A Murder in Kiev

Mendel Beilis

Mendel Beiliss

Spoiler alert:  I’m currently working on a series of articles about the Russian Revolution for my ongoing World War 1 series at The Common Reader.  The problem with any topic as broad as this, however, is that there is inevitably some information that will end up on the cutting room floor.  I’ve decided that some of the information that won’t make my articles there, I’d share here on my own personal site.  So over the next few weeks I may be a little “Russia heavy” in some of my posts.  This week, I’m talking about a murder in Kiev that occurred in the years leading up to the First World War.

This particular story was one I read from Orlando Figes book A People’s Tragedy.*  Figes details an incident that occurred in 1911, some six years before the February Revolution of 1917.  In a cave outside of Kiev, some children found the corpse of a schoolboy that had forty-seven stab wounds in the head, neck and torso.  Near the body were some personal effects, which identified the victim as Andrei Yutshinsky, a thirteen year old student of Sofia Ecclesiastical College.

There was a great deal of outrage in Kiev over the murder.  Because of the number of stab wounds, some ultra-nationalist groups in Russia claimed that it was a ritual murder by the Jews.  They based their claims on a document called The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which had been forged by tsarist police and published in St. Petersburg, Russia, some nine years before.  The Protocols of the Elders of Zion purported to reveal a dastardly plot by the world’s Jews to bring about global domination, by infiltrating Western Christian societies, corrupting them morally and controlling their media and banking institutions.  It was, of course, antisemitic rubbish that preyed upon the prejudicial fears of those who already loathed and hated Jewish people.  But it was effective.  A copy was even found in the personal effects of Tsar Nicholas II after his murder at the hands of the Bolsheviks.

As rumors spread throughout Kiev in the weeks after the murder, public outrage began to build against Jewish people in the city.  The rumors were repeated in the press, which accused the Jews of engaging in ritualistic murders and tortures and consuming Christian blood.  Even members of the Duma, Russia’s parliamentary body, signed a petition demanding the government bring to justice the “criminal sect of Jews.”  Advisers of Nicholas himself were convinced the Jews were responsible, and finally, the authorities found someone to blame.

The scapegoat was Mendel Beiliss, a clerk in a Jewish-owned factory whose only crime was that his place of employment was near the cave where Andrei’s body had been found.  According to Figes,  Beiliss was not even a particularly devout Jew, only rarely attending synagogue.  But he was arrested and held in prison for two years, awaiting trial for the murder of Andrei.  Witnesses were paid off to testify against him, and the physicians in charge of the autopsy were forced to change their report to reflect the ritualistic murder theory.  The press ran stories accusing Beiliss of drinking Christian blood.

In the meantime, two junior policeman found the real murderer.  It was the mother of a

Vera Cheberyak

Vera Cheberiak

playmate of Andrei’s, a woman named Vera Cheberiak.  Vera was a member of a criminal gang responsible for a string of robberies in Kiev, and the stolen loot was stored at her house.  Andrei was playing with her son Yevgeny, when they discovered the stolen goods.  During a fight with Yevgeny, Andrei threatened to tell the police about the robberies.  Yevgeny told his mother, who told the gang, who in turn murdered Andrei and dumped his body in the cave.  In a shocking twist, Vera even testified at his trial that she had seen Beiliss kidnap Andrei.  She also poisoned Yevgeny, her own son, because he was the one person who could verify who really killed Andrei.

In 1913, Beiliss was put on trial.  The trial was a farce, and it was later revealed that even though Russia’s own Minister of Justice and Tsar Nicholas himself knew who was responsible, they still allowed Beiliss to stand trial because they thought it would prove the existence of Jewish ritualized murder.  But by the time Beiliss stood trial, some publications had already revealed who really killed Andrei, and the word had begun to spread.  Still, the tsarist regime persisted, even arresting and sending into exile a number of defense witnesses, and the judge was given a gold watch by the Tsar and promised a promotion in the event of a conviction.  In spite of all this, the government’s case was revealed to be fraudulent and fell apart, and Beiliss was acquitted.

No one was ever held responsible for what happened to Mendel Beiliss.  The gang who really killed Andrei were never tried, and the government officials who tried Beiliss were never punished.  In fact, some even received promotions.  The Russian government did receive a lot of international criticism, and eventually, a form of justice caught up to Vera Cheberiak, who was arrested and shot by the Bolsheviks in 1918 during the Red Terror.  Beiliss emigrated to Palestine and eventually the United States, where he died in 1934.  Only one year before his death, another government had risen to power in Europe, a government who also used The Protocols of the Elders of Zion to poison their citizens against the Jewish people.  This time, however, it was happening in Germany, and the antisemitism there would lead to the genocide of millions of Jewish people.

*Figes account of this story is on pages 241-244 of his book.

