Monday, September 17, 2018

Book Club Read: Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann


by David Grann
Vintage paperback, 2018
321 pages
(purchased)

narrated by Will Patton, Ann Marie Lee, Danny Campbell
Random House Audio, 2017
9 hours and 4 minutes
(downloaded from the library via Overdrive)


It's been over a month and I still  haven't written anything about this book. Why am I having such a hard time? Basically...

  • the book was full of fascinating information
  • I was exposed to a particularly unsavory period of history
  • I learned a lot, but have very little to say

I liked//
- The structure... told in three sections and from three points-of-view: a member of the Osage tribe, a law-enforcement official, and a journalist
- The feeling of history unfolding as I read/listened

I didn't care for//
- The audio version... though the structure lends itself to multiple narrators, none seemed quite right. The middle section was downright annoying at times.
- There was not a lot to discuss, so probably not an ideal book club selection. Our conversation never moved much beyond "I never knew anything about this" or "here's what I found particularly interesting..."

Book club reaction//
Everyone finished the book (!) and appreciated learning about an unknown aspect of our history, but nobody loved it.

If you read it//
I recommend the print edition... plenty of photos are included.

My rating//

18 comments:

  1. I liked this one too, but did think it got a little dry at times. Like your book club, I learned about a part of history I hadn't known about before.

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    1. Sarah - Sometime I wonder what other events were glossed over or left out of our history classes...

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  2. Sorry you didn't like the book more.

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    1. Vicki - I think if I'd just read the whole thing (instead of listening to parts of it) it might have been better.

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  3. My gynecologist recommended this to me so I kind of feel like I need to read it but I'm not sure it's really for me.

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    1. Kathy - It's an interesting story. If you do try it, read rather than listen.

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  4. I read/listened to this as well and while I expected to love this one, I only liked it as parts seemed dry to me. Our book group is suppose to read it but there are still too many holds and the leader was not able to reserve 15 copies.

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    1. Diane - I expected to love it, too. It was an interesting read and I learned a lot, but couldn't feel the love... lol!

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  5. I remember looking at this one last year, but just never seemed to get to it. It's too bad that there was so much going on that it actually made for a difficult book club discussion. I've often found that certain books have just the opposite problem.

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    1. Susie - I thought there would be more of a discussion. I tried to talk about the structure and how that was an effective way to tell the story, but that didn't work either.

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  6. Glad to know about how you liked this book and how it went over in your book group. I'm thinking of scheduling a 'non-fic' theme month for our mystery group in 2019. I also was thinking of suggesting this one as a possible choice for the members. Will probably still do it anyway, but it might not be my choice (or maybe it will). We don't read a lot of true crime or mystery non-fiction, but sometimes I like to change it up for the group.

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    1. Kay - I really thought there would be more enthusiasm and discussion. Maybe your group would have a different experience. Worth noting is that my group read Grann's earlier book, The Lost City of Z, while I was in FL last winter. One of the take-aways from our meeting last month is that we would not read two books by the same author in a year again. Probably should have mentioned that in the post, but I just thought of it. I think the Z book contains a mystery, too.

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  7. Hi JoAnn,
    More than 6 months after reading this one, what has stuck with me the most is that even when laws are enacted that ensure the rights of all people (minorities and yes, even our majority as women), white people continue to have the power in all sorts of institutions to "undo" or circumvent these laws. In this case, of course, as soon as the Osage received money for the oil due them on tribal lands, whites in power figured out all kinds of ways to rob them of it. And it amazes me how this kind of thing keeps happening, over and over and over, without sufficient ways to redress the circumventing of our laws. And how difficult it is to overrule people in power, whether it be in a town or village, or at the national or international levels..

    I was also fascinated by how easily people could get away with using poison as a murder weapon, in these days before forensic science got off the ground. As I recall, there are still people who believe that President Warren G. Harding (1923--same time period) was poisoned. His cause of death appeared to be something cardiovascular, but... there were not sophisticated ways of detecting all kinds of poisons at that time.

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    1. Judith - Yes, the ease of poisoning someone was striking. Forensic science was definitely in the dark ages at that time. Your first paragraph is so thought-provoking and, sadly, spot on. Wish you could have been at our meeting!

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  8. I like your review so truthful. Sometimes there's not a lot of reaction for a book other than 'wow I didn't know about this.' or 'how awful it happened' etc. It makes it easier sometimes when writing a review: just to bullet point what things you liked & disliked. Great going. & it helped me decide if I wanted to read it ....

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    1. Thanks, Susan. I just couldn't come up with a better way to write this.

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  9. Like Kay, I was thinking about suggesting this for my book club. Not sure now, but it does sound interesting and I will probably read it either way. I think my husband would enjoy it, as well.

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    1. Les - Other books clubs might have a better discussion. I'm glad I read the book... some very interesting history.

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