Book Discussion Questions: Killers of the Flower Moon

TCover of Killers of the Flower Moonitle: Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI
Author: David Grann
Page Count: 338 pages
Genre: Nonfiction
Tone: Disturbing, Richly detailed

Summary: Presents a true account of the early twentieth-century murders of dozens of wealthy Osage and law-enforcement officials, citing the contributions and missteps of a fledgling FBI that eventually uncovered one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.

 

 

SPOILER WARNING: These book discussion questions are highly detailed and will ruin plot points if you have not read the book.

The Library is happy to share these original questions for your use. If reproducing, please credit with the following statement: 2019 Mount Prospect Public Library. All rights reserved. Used with Permission.

    1. 1. Before reading this book had you ever heard of the Osage Native Americans? If not, why do you think it would be that many of us never heard of a tribe of Native Americans who were among the wealthiest people in the world? “The world’s richest people per capita were becoming the world’s most murdered.  The press later described the killings as being as ‘dark and sordid as any murder story of the century’ and ‘the bloodiest chapter in American crime history’.” (p. 103)  So why isn’t it better known?

 

    1. 2. How did the Osage come to be so wealthy? What tactics did the government employ to inhibit the Osage from freely using their money?

 

    1. 3. The subtitle is “The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI”  – obviously they are intertwined, but are these topics given equal weight?  Were you more involved with one than the other?

 

    1. 4. Mollie is quickly established as the central character.  How would you describe her?  Did your opinion change during the story?  Why did Grann use her as a focus?

 

    1. 5. Is it difficult to believe such an intricate web of deeds and people went undetected for so long?  How do we explain this?

 

    1. 6. Did you like the inclusion of photos throughout the story?  How did that add to your understanding?  Was there anything in particular that made an impression?

 

    1. 7. I’m supposing we have some veteran mystery and history readers in here.  Did any of you guess who was responsible for many of the deaths?

 

    1. 8. Can you recall your first impression of William Hale?  How does the author bring to life his strengths and appeal, as well as the darker side of his nature?

 

    1. 9. How did you respond to the description of law enforcement in America during the 1920s?  Did anything shock or surprise you?  What made the situation in Osage Co. particularly chaotic?

 

    1. 10. In what ways does Tom White combine the qualities of the Old West and of the modern bureaucratic system Hoover is trying to create?  Would you define him as the hero of the book?  What about his post-investigative life?

 

    1. 11. Perhaps the most chilling aspect of KotFM is the marital and familial connections between murderers and their victims..  What explains EB’s actions even as he remained married to and had children with Mollie?  How does Grann bring to life the particular horror of crimes committed within a family and a close-knit community?

 

    1. 12. Part two seems to draw the story to a close, but then we’re teased for part three.  Did this surprise you?  Were you glad?  What do we learn in Part 3?

 

    1. 13. In Part three the story was told differently, in that the author inserted himself.  Was this the right technique to use?  Did it enhance the story?

 

    1. 14. Were you satisfied with how the book ended?

 

    1. 15. How might you describe the experience of reading this book?  Was it easy to delve into?  Fast-paced?  Dull?

 

    1. 16. Did anything in the book make you angry?

 

    1. 17. Would you recommend this book to a friend?

 

    1. Want help with your book discussion group? Check out tips, advice, and all the ways the Library can help support your group!

 

    1. OTHER RESOURCES:
    2. The New York Time’s February Book Club Pick
      LitLovers Guide to Killers of the Flower Moon
      David Grann’s Official Website
      PBS Newshour Interview with Author David Grann

 

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