Indian Nation in Oklahoma. Once controlling vast areas of the American west, they were forced onto a small region in Oklahoma ​on lands ​which were u​n​suitable for agriculture or ranching. But early in the 20th Century, vast oil deposits were discovered on the lands given to them by the U.S. Government, and ​almost overnight, ​they became among the richest peoples per capita in the world.

​Vast wealth controlled by a weak minority is a recipe for abuse, and that's an understatement in this case. It wasn't long before unscrupulous and powerful people conspired to take control of the oil wealth. What couldn't be essentially stolen from the Osage by means of deception was taken by force. The Osage Indians were already at the mercy of U.S. courts, judges, lawmen, bankers, lawyers, and a system rigged against them. And if having a rigged system at their disposal didn't allow the powerful white men to seize the oil wealth, mineral rights were simply taken by killing the rightful owners.

The book tells the stories of a number of Osage tribe members, and how many of them were shot or poisoned. Anyone asking questions into these deaths was also in jeopardy of being killed. Soon, the number of murdered people reached dozens, but no one was charged with the murders. Eventually, the newly created Federal Bureau of Investigation took control of the investigation, ultimately bringing charges and obtaining a conviction of several suspects. Unfortunately, once the first convictions were obtained, further investigations ended. And as Grann points out, it's quite possible that a number of other murders were committed people never identified. It's a sad story of abuse of minorities by the powerful. As the book jacket states, "Killers of the Flower Moon" is utterly riveting, but also emotionally devastating.
( )
  rsutto22 | Jul 15, 2021 |
I knew NOTHING about this atrocity until I saw a story about this book. That is an indictment of our teaching of American history in school. It is like we all we stuck reading Texas approved textbooks promoting "American Exceptionalism" instead of textbooks that told the truth. KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON is compelling and a book that I did not want to put down. The information is comprehensive, or at least as comprehensive as it can be given the time that has passed and the ability of the "victors" to whitewash the historical record. Mr. Grann is obviously a dogged investigative journalist and he gets the facts. But he also organizes them effectively and is really skilled at bringing the personalities to life. You care about the people he is writing about, as you should. The book manages to be about a lot of different things at once. As I was reading about the ability of the criminals to manipulate the local and state authorities and seeing how only when the federal government stepped in, in the form of the fledgling FBI, I realized again why "States Rights" is such a refuge for those who want to make things unfair in their favor. No system is perfect but we need to ability of enforce laws free of the influence that powerful people can have on local officials. This is an interesting and important read. ( )
  MarkMad | Jul 14, 2021 |
A deep dive into the attempt to defraud the Osage of their wealth from oil and headrights in the early twentieth century. Much of the book focuses on the investigation by the newly formed FBI into the deaths of many members of the Burkhart family perpetrated by a man named Hale. But Grann finds evidence of a much larger pattern of behavior and the Reign of Terror lasting longer and taking more lives than previously believed. Thoroughly researched and the case is clearly made. ( )
  ewyatt | Jul 12, 2021 |
Absolute must-read. So, white people force Osage to live in a region no one cares about. Turns out, said region has oil. The Osage get rich. The US government more or less forces them to get white guardians (cuz they can't manage their own money). Osage, a LOT of them, start dying at a much higher rate than the national average. The book focuses on the only criminal prosecution of some of these murders (the period between 1921 and 1926 where some of this happened became known as The Reign of Terror) by the nascent Bureau of Investigation. However, most deaths were never investigated because who cares about a bunch of dead Indians, and the entire white, local, leadership was corrupt. It is gripping and enraging. I had no idea about any of this before reading this book. IT deserves all the praises it received. ( )
  SocProf9740 | Jul 11, 2021 |
The first third of this book describes how the Osage tribe was forced off its ancestral lands by the US government not once, but twice, but perhaps got the last laugh as the crummy hardscrabble land in NE Oklahoma had huge oil fields underneath. Through negotiations with the Department of the Interior that made oil drilling and mining, communal property, the Osage tribe became very wealthy. However, starting in 1921, Osage tribal members began to die in unnatural numbers: some died violently while others suffered from a mysterious "wasting" disease. Originally thought to be only two dozen, the actual figures may have exceeded 100. Many suspected murder and lived in fear of who might be next.

