Killers of the Flower Moon details one of the most heinous mass murders in American history that you’ve probably never heard of because the perpetrators were white and the victims were First Peoples, the Osage natives of North America. In an ironic twist of fate, the Osage tribe’s reservation in Oklahoma hid copious amounts of oil under the surface.
After oil was discovered and the first wells drilled in the late 19th century, the tribe quickly became the richest per capita group of people in the United States. Their increased wealth made them a target, however, and they soon developed the highest death rate of any group as well. Greed and racism are a dangerous combination; in Osage, they were deadly. Grann lays out the tragedy of the Osage describing in great detail the discriminatory policies of the state and federal government, as well as the bigotry and avarice among the white inhabitants around the Osage, that led to the murders. The federal investigation coincided with the rise of J. Edgar Hoover and his ambitious plan to turn the FBI into the most respected and powerful policing force in the country.
With an uncomplicated, straightforward style, Grann unpacks the FBI’s case, led by a former Texas Ranger named Tom White, alongside intimate accounts of the victims and family members of the Osage community describing the long- lasting, terrible impact the murders had on their community. Heavily researched and well documented, Killers of the Flower Moon deserves to be added to the must-read canon of literature depicting the immeasurable scope of malefactions committed by whites over many centuries against the original inhabitants of North America.