Reading: Killers of the Flower Moon

As the first book I read in June, "Killers of the Flower Moon" by David Grann did not disappoint. This gripping non-fiction work delves into the sinister conspiracy surrounding the murders of members of the Osage Nation in the 1920s, and the investigation that followed. The book has already garnered critical acclaim and is set to be adapted for the big screen by Martin Scorsese (can't waaaaait!). 

But I think the true power of this book lies in Grann's ability to weave together a compelling narrative that sheds light on a little-known chapter of American history. Here are some of my takeaways!

The key figures

The book's narrative follows several key figures, including Mollie Burkhart, an Osage woman whose family members were targeted by the killers; her husband, Ernest Burkhart, a white man whose character represents the complex racial dynamics and conflicts of interest that shaped the investigation; Tom White, an experienced lawman who was brought in to solve the case; and William Hale (also known as "King of the Osage Hills", a wealthy white rancher who was suspected of being involved in the murders.

Brings the characters to life

One of the most gripping parts of the book is how Grann brings the characters to life, painting a vivid picture of their personalities, motivations, and relationships. From Mollie's fierce determination to uncover the truth about what happened to her family, to Tom's tireless efforts to track down the killers, and Hale's insidious attempts to cover his tracks, the book's characters are both complex and compelling.

At some point in this book, I empathize with Ernest seeing a sense of him being trapped and manipulated, as he is forced to make difficult choices that impact the lives of those around him. (Spoiler alert!) Throughout the book, it becomes evident that Ernest is under pressure and manipulation from powerful figures involved in the crimes. 

And as the investigation progresses and the truth begins to unfold, Ernest starts to realize the gravity of his involvement and the consequences of his actions. He experiences a sense of guilt and remorse, and the book explores his desire for redemption.

Enjoyable reading

Another thing that I enjoy the most is Grann's prose itself; it’s both elegant and easy to read, and he does an excellent job of building suspense and tension throughout the book. I noticed that during the course of the story, I've been emotionally invested in the fates of these characters, particularly Mollie Burkhart, whose family members were targeted by the killers.

When the murders begin targeting her family members, Mollie is initially shocked and devastated. The sudden loss and violence inflicted upon her loved ones elicit profound grief and disbelief. The book portrays her anguish too, as she grapples with the horrifying reality of the crimes and the devastating impact they have on her family.

As the investigation unfolds, Mollie begins to fear for her own safety and the safety of her remaining family members. The book captures her growing sense of paranoia as she becomes increasingly aware of the danger surrounding her community. Mollie's fear and the constant threat of violence create a heightened emotional atmosphere throughout the narrative, like you can feel the tension in the air as you read through the pages.

Remarkable writing

Grann has a talent for crafting beautiful and clear sentences, using precise and evocative language without being overly ornate or flowery. At the same time, Grann's writing is also very accessible, meaning it is easy for readers of all backgrounds and levels of education to engage with. He avoids using overly technical or academic language and instead writes in an engaging and informative way. I consider myself a general reader here, and I learned a great deal from reading the book, as it opened my eyes to the deep-seated racism and exploitation that plagued Native American communities in the early 20th century. 

Overall, this book is one of those gripping and suspenseful reads, with several twists and turns that keep the reader on the edge of their seat. Whether you are interested in American history, true crime, or simply enjoy a well-written and engaging narrative, this book is sure to captivate and entertain.

My final verdict: "Killers of the Flower Moon" by David Grann is one heck of a book! This perfect mix of history, true crime, and social commentary all rolled into one captivating read. Seriously, it's masterfully crafted. You'll be hooked from the get-go, making you think about so many things. It's definitely a must-read if you're into that kind of stuff!


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