Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann was an absolutely chilling tale. It wasn’t because it started with some horrible murders. It wasn’t even the grisly detail with which the discovery was described. It was because of the systematic erasure of a people’s history and collective memory.

The fact that I knew nothing about this history of the Osage Indians although I consider myself well-read in history was surprising. The connection with these murders and the creation of FBI was fascinating too.

In the end though, this is a tale of greed and racism. When the law is on your side and that law doesn’t value the lives, property or traditions of all equally, the opportunity for injustice is overwhelming.

Don’t misunderstand. This is not a tale of the noble savage being brutalized and taken advantage of by the evil white man. While that indeed happened, Grann tells this story much more even-handed. If you enjoy nonfiction and want to learn about a shameful period of our early history, this is a good read. If you prefer to not know when your side does something wrong… keep moving.

by Chris Doelle