Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI

Crown. Nov. 2021. 336p. Tr $21.99. ISBN 9780593377352.
Gr 8 Up–A young readers treatment that is just as imperative and enthralling as its parent text. Celebrated journalist Grann unfolds an account of terrible fascination and poignancy, illuminating a darkened corner of American history while throwing the shadowed sins of the past into stark relief. In the prosperous days of the 1920s, the Osage Nation of Oklahoma found itself sitting atop a treasure trove of “black gold” in the form of oil reserves. This “underground reservation” led the American Indians of this area to amass vast quantities of wealth—and to attract the fatal attentions of those who sought to gain control of that wealth by any means necessary. The narrative reads like a masterful mystery and epic tragedy all in one, with Grann as the thorough investigator who reports all the facts while underlining the lived humanity of every moment. Comparing the original text to this young reader’s edition, the modifications are deftly handled. A scene containing an autopsy, for example, excises the graphic details without losing a trace of the information most valuable to the story. This standard is upheld throughout. This version also contains helpful appendices, including a “who’s who” of notable figures as well as a glossary. The foreword by Dennis McAuliffe, Jr. sadly divulges some of Grann’s most shocking revelations far ahead of their appearances. Regardless, this version and any other remains an essential read.
VERDICT A must-buy for being just the kind of absorbing, gut-wrenching work of narrative nonfiction that readers will breathlessly page through to the conclusion.

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