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A Fatal Failure to Listen

Cochise

Cochise

The little ranch on Sonoita Creek did not seem significant, given its remote location.  The main house was adobe with a grass roof and a packed earth floor, similar to others of its type in the territory.  The area, while certainly beautiful, did not hold any special significance.  The owner, John Ward, was an Irishman who had migrated to the Arizona Territory, where he settled on the ranch and was soon joined by a Mexican woman named Jesus Maria Martinez.  Jesus had two children by a previous relationship, Felix and Teodora, and she soon had another child by Ward named Mary. Felix would soon become the focal point of one of the longest and most cruel wars of attrition ever to occur on U.S. soil.  It wasn’t his fault, however.  The blame was primarily due to one man who was unwilling to listen.

On January 27, 1861, Pinal Apaches led by a one-eyed warrior named Beto raided the ranch, intending on stealing a few cattle and moving on.  Johnny Ward was away at the time.  The only one in sight was young Felix Ward, who was old enough that he normally would have been killed rather than captured by the Apaches.   Felix had also lost an eye in a hunting accident recently, which could account for Beto’s mercy; whatever the reason, the Apache leader took him captive rather than kill him.

When Johnny Ward came home, he immediately petitioned the army to find his stepson and return him.  The commanding officer in the area appointed a young lieutenant named George Bascom to carry out this task.  Bascom, along with Ward and 54 soldiers, headed out.  Ward said the Apaches had headed east to the Chiricahua Mountains, so it was assumed that Felix’s kidnappers were among the famed Chiricahua Apaches.  The Bascom party traveled to a place called Apache Pass, where he sent word to a local Chiricahua leader named Cochise that he wished to speak with him.  Cochise agreed to meet, bringing along several family members, including his brother, his wife, and two children.

Cochise was the son-in-law of the famous Apache leader

Apache Pass

Apache Pass

Mangas Coloradas.  He was described as a tall, fine looking man, although the local stationmaster in Apache Pass thought him untrustworthy, claiming that he was “the biggest liar in the territory!  And would kill an American for any trifle, provided he thought it wouldn’t be found out.”[i]  This general attitude of mistrust by the whites toward Cochise and the Apaches would prove to be a fatal undoing.

Bascom invited Cochise and his family into his tent, offering them dinner and a chance to talk.  He made sure to give orders to his men that none of the Apaches were allowed to leave without his permission, effectively making them prisoners rather than guests.  He then proceeded to interrogate Cochise about the capture of Felix Ward. Cochise truthfully insisted that he had nothing to do with it.  However, he offered to find the boy if Bascom would give him time.  Bascom responded that until Felix Ward was returned, he was holding Cochise and all his people hostage.

At this response, Cochise and his brother sprang to their feet and lunged to the door of the tent.  Finding the way blocked, Cochise whipped around and ran to the back of the tent.  Pulling out a knife, he cut the tent open and leaped out the back just as Bascom gave the order to fire.  He was wounded in the leg, but still managed to make it up the side of the canyon wall.

Things quickly went south at Apache Pass.  Cochise returned a few days later to surround the soldiers with hundreds of Apache warriors, including his father-in-law and another warrior named Goyahkla, who would later become the famous Apache leader Geronimo.  Cochise asked Bascom to return his family, again stating he had nothing to do with the capture of Felix Ward, and that he would try to find him if given time.  Bascom again refused to listen.

In retaliation, Cochise and his warriors hijacked a group of teamsters, killing nine Mexicans and capturing three Americans, whom he offered to Bascom in exchange for his family.  Bascom again refused, at which point the Apaches attacked the soldiers.  The attack was unsuccessful, and Cochise and his men were soon forced to flee to Mexico, outside U.S. jurisdiction. He left behind the dead bodies of the teamsters as a warning to Bascom.  A few days later, the army hanged Cochise’s brother and two of his nephews.  This ugly sequence of events ignited the Apache Wars, a long, drawn out affair in which many people were killed.  It cost the life of Mangas Coloradas, and both Cochise and Geronimo would eventually die on reservations.  Many white soldiers and settlers were killed by the Apaches, some in horrific ways.

The Bascom Affair, as this came to be known, is in some respects representative of part of the human experience.  In almost every conceivable way, it could have been avoided.  But the innate mistrust Bascom had for the Apaches compelled him to act rashly and foolishly.  The unwillingness to listen, to consider options, ended up costing a far heftier price in human lives.  It’s a lesson I don’t think we’ve mastered yet.  We still rush to judgment, trusting our preconceptions over common sense.  We act rashly based on limited information and our own biases, unwilling to sit at the table of peace and hear what other people have to say.  Until we learn from this mistake, we aren’t all that different from George Bascom.

