Review: Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann

Goodreads: Killers of the Flower Moon: Oil, Money, Murder and the Birth of the FBI
Genre: Non Fiction, True Crime
Panda Rating:

(Review posted from 2018)

From the bestselling author of The Lost City of Z, soon to be a major film starring Charlie Hunnam, Sienna Miller and Robert Pattison, comes a true-life murder story which became one of the newly-created FBI’s first major homicide investigations.

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 this was just the beginning, as more and more members of the tribe began to die under mysterious circumstances, and many of those who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered.

As the death toll climbed, the FBI took up the case. It was one of the organization’s first major homicide investigations and the bureau badly bungled it. In desperation, its young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to unravel the mystery. Together with the Osage he and his undercover team began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.

“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 predominantly non-Indian society. Our history, our culture, our heart, and our home will always be stretching our legs across the plains, singing songs in the morning light, and placing our feet down with the ever beating heart of the drum. We walk in two worlds.”

I’ve said it countless times before but I’ll say it again: I’m not usually a nonfiction reader. I always have trouble getting hooked into the flow and most of the time I lose interest after 35-50% or it takes me forever (read: months or years) to finish a book. BUT that wasn’t the case with this one.

This book sucked me in from the start – big props to David Grann and his writing! I don’t know what to say about this book though. It’s… appalling and fascinating? It is a chilling and despondent portrayal of a very dark side of humanity. Reading the history of the prejudices carried out against the Indians left me feeling incredulous. I know it’s not an isolated history and it still goes on today, but I guess reading about the full extent of the injustices done and the perpetrators’ attitude of absolute right and entitlement to do so… Really brings back the time age-old question: who really are the savages here?

That said, this book is also a testament to the strength and perseverance of a peoples – to come through that Reign of Terror, although even generations after the time, not unscathed. I can’t even begin to imagine how it would be like to know that justice will never be seen for the family that was lost in such sickening and brutal ways.

Although I’m not in any way connected to America or this American history, it’s still sad to know that this dark period is not something that’s taught to younger generations – “lest we forget”. It’s so important to not forget this history.

Have you read Killers of the Flower Moon or is it on your TBR?

Friday Favorites: Outside of My Usual Genre

It’s time for another Friday Favorites hosted by Kibby @ Something of the Book! This weekly meme is where you get to share a list of all your favorites based on the list of prompts on Kibby’s page. Sounds fun, right? This week’s prompt is: books outside of my usual genre. When I think of books outside my usual genre I tend to think of books outside my “comfort zone”. I’m usually open to all genres, barring horror coz I’m a scaredy, so it’s always hard for me to choose things outside of my “usual”. That said, the first ones that come to mind are: Non-Fiction and books with Magical Realism (yes, I’m counting this as a genre).

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and The Birth of the FBI by David Grann. Every year my goal is to read more non-fiction. I find a lot of non-fiction doesn’t hold my attention and I find my mind wandering about 80% of the time. But then there are times where I come across a non-fiction such as Killers of the Flower Moon and I devour it in one night. I just couldn’t put it down. It’s written like a story, it’s compelling and horrifyingly fascinating. So much history has been lost, it’s a shame that it’s only through stories such as these that we learn more about it. 1,000% recommend!

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Surprise, surprise, this book is getting another mention on my blog! I know I mention it regularly, but it’s one of my all time favorites for a reason. Surprising then (maybe?) that it appears on this list! Magical realism and I often don’t see eye-to-eye and I feel like classic Spanish authors utilize it abundantly. Unpopular opinion time: I read One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and I wanted to cry out of sheer confusion and boredom 😭 So when my friend suggested I read Shadow of the Wind, one of her all-time favorites, I was really hesitant. You can bet I was surprised by how much I loved this book and sped through the pages. It’s so captivating and Zafon has a magical way with words that transports you to wherever you are in a story.

I’m Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come: An Introvert’s Year of Living Dangerously by Jessica Pan. This is a non-fiction and ARC that I finished very recently. I finished it late and it already came out at the end of May(!!), but I’m so glad that I picked this up. Following Jessica Pan’s journey as an introvert doing all the extroverted things in one year was not only HILARIOUS but also very comforting. She did all the crazy things that I have nightmares about (talking to strangers in public, public speaking, stand-up comedy, unplanned travels alone, and guess what? She survived all of it! I loved the way she wrote this so openly and honestly, and I’m pretty sure I laughed through 90% of the book. This was 1000% relatable especially at this similar stage of life. Is it weird/creepy to say that she’s the introvert that I wish I could be? Coz she is.

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan. I was so pleasantly surprised by this book. As mentioned above, magical realism tends to confuse me 🙃 and while I wasn’t expecting to encounter it in this novel (though really, I should’ve) I really enjoyed what it brought to the book! This story was touching, so beautifully told, and I feel like elements of magical realism is such a big part of Asian culture and storytelling. It simply just worked!

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. I guess this is a bit of a bonus because it’s neither NF or magical realism, it’s sci-fi! I included Dark Matter because up until now it’s still one of the only (adult) sci-fi novels I’ve read. Even if I included the YA sci-fi books I’ve read, I don’t think the number extends beyond the singles. I’m working on remedying that but (obviously) my TBR is a million unmanageable books long. So it’ll happen, just maybe not anytime too soon?

What are your favorite books outside of your usual genre? Any of these? Leave me a comment below and let’s chat in the comments!