Justin May Newsletter

Well, it seems I’ve found myself on an unintentional literary journey through the work of David Grann. 

What started as an innocent reread of last month’s book review, The Lost City of Z, led to a deep and exciting rabbit hole of nonfiction novels based on remarkable historical characters who led extraordinary lives – lives worth documenting, and thankfully telling these unbelievable true stories is exactly what Grann has devoted the past two decades of his writing career to.

Next up on the docket was “Killers of the Flower Moon.” This book admittedly caught my eye due to the recent movie adaptation, which was promoted in hard-hitting snippets backed by haunting Native American singing – revealing just enough of the storyline and star-studded cast to leave a lasting impression and make its way onto the viewer’s “to be watched list.” 

To my surprise, it was a book first, and the author was the subject of my last review!

I decided I’d dive right in.

The book did not disappoint, in my opinion, it is a highly readable and educational work meant to both recount historical events and cause the reader to ask valuable questions about his place in society and what he will do in light of the more unfortunate halls of history. 

The tale is one of murder, political and moral corruption, unexpected wealth, and greed.

The story is set in 1920s America, Oklahoma to be exact. A Native American sect, the Osage, discovered oil beneath their feet and were suddenly more wealthy than their oppressors – men who saw them as unworthy of such riches. The scheme to relieve them of this money began just as quickly as the black river of oil began to line the pockets of the Osage.

The devious schemes were numerous and included marriage into these rich families, corrupt bankers, and worse of all murder. Killers of the Flower moon anchors the reader to one family in particular, the family of a Native American woman named Mollie Burkhart. 

A woman who lost her entire family to this tragic, greed-driven conspiracy.

In a community with an estimated population of 2,000, it is thought that between 60 and 400 Osage members were murdered over their oil money – a true massacre by any stretch of the imagination. The story of these people and their horrible plight was one of the first taken on by the F.B.I. which in itself speaks to the weight and importance of this occurrence.

In the end, it is a tale that must be read in order to be believed.

See you in the stacks.

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