Jeffrey Keeten's Reviews > Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI

Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann
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it was amazing
bookshelves: american-indian, greed, the-old-west, true-crime

”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.”

The Osage Indians lived in Kansas until the 1870s when the government decided that their land was too valuable for them to own. Laura Ingalls Wilder, writer of Little House on the Prairie, was confused as to why the Osage Indians were being forced off their land. Her father explained: ”That’s why we’re here, Laura. White people are going to settle all this country, and we get the best land because we get here first and take our pick.”

Indians were looked on as a subspecies of human being who didn’t deserve to breath and certainly didn’t deserve to own any useful land. The Osage Indians were moved to Northeastern Oklahoma on a patch of ground that was deemed worthless.

But was it?

When oil was discovered beneath the reservation land in the 1920s, those dirt scratching Indians became extremely wealthy. The federal government, due to the Osages’ inherent racial weakness, deemed them incapable of managing their own affairs and appointed guardians to manage their affairs, white guardians. As an example, if an Osage wanted a car, the guardian would buy a car for $250 and sell it to the Indian for $1,250. The definition of guardian used words such as protector or defender. It didn’t say anything about exploiter.

This is a tale of greed, but unfortunately, it didn’t stop there.

It became murder.

When the suspicious deaths of Osage Indians reached twenty-four, the fledgling director of the Bureau of Investigations ( It would not be called the Federal Bureau of Investigations until 1935.) J. Edgar Hoover decided that he needed Federal agents on the ground. Hoover had already been systematically removing agents from the program that did not meet his criteria for education level and impeccable character. The agents out West, many of them ex-Texas Rangers, did not fit either of those profiles, but Hoover was smart enough to realize that, for a case like this, spit shined shoes and snappy ties were not going to get the job done.

He sent in Tom White, one of those disreputable former Texas Rangers. White brought some people in as undercover agents, and slowly the details of what was going on began to shimmer into view. The problem was witnesses disappeared or clammed up when they were asked to testify at trial. One white man who was trying to help the Osage was mysteriously thrown from a train. Another was kidnapped. Building a case was one thing, but actually prosecuting someone was not easy. It became more and more clear that this was not the act of just one man, but a conspiracy.

”A conspiracy is everything that ordinary life is not. It’s the inside game, cold, sure, undistracted, forever closed off to us. We are the flawed ones, the innocents, trying to make some rough sense of the daily jostle. Conspirators have a logic and a daring beyond our reach. All conspiracies are the same taut story of men who find coherence in some criminal act. “
--Don DeLillo, Libra


Meanwhile, the murders continued unabated. Osages were shot, poisoned, stabbed, and even in one case blown up with dynamite. The ruthlessness with which they were systematically eliminated was actually terrifying. I can’t even imagine the level of fear that the tribe was living under. Death was not a nebulous unknown creature, but was actually embodied by members of their community intent on their destruction.

The other problem was that white people felt the Indians did not deserve the money. The adage the only good Indian is a dead Indian was still in common use, especially if anyone encountered a situation where Indian ownership was in their way.

David Grann has done a wonderful job of investigating these murders. Though some people were incarcerated for the crimes back in the 1920s, the more Grann dug, the more threads he found that led to other guardians who should have been investigated more thoroughly as well. The descendents of those murdered Osage still want closer. They still want justice, even if the killers are moldering in their graves. ”The blood cries out from the ground.”

”During Xtha-cka Zbi-ga Tze-the, the Killer of the Flowers Moon.
I will wade across the river of the blackfish, the otter, the beaver.
I will climb the bank where the willow never dies.”


If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.com
I also have a Facebook blogger page at:https://www.facebook.com/JeffreyKeeten
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Reading Progress

April 18, 2017 – Started Reading
April 18, 2017 – Shelved
April 22, 2017 – Shelved as: american-indian
April 22, 2017 – Shelved as: greed
April 22, 2017 – Shelved as: the-old-west
April 22, 2017 – Shelved as: true-crime
April 22, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-50 of 77 (77 new)


message 1: by AB (new)

AB epic book jeffry no wonder you get so menny coments. :) :)


message 2: by J.R. (new)

J.R. Looking forward to reading this one.


