Killers of the Flower Moon: Oil, Money, Murder and the Birth of the FBI

Written by David Grann
Review by Karen Warren

Killers of the Flower Moon is the true story of a shocking episode in US history. Set in the first half of the 20th century, it tells of the systematic killing of countless members of the Osage Indian nation, in an attempt to claim the valuable oil deposits that had been discovered beneath their tribal land. The newly founded FBI takes up the case and appoints Tom White, a former Texas Ranger, to investigate the killings. What he finds is a massive conspiracy of silence, masking widespread corruption and greed, and often breathtaking levels of betrayal and double-crossing.

I found this book fascinating as an exploration of the way that immense wealth can destroy people’s lives by turning them into victims, or by undermining their basic humanity. It also exposes the levels of racism that were prevalent at the time. Not only were the Osage people forced to “conform to the white man’s ways”, but they were denied authority over their own money, often having white “guardians” appointed to administer their affairs. Despite the grim message, this was a compelling read, and it is recommended to anyone who is interested in American history.