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Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Another from 2018 D Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann

Back cover
Read this in July 2018 and set it aside to post here, so it  kept going to the bottom of a pile of things to  write about.  As the New Year starts, I take books up to the library to donate to the bookstore for its sales and there I saw this awaiting. The story intrigued me as described on the back cover, I had not heard of this in history nor in travels.  The edition by Vintage Books, printed April 2018, but copyright  by the author in 2017.  This is a  paperback, 321 pages and many  additional pages of footnotes, sources. There is a map of the Osage Territory  inside the front cover which I found helpful reading about the  movements.  Another unique feature of this book is that each chapter has a title.  Touted as investigative journalism, this narrative is a good mix of history and mystery. 
Page 1  

The Osage tribe, referred to as red millionaires at the time, were the wealthiest per capita in the world in 1923 estimated at $30 Million which would be over $400 million by today's  figures. (Pg 6)  The writing is good and poetic in  some phrases, such as the reference to "juries of crows", page 8, referring to the birds along the telephone wires.  The murders of the Osage Indians are a tale of greed, jealousy, and downright lawless thievery.  There is  a history of the  Pinkertons and the creation of the FBI in 1908 by then President Teddy Roosevelt despite opposition to a national police force.  J Edgar Hoover enters the scene in 1925, pages 111-113 describe the agents as fact gatherers without  power, who all wore dark suits and polished shoes, were unarmed,  and all were Caucasian By 1924 J Edgar would get the job of FBI Director, and hold that position for almost 50 years.   Early in 1917 Tom White one of the last of the frontier lawmen joined the FBI,  he was not yet 40 years old and he  defied orders and packed a six shooter with him on dangerous investigations.  The book flashes between the history of law enforcement, the growth of the FBI and the Osage.  Mollie Burkhart watches as her family and relatives are shot and poisoned.  The murders were so covered up by so many that speculation remains who did what.  Margie Burkhart, the grand daughter of Mollie and Ernest interviewed with the author.  "What is gone is measured because it was what we wonce were.  We gather our past and present into the depths of our being and face tomorrow.  We are still Osage.  We live and we reach old age for our forefathers"
It is an  astounding tale.  A book worth reading, different, 5 stars *****.

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