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30+ quotes from Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann

Quotes from Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI

David Grann ·  359 pages

Rating: (36.8K votes)


“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.”
― David Grann, quote from Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI


“As Sherlock Holmes famously said, “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”
― David Grann, quote from Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI


“Stores gone, post office gone, train gone, school gone, oil gone, boys and girls gone—only thing not gone is graveyard and it git bigger.”
― David Grann, quote from Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI


“The world’s richest people per capita were becoming the world’s most murdered.”
― David Grann, quote from Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI


“An Indian Affairs agent said, 'The question will suggest itself, which of these people are the savages?”
― David Grann, quote from Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI


“There was one question that the judge and the prosecutors and the defense never asked the jurors but that was central to the proceedings: Would a jury of twelve white men ever punish another white man for killing an American Indian? One skeptical reporter noted, “The attitude of a pioneer cattleman toward the full-blood Indian…is fairly well recognized.” A prominent member of the Osage tribe put the matter more bluntly: “It is a question in my mind whether this jury is considering a murder case or not. The question for them to decide is whether a white man killing an Osage is murder—or merely cruelty to animals.”
― David Grann, quote from Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI


“Many Osage, unlike other wealthy Americans, could not spend their money as they pleased because of the federally imposed system of financial guardians.”
― David Grann, quote from Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI


“the amount of oil money had surpassed the total value of all the Old West gold rushes combined, and this fortune had drawn every breed of miscreant from across the country.”
― David Grann, quote from Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI


“The Osage had been assured by the U.S. government that their Kansas territory would remain their home forever, but before long they were under siege from settlers. Among them was the family of Laura Ingalls Wilder, who later wrote Little House on the Prairie based on her experiences. “Why don’t you like Indians, Ma?” Laura asks her mother in one scene. “I just don’t like them; and don’t lick your fingers, Laura.” “This is Indian country, isn’t it?” Laura said. “What did we come to their country for, if you don’t like them?” One evening, Laura’s father explains to her that the government will soon make the Osage move away: “That’s why we’re here, Laura. White people are going to settle all this country, and we get the best land because we get here first and take our pick.” Though, in the book, the Ingallses leave the reservation under threat of being removed by soldiers, many squatters began to take the land by force. In 1870, the Osage—expelled from their lodges, their graves plundered—agreed to sell their Kansas lands to settlers for $1.25 an acre. Nevertheless, impatient settlers massacred several of the Osage, mutilating their bodies and scalping them. An Indian Affairs agent said, “The question will suggest itself, which of these people are the savages?”
― David Grann, quote from Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI


“A growing number of white Americans expressed alarm over the Osage’s wealth—outrage that was stoked by the press.”
― David Grann, quote from Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI


“At forty-four, Mollie could finally spend her money as she pleased, and was recognized as a full-fledged American citizen.”
― David Grann, quote from Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI


“Yet an ugliness often lurked beneath the reformist zeal of Progressivism. Many Progressives—who tended to be middle-class white Protestants—held deep prejudices against immigrants and blacks and were so convinced of their own virtuous authority that they disdained democratic procedures.”
― David Grann, quote from Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI


“For years after the American Revolution, the public opposed the creation of police departments, fearing that they would become forces of repression. Instead, citizens responded to a hue and cry by chasing after suspects.”
― David Grann, quote from Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI


“White gave his men advice in case their cover was blown: “Keep your balance, avoid any rough stuff if possible.” Making it clear that they should carry weapons, he added, “But if you have to fight to survive, do a good job.”
― David Grann, quote from Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI


“For years after the American Revolution, the public opposed the creation of police departments, fearing that they would become forces of repression.”
― David Grann, quote from Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI


“President Theodore Roosevelt had created the bureau in 1908, hoping to fill the void in federal law enforcement. (Because of lingering opposition to a national police force, Roosevelt’s attorney general had acted without legislative approval, leading one congressman to label the new organization a “bureaucratic bastard.”)”
― David Grann, quote from Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI


“(In the Choctaw language, “Oklahoma” means “red people.”)”
― David Grann, quote from Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI


“Some day this oil will go and there will be no more fat checks every few months from the Great White Father,” a chief of the Osage said in 1928. “There’ll be no fine motorcars and new clothes. Then I know my people will be happier.”
― David Grann, quote from Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI


“Mollie had become a traveler in the mist.”
― David Grann, quote from Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI


“In the early twentieth century, George Getty, an attorney from Minneapolis, began his family’s quest for oil in the eastern part of Osage territory, on a parcel of land, Lot 50, that he’d leased for $500. When his son, Jean Paul Getty, was a boy, he visited the area with him.”
― David Grann, quote from Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI


“The official death toll of the Osage Reign of Terror had climbed to at least twenty-four members of the tribe.”
― David Grann, quote from Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI


“In 1850, Allan Pinkerton founded the first American private detective agency; in advertisements, the company’s motto, “We Never Sleep,” was inscribed under a large, unblinking, Masonic-like eye, which gave rise to the term “private eye.”
― David Grann, quote from Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI


“But within four years Jefferson had compelled the Osage to relinquish their territory between the Arkansas River and the Missouri River. The Osage chief stated that his people “had no choice, they must either sign the treaty or be declared enemies of the United States.” Over the next two decades, the Osage were forced to cede nearly a hundred million acres of their ancestral land, ultimately finding refuge in a 50-by-125-mile area in southeastern Kansas.”
― David Grann, quote from Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI


“It was getting so that you could not bury an Osage Indian at a cost of under $6,000”—a sum that, adjusted for inflation, is the equivalent of nearly $80,000 today. The”
― David Grann, quote from Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI


“All conspiracies are the same taut story of men who find coherence in some criminal act. —Don DeLillo, Libra”
― David Grann, quote from Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI


“A conspiracy is everything that ordinary life is not. It’s the inside game, cold, sure, undistracted, forever closed off to us. We are the flawed ones, the innocents, trying to make some rough sense of the daily jostle. Conspirators have a logic and a daring beyond our reach. All conspiracies are the same taut story of men who find coherence in some criminal act. —Don DeLillo, Libra”
― David Grann, quote from Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI


“A prominent member of the Osage tribe put the matter more bluntly: "It is a question in my mind whether this jury is considering a murder case or not. The question for them to decide is whether a white man killing an Osage is murder - or merely cruelty to animals.”
― David Grann, quote from Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI


“These Indians became accustomed to lives of glorious ease. But now…their income from oil is rapidly disappearing, and that was practically all they had.” Compounding”
― David Grann, quote from Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI


“In five years, if the oil map continues to shift, the tribe may have to go back to work.”
― David Grann, quote from Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI


“Harding’s nomination had cost him and his interests $1 million. But with Harding in the White House, a historian noted, “the oil men licked their chops.” Sinclair funneled, through the cover of a bogus company, more than $200,000 to the new secretary of the interior, Albert B. Fall; another oilman had his son deliver to the secretary $100,000 in a black bag.”
― David Grann, quote from Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI


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David Grann
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