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

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

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, the Osage rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe.

Then, one by one, they began to be killed off. One Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, watched as her family was murdered. Her older sister was shot. Her mother was then slowly poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more Osage 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 such as Al Spencer, “the Phantom Terror,” roamed – virtually anyone who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered. As the death toll surpassed more than twenty-four Osage, the newly created F.B.I. took up the case, in what became one of the organization’s first major homicide investigations. But the bureau was then notoriously corrupt and initially bungled the case. Eventually the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to try to unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including one of the only Native American agents in the bureau. They infiltrated the region, struggling to adopt the latest modern techniques of detection. Together with the Osage they began to expose one of the most sinister conspiracies in American history.

A true-life murder mystery about one of the most monstrous crimes in American history.

Title:Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780385534253
Format Type:

About David Grann

David Grann has written about everything from New York City’s antiquated water tunnels to the hunt for the giant squid to the presidential campaign. His stories have appeared in several anthologies, including


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

  • Jeffrey Keeten

    ”Today our hearts are divided between two worlds. We are strong and courageous, learning to walk in these two worlds, hanging on to the threads of our culture and traditions as we live in a predomin...

  • Elyse

    Reading about injustice -historical tragedies--such greed - such ugliness---does something to us. It's hard to explain the depths of what transforms. We feel the anger... the incredible unfairness. We...

  • Trish

    That we as a nation, less than one hundred years after the Osage Indian killings, have no collective memory of these events seems an intentional erasure. The truth of the killings would traumatize our...

  • Diane S ?

    I don't know why or even how, after all I have read, I can still be surprised at man's cunning and greed. I knew nothing about the Osage Indians, certainly nothing about headrights that provided them ...

  • Julie

    Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann is a 2017 Doubleday publication. A Conspiracy is everything that ordinary life is not. It’s the inside game, cold, sure, undistracted, forever closed off t...

  • Liz

    A good nonfiction book will read as fast as a good piece of fiction, all the while imparting new knowledge to the reader. Destiny of the Republic, by Candice Millard, is a prime example. Now comes Kil...

  • Matthew

    3 to 3.5 starsInteresting and eye opening. A scary true story of greed and racism in the development of the American West. This is one of those hard to read and accept truths of American history. If y...

  • PorshaJo

    Lies, greed, murder, cover-ups....what a frightful Halloween read. Except this one is a true story, which makes it even more frightening. This is the true story of the Osage Indians. How they were tak...

  • Linda

    "We Indians cannot get our rights in these courts and I have no chance at all of saving this land for my children." (Widow of Joe Bates, Osage Nation, 1921)No horror novella could possibly mirror the ...

  • Diane

    This is the best nonfiction book I've read this year. I've enjoyed David Grann's earlier work, but this latest one is just fantastic.Killers of the Flower Moon tells a story I hadn't heard before: The...