Jeffrey Keeten AB wrote: "epic book jeffry no wonder you get so menny coments. :) :)"

Thank you AB! This book is a great piece of investigative journalism.


Jeffrey Keeten J.R. wrote: "Looking forward to reading this one."

Fascinating story documenting yet again greed overcoming morality.


message 5: by AB (new)

AB Jeffery call me Autumn right ikt down .........


Jeffrey Keeten AB wrote: "Jeffery call me Autumn right ikt down ........."

Will do Autumn!


message 7: by Michael (new)

Michael Mighty fine review there. A much more relevant story than his out-to-lunch "Lost City of Z". Just read a novel with some great Osage characters circa 1880. It reinforced my understanding from growing up in Oklahoma that the area they were confined to was part of their traditional lands, which got squeezed even more when they moved the "Five Civilized Tribes" and then a lot of Plains Indians into Indian Territory. I can't remember what book I read featured the karmic situation of Osages, suddenly rich on oil, driving Rolls Royces where there were no roads. I wasn't aware of this dark story of all the predation the windfall put in motion.


message 8: by Vessey (last edited Apr 27, 2017 05:53AM) (new) - added it

Vessey After reading In Cold Blood, I am no longer prejudiced toward true crime books. This one sounds like something absolutely heart-breaking, but also definitely worthy of our time, I love this review and I love the opening and closing paragraph. And I love you. :)


Jeffrey Keeten Michael wrote: "Mighty fine review there. A much more relevant story than his out-to-lunch "Lost City of Z". Just read a novel with some great Osage characters circa 1880. It reinforced my understanding from growi..."

This is one of those stories you would think I would know about. I've lived in Kansas most of my life. I'm a voracious reader of history. This is one of those secret tragedies that fortunately David Grann, who seems to have a fairly well established following, is bringing to light. Fortunately J. Edgar took a personal interest in what was happening and considered it a potential blight on the Bureau. This was certainly a gap in my education. Thanks Michael!


Jeffrey Keeten Vessey wrote: "After reading In Cold Blood, I am not longer prejudiced toward true crime books. This one sounds like something absolutely heart-breaking, but also definitely worthy of our time, I love this review..."

I've changed my views of True Crime over the years. I'm selective, but there are definitely some books in the genre that should be read by larger audiences. I hope this is one of them. Thanks Vessey!


message 11: by AB (new)

AB Jeffrey are you a aother that would be cool but how do you have a blog what is a blog. i wish you were on when i wrot this :( but your not. And how do you say like Seth wrote. Sumthing....
...?


Cheri Wonderful review, Jeffrey, I am so glad to read your thoughts on this, so glad to see your rating, too. I wasn't very excited about reading this before, but I am now.


Jeffrey Keeten AB wrote: "Jeffrey are you a aother that would be cool but how do you have a blog what is a blog. i wish you were on when i wrot this :( but your not. And how do you say like Seth wrote. Sumthing....
...?"


This is the links to my blog and my facebook blog.

If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.com
I also have a Facebook blogger page at:https://www.facebook.com/JeffreyKeeten


Jeffrey Keeten Cheri wrote: "Wonderful review, Jeffrey, I am so glad to read your thoughts on this, so glad to see your rating, too. I wasn't very excited about reading this before, but I am now."

It was even more fascinating than I thought it was going to be. I was just amazed how little I knew about this situation. As much history as I read you would think I would have come across more references to this bloody period in Oklahoma history. Thanks Cheri! I'm always learning!


message 15: by bella cullen (new)

bella cullen WOW!!!!!!!!!!!! How many followers do you have


message 16: by bella cullen (new)

bella cullen realy


Jeffrey Keeten PARTY PANDA wrote: "WOW!!!!!!!!!!!! How many followers do you have"

I just checked 4,280 Friends and 31,905 followers for a total of 36,185.


Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* Beautiful review. I have this one to read as well, starting soon.


Jeffrey Keeten Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder* wrote: "Beautiful review. I have this one to read as well, starting soon."

Thank you Erin! I hope you like it! I learned a lot that I didn't know.


message 20: by Noah (new) - rated it 4 stars

Noah Nichols Started reading this one last night. It's very intriguing and full of useful information.


message 21: by Vessey (new) - added it

Vessey Thank you so much for reposting this great review! I love you <3


Jeffrey Keeten Noah wrote: "Started reading this one last night. It's very intriguing and full of useful information."