The second third describes how the Bureau of Investigation (the early FBI) sent agents to unravel the murders of what became known as the "Reign of Terror." Led by a former Texas Ranger, Tom White, the team was able to bring some of the guilty parties to justice.

The final third of the book was author Grann's description of how the Osage tribe is faring in modern times.

Much like The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, this book tries to do too much and fails. The first part was interesting history, especially how poorly the Osage tribe was treated, having white wardens imposed who could dole out their rightful wealth as they saw fit. Unfortunately, there was no satisfying conclusions, just a mystery left unsolved. The second part was better as Tom White was a righteous person, but there were too many names, places, and the third part was awful. Really hard to believe that this is a best seller. ( )
  skipstern | Jul 11, 2021 |
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De maand van de bloemendoder is een fascinerend en tegelijkertijd gruwelijk boek over de moordpartijen, discriminatie en uitbuiting van Osage indianen aan het begin van de 20e eeuw in Oklahoma. Nadat de Osage, zoals zoveel indianen in de Verenigde Staten, waren verjaagd naar een reservaat in Oklahoma, bleek hier olie gevonden te worden. Hierdoor werden de Osage opeens rijk. Echter dit betekende ook uitbuiting, discriminatie en vele moordpartijen. David Grann is jarenlang bezig geweest met onderzoek naar misstanden die plaatsvonden en De maand van de bloemendoder is het zeer boeiende eindresultaat hiervan...lees verder >
 

» Lägg till fler författare (5 möjliga)

Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
David Grannprimär författarealla utgåvorberäknat
Campbell, DannyBerättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Carella, MariaFormgivaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Dedekind, HenningÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Fontana, JohnOmslagsformgivaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Gay, CyrilTraductionmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Lee, Anne MarieBerättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Patton, WillBerättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Strömberg, RagnarÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Ward, Jeffrey L.Cartographermedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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There had been no evil to mar that propitious night, because she had listened; there had been no voice of evil; no screech owl had quaveringly disturbed the stillness. She knew this because she had listened all night.
--John Joseph Mathews, Sundown
A conspiracy is everything that ordinary life is not. It's the inside game, cold, sure, undistracted, forever closed off to us. We are the flawed ones, the innocents, trying to make some rough sense of the daily jostle. Conspirators have a logic and a daring beyond our reach. All conspiracies are the same taut story of men who find coherence in some criminal act.  ---Don DeLillo, Libra
We have a few mouth-to-mouth tales; we exhume from old trunks and boxes and drawers letters without salutation or signature, in which men and women who once lived and breathed are now merely initials or nicknames out of some now incomprehensible affection which sound to us like Sanskrit or Chocktaw; we see dimly people, the people in whose living blood and seed we ourselves lay dormant and waiting, in this shadowy attenuation of time possessing now heroic proportions performing their acts of simple passion and simple violence, impervious to time and inexplicable. ---William Faulker, Absalom, Absalom!
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In April, millions of tiny flowers spread over the blackjack hills and vast prairies in the Osage territory of Oklahoma.
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Perhaps because he witnessed this—and other executions—or perhaps because he had seen the effect of the ordeal on his father, or perhaps because he feared the system could doom an innocent man, Tom grew to oppose what was then sometimes called “judicial homicide.” And he came to see the law as a struggle to subdue the violent passions not only in others but also in oneself.
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Presents a true account of the early twentieth-century murders of dozens of wealthy Osage and law-enforcement officials, citing the contributions and missteps of a fledgling FBI that eventually uncovered one of the most chilling conspiracies 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.

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