By David Grann
March 28, 2018
An Athenaeum Book Club pick 2018.
From the bestselling author of The Lost City of Z comes a true-life murder story which became one of the FBI’s first major homicide investigations.
In the 1920’s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, they rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions and sent their children to study in Europe.
Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. The family of an Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, became a prime target. Her relatives were shot and poisoned. But this was just the beginning, as more and more members of the tribe began to die under mysterious circumstances, and many of those who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered.
As the death toll climbed, the FBI took up the case. But the bureau badly bungled the investigation. In desperation, the FBI’s young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to unravel the mystery. Together with the Osage, he and his undercover team began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.