Yeah, it sure is Noah! I'm glad you are enjoying it.


Jeffrey Keeten Vessey wrote: "Thank you so much for reposting this great review! I love you <3"

You are most welcome! Although it was an unintended reposting, but these things happen. :-)


Kitty After reading your review (it's more a summary of the story than a review), I don't have to read the book.


message 25: by Jeffrey (last edited May 25, 2017 06:14AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jeffrey Keeten Kitty wrote: "After reading your review (it's more a summary of the story than a review), I don't have to read the book."

Kitty you need a much better TROLL name like GARDOR. Hundreds of people have read this review on GR, Facebook, and my blog and you are the first to criticize how it was written. I revealed nothing about the conclusions that were found and believe me there is much more to learn from the book than what I've revealed here, but I guess my suggestion is don't read my reviews. That would be much appreciated. I will be sure to TROLL a few of your reviews as well to offer comment on what I think of your reviewing style. I just want to help out like you so kindly did here.

I notice that you have a 2.61 average rating review for the books you've read so you either are really HORRIBLE at picking books for yourself or you are not a very attentive reader ie not understanding what you are reading.


message 26: by Aarya Pillai (new) - added it

Aarya Pillai Mr Keeten, your review is just what a review needs to be, that element of story, with your comments, yet naintaing the suspense and a feeling of picking up the book (if it is good!).
Sometimes I feel that reading your review is more enjoyable than reading the book itself. Thank you very much!!!


Jeffrey Keeten Aarya Pillai wrote: "Mr Keeten, your review is just what a review needs to be, that element of story, with your comments, yet naintaing the suspense and a feeling of picking up the book (if it is good!).
Sometimes I fe..."


Thank you Aarya! I know that I really write essays more than reviews, but people seem to enjoy them regardless. You are most welcome and thank you for your support!


message 28: by Aarya Pillai (new) - added it

Aarya Pillai Sorry about the spelling error.. it is "maintaining".


Jeffrey Keeten Aarya Pillai wrote: "Sorry about the spelling error.. it is "maintaining"."

I had you covered. I knew what you meant.


Jessaka So glad that you reviewed this book and gave it 5 stars. Living in Cherokee Nation, our book group will love this book. Another one like it that we have read is Mean Spirit by Linida Hogan. It, too, was a great book. It was a Pulitzer Prize nomination. She is a Native People who lives in Oklahoma.


Jeffrey Keeten Jessaka wrote: "So glad that you reviewed this book and gave it 5 stars. Living in Cherokee Nation, our book group will love this book. Another one like it that we have read is Mean Spirit by Linida Hogan. It, too..."

Perfect selection for your group. Very readable, compelling and should be a source of much discussion. I've been meaning to read Mean Spirit for a long time. I know it will be good.


message 32: by Jessaka (last edited Jun 15, 2017 07:10PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jessaka Jeffrey wrote: "Jessaka wrote: "So glad that you reviewed this book and gave it 5 stars. Living in Cherokee Nation, our book group will love this book. Another one like it that we have read is Mean Spirit by Linid..."

Thumbs up


Cathrine ☯️ Jeffrey, I saw a short film expose/author interview on this a while ago which gave an overall summary of the story. I had wanted to read it and then thought it might not have the same impact having heard so many details. What do you think?


Jeffrey Keeten Cathrine ☯️ wrote: "Jeffrey, I saw a short film expose/author interview on this a while ago which gave an overall summary of the story. I had wanted to read it and then thought it might not have the same impact having..."

I never know what to think about the term "spoiler". Until I joined GR I wasn't aware of how obsessed readers were with not exposing themselves to too much of the plot of a book before reading it. I do understand not wanting to know twists and turns of the plot, but a lot of readers just want a review to say whether a book was good or not and not discuss the novel much at all. Obviously my reviews are not a good fit for those type of readers. :-) If you feel you have been overexposed maybe what you should do is delay reading the book another six months or a year. Some of what you were told will fade and maybe you can enjoy the book more as a fresh exposure. Usually once I learn about a book it is months or years before I get around to reading it anyway. :-) For me the information never sticks or becomes mine until I read it anyway. I hope this has helped Cathrine!


