Killers of the Flower Moon Summary
by David Grann

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Killers of the Flower Moon Summary

Killers of the Flower Moon traces the history of the Osage tribe in Texas. They were repeatedly denied true ownership of the land they lived on. Finally, members of the tribe were murdered after people found out the land they had was filled with valuable oil. The book also discusses how the FBI became the organization it is today thanks in part to the Osage murders.

The book opens with a description of a woman who went missing in the 1920s. Her sister starts to worry that something may have happened to her—and she's found shot dead. This is after another sister died from an unknown wasting disease.

The first part of the book discusses the history of the Osage people and the string of murders that took place over a two-year period in the 1920s. It begins with Thomas Jefferson, who promised that the people in the tribe would be taken care of. This promise, which was never kept, sets off more than a century of violence and encroachment by white settlers. The tribe is moved from one piece of land to another which impacts their ability to do things like maintain homes and keep traditions alive.

When oil was found on the Osage land, things changed for the tribe members. By selling annual leases to drill for oil, they became extremely wealthy. This caused people in the local community to feel anger and resentment. People from the tribe started to die at high rates. Some inexplicably sickened. Several were shot. There was a bombing. Each of these people was a registered member of the tribe with access to its fortune.

Twenty-four people died over the years. The tribe asks the federal government to come and help them stop the murders from happening. At this point, while they wait, Mollie—who has lost several members of her immediate family—sickens. She later indicates that she's being poisoned.

The book also discusses how the FBI gained the power it has now. When the Osage murders occurred, it was a small and relatively understaffed organization. But local law enforcement often didn't have the power or the desire to look into incidents like the Osage murders. People were dying and nothing was being done. Those who tried to help often also turned up dead.

Tom White, an FBI agent, is given the case. He assembles a team to look into the murders. The investigation is plagued with problems. The evidence has gone missing or been destroyed. Locals don't want to cooperate or don't remember the events clearly. He suspects someone on the team is a mole. However, they discover that...

(The entire section is 658 words.)