Review: Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann

Good Evening All,

Happy Saturday! I hope you’ve all had a lovely Saturday, whether it’s been busy or chilled. I love weekends. I find it’s often when I complete books as I have plenty of time to get through them (and I’m able to keep my eyes open past 9:30 at night). This evening I got to the end ofΒ Killers of the Flower Moon by David GrannΒ and thought I’d pour myself a glass of wine and jump straight into writing my review. I’m still on my BOTM catch up mission and this one was June’s. I WILL catch up by the end of the year, I’m determined.

After oil was discovered on the land of an Osage Indian Nation in the 1920’s, they quickly become very wealthy people. The tribe lived in mansions, owned numerous cars each and sent their children to expensive private schools across the world. However, a tragedy started to expose itself when one by one, Osage Indian’s started dying under suspicious circumstances. Even those in authority, brave enough to step in and investigate found themselves dead, which brought the mystery to the attention of the very newly formed FBI. One problem; at that time, the bureau were notoriously known for being corrupt and weren’t able to crack the case. Eventually, a young J. Edgar Hoover, director of the FBI, sent an undercover team into the Osage region to investigate at which time they started to unravel and expose one of American history’s most sinister conspiracies.

Now, this is a true story and I am all about a true crime story. I love to put myself into the shoes of the individuals, knowing that they actually experienced what I am being told and try to think about how I would cope/react with that scenario. Unfortunately I kind of struggled with that with this book. I found it to be more factual rather than telling the story of the Osage Indians and because of that, as much as I was horrified to read about what happened, I found it a little difficult to really “feel it”.

That said; I knew nothing of this story and the horrors it exposes and I am grateful for the little bit of American history education that it has given me. Regardless of the time period in which these crimes were committed, I find it devastating and appalling that an investigation could be so corrupt, so very wrong and leave so many stones unturned. What happened to the Osage Indian’s back in the 1920’s didn’t just affect those of that time, it has had such a ripple effect right through to today, it’s atrocious. Families have been ruined and left with questions rather than answers about their ancestors. Being from the UK I thought that it was my distance that had resulted in my lack of knowledge of this piece of history, but having since read reviews from American readers, it would seem that my ignorance is shared. More people should know about this in order for society to learn, grow and generally be kinder and better to one another.

I’m sure many readers would disagree with my rating of this book, due to it’s historical significance, however my rating is based on the book, not the events that it details. I personally would have preferred to read about this from an empathetic, rather than factual perspective. I appreciate the lesson in history and I think so many nations can learn from that lesson, which has bumped my rating for this up.



β€œHistory is a merciless judge. It lays bare our tragic blunders and foolish missteps and exposes our most intimate secrets, wielding the power of hindsight like an arrogant detective who seems to know the end of the mystery from the outset.”

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


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