David Grann

Book Review: Killers of the Flower Moon

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBIKillers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“History is a merciless judge. It lays bare our tragic blunders and foolish missteps and exposes our most intimate secrets, wielding the power of hindsight like an arrogant detective who seems to know the end of the mystery from the outset.”

Killers of the Flower Moon is an intense read and as usual, David Grann does not shy away from the gory details. Grann’s carefully researched book tells the tale of the systematic murder of the Osage Indians, cut down in cold blood for oil rights that the white settlers thought should be rightfully theirs. What’s even more shameful, is that the murders aren’t the result of a couple of greedy psychopaths, but a deeper plot involving the entire town, desperate to increase their already overflowing bank coffers.

I, personally, had never heard of the murders of the Osage despite the fact that they happened less than a century ago. It is painful to think that this erasure may be intentional but Grann seeks to give the dead a voice.

I don’t know why I’m always surprised by the human lust for money but this book was shocking. Despite that, the lessons imparted were more important than my discomfort. A must read for sure.

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Book Review: The White Darkness

The White DarknessThe White Darkness by David Grann

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s better to be a live donkey than a dead lion.

Full disclosure, I’ve never read a book by David Grann and didn’t love it. This book was no different.

In another riveting book by Grann, The White Darkness tells the tale of Henry Worsley who dreams of crossing the Antarctic on his own. Long an adventurer in his own right, Worsley spent years in the British military while pining for the icy abandon of the South Pole. Finally, Worsley is able to complete the quest of his idol, Ernest Shackleton, and he and his two companions (and relatives of those who originally traveled with Shackleton) voyage together to the South Pole.  Not satisfied with making history just once, Worsley decides to traverse the Antarctic alone with no food caches, just a single sled and his own fortitude. A lifelong leader, he always said “It’s better to be a live donkey than a dead lion” but his quest puts his motto to the ultimate test.

The White Darkness is short, coming in at only 140 pages. It’s built off Grann’s previous retelling, a short article in The New Yorker. The book doesn’t specifically improve on the earlier piece, but the photos are stunning. I was able to finish the book in about 2 hours and thoroughly enjoyed it.

*I received an advanced electronic copy of this book courtesy of NetGalley.*