Cathrine ☯️ Jeffrey wrote: "Cathrine ☯️ wrote: "Jeffrey, I saw a short film expose/author interview on this a while ago which gave an overall summary of the story. I had wanted to read it and then thought it might not have th..."

Thanks! You're so right about the "fading" . . . one of the advantages of the aging process. I shall give it some time.


Jeffrey Keeten Cathrine ☯️ wrote: "Jeffrey wrote: "Cathrine ☯️ wrote: "Jeffrey, I saw a short film expose/author interview on this a while ago which gave an overall summary of the story. I had wanted to read it and then thought it m..."

If I had back everything that has been crammed into my brain at one time or another I'd be a genius. :-) Alas, far from the case, but it does allow things to be "new" again. :-)


message 37: by Jessaka (last edited Jun 16, 2017 01:08PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jessaka I am waiting to forget the book, Wilderness, so I can read it again. The thing with getting old is we do forget the entire story.

One of my friends who is in our book group already heard about this book you just reviewed, so it will get read next year.


Cathrine ☯️ Jessaka wrote: "I am waiting to forget the book, Wilderness, so I can read it again.

Jessaka, I'm still trying to get to Wilderness. Luckily I forget which books I'm still trying to get to and therefore don't feel so bad :=/


message 39: by Marie (new) - added it

Marie I am so impresed with David Gamm. His book "The lost city of Z" had me captivated. Such a well researched edd book and written in such an intersting clever fashion, it was sad to finish it. Am looking forward to reading this, being from New Zealand it is an unknown subject, but I can guarantee it will be amazing


message 40: by Vessey (new) - added it

Vessey Thank you so much for this really powerful review! I had a wonderful time reading it again. I love you <3


Jeffrey Keeten Marie wrote: "I am so impresed with David Gamm. His book "The lost city of Z" had me captivated. Such a well researched edd book and written in such an intersting clever fashion, it was sad to finish it. Am look..."

I still have The Devil & Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness & Obsession to read, but I have a copy securely tucked into my private library for when I can work it in. The Lost City of Z was also excellent. I watched him give a presentation on BookTV and he is so inspired by his own subjects. It was great to see. I hope you enjoy this one Marie!


Jeffrey Keeten Vessey wrote: "Thank you so much for this really powerful review! I had a wonderful time reading it again. I love you <3"

You are most welcome!


Janis My classic book club read Cimarron by Edna Ferber for its June selection. When I saw David Grann's "Killer's of the Flower Moon," I had to read it. I have not been disappointed so far. It is a sad reminder of a dark part of American history. I imagine most readers think of the 1920s as depicted in The Great Gatsby. McGrann's storytelling ability certainly will please lovers of history as well as those who love a good mystery. In the history we are creating today for the next generations to learn, this book makes me wonder if greed and corruption will ever end. I noticed that this week Flowers of the Killer Moon is now on the best seller list. It is worth all the praise coming its way.


Jeffrey Keeten Janis wrote: "My classic book club read Cimarron by Edna Ferber for its June selection. When I saw David Grann's "Killer's of the Flower Moon," I had to read it. I have not been disappointed so far. It is a sad ..."

David Grann is developing quite a following. I've read two of his three books and plan to read the third as well. He is compelling and passionate about what he decides to write about. Greed and corruption will never end. When we look at the history of some of the most successful business people in America they generally became so wealthy because the broke the law and took advantage of people who could not defend themselves. Capitalism is rather a sordid history. I'm glad you are enjoying it Janis!


Charli Louise Byrne That's amazing 😁


Jeffrey Keeten Charli Louise Byrne wrote: "That's amazing 😁"

Thanks!


message 47: by Vessey (new) - added it

Vessey Thank you so much for this fantastic review, Jeffrey! I was happy to read it again.


Jeffrey Keeten Vessey wrote: "Thank you so much for this fantastic review, Jeffrey! I was happy to read it again."

You are most welcome!


Paula Kalin Excellent review, Jeffrey. Just added.


Jeffrey Keeten Paula wrote: "Excellent review, Jeffrey. Just added."

Thanks Paula! I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did.


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