 

[i] Hutton, Paul.  The Apache Wars.  (New York: Crown Publishing, 2016). Pg. 40

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Monday Book Review: Washington’s Spies

Washington's Spies coverIt took me a while to get into Washington’s Spies: The Story of America’s First Spy Ring, but once I did I was not disappointed.  I had initially become interested in this book after viewing the first season of AMC’s television show, TURN, which is based on the book.  Knowing only a little of the history behind the show, I was curious how much it veered from the truth (short answer: frequently), as well as a general curiosity about this little explored episode in American history.

Washington’s Spies is about the Culper spy ring, a group of Americans during the Revolutionary War who supplied intelligence to George Washington.  Several of the members actually lived in British occupied territory, so their contributions to the Continental Army came at significant risk to themselves and their families, as a spy would almost assuredly be executed if caught.  In fact, the book starts out by recounting the story of Nathan Hale, who was one of the first attempts by the Americans to go behind enemy lines to supply Washington with information.  Hale’s attempt was an unsophisticated and disastrous foray into military intelligence, and as I wrote about last week, ended with him being hanged.

The primary members of the ring were Benjamin Tallmadge, who ran the entire operation; Abraham Woodhull, a Setauket farmer who was the initial spy behind enemy lines and who recruited the ring’s other major member, Robert Townsend.  Also involved were Caleb Brewster, Anna Strong, and a number of other native Long Islanders who fulfilled various roles within the ring.  The book does a good job of trying to understand why these people were willing to be involved, as unlike a later generation of spies who acted largely as mercenaries, most of the members of the Culper Ring did so out of a sense of patriotism and/or a hatred of the British.  It also details their terror at being caught, the means by which they operated, and the maturity and sophistication that the ring developed as the war progressed.

The book had several thrilling and intense moments when it recounted the perils of Turn Castspying and how close members of the ring came to being caught.  There were also several other things the book did a great job in covering; it deals in depth with a British plan to destroy American currency through a counterfeiting operation, which was exposed by American intelligence.  It also covers the saga of Benedict Arnold, including an American plot devised by Washington to kidnap him from the British and bring him back to face justice.  Little details like this were scattered throughout the book and made each chapter a real delight, giving me information I didn’t previously know and keeping my attention in the way it was relayed.

The book is not a rigorous read, nor was it overly long.  I listened to it on Audible, where it was just shy of 13 hours, which for a history book is a pretty reasonable length of time.  If you are buying the print version, it’s less than 400 pages, so even if you aren’t a history buff it shouldn’t be too difficult to read.  It is not overly academic, and the anecdotal tales sprinkled through the book are more than enough to keep your attention.  I would recommend it to anyone who has an interest in the Revolutionary War, early American history, or if you are interested in the history of spying and military intelligence.

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I Spy: The American Revolution Version

Nathan Hale hanging

The hanging of Nathan Hale

Yesterday, I wrote about American Judas, Benedict Arnold, and his betrayal of the Continental Army.  While Arnold never paid the ultimate price for his treachery, his collaborator, British officer John Andre, was hanged for his part in the plot.  Even though the British government tried to bargain for his life, the Americans were unwilling to listen unless Arnold was part of the bargain.  One of the reasons for their intransigence was what had happened to one of their own spies, four years previously.

On September 22, 1776, Nathan Hale, an officer in the Continental Army, was hanged by the British for spying.  Hale, a graduate of Yale University (and, ironically, a classmate and friend of Benjamin Tallmadge, who would later become the chief American intelligence officer and head of the Culper spy ring), volunteered for the dangerous task of crossing behind enemy lines in New York, and reporting to George Washington on troop movements.  Spying was generally looked upon with disdain by respectable military men, and it was also highly dangerous, as it was well known that the punishment for spying was death.  Nevertheless, Hale readily agreed to go.

Unfortunately, he wasn’t very good at it, and it didn’t take long for his cover to be blown.

Robert Rogers

Robert Rogers

Hale was observed by a British colonel, who had made a name for himself during the French and Indian War, named Robert Rogers.  Rogers had commanded a group of scouts and fighters known as Rogers Rangers, and had been widely respected as a frontiersman and a soldier, but had since fallen out of favor with the Americans and so had offered his services to the British.  Rogers was on the lookout for Continental spies in Long Island, and put Hale under observation.  An account of it was written about by a man named Consider Tiffany (great band name, by the way):

Colonel Rogers having for some days, observed Captain Hale, and suspected that he was an enemy in disguise; and to convince himself, Rogers thought of trying the same method, he quickly altered his own habit, with which he Made Capt Hale a visit at his quarters, where the Colonel fell into some discourse concerning the war, intimating the trouble of his mind, in his being detained on an island, where the inhabitants sided with the Britains against the American Colonies, intimating withal, that he himself was upon the business of spying out the inclination of the people and motion of the British troops. This intrigue, not being suspected by the Capt, made him believe that he had found a good friend, and one that could be trusted with the secrecy of the business he was engaged in; and after the Colonel’s drinking a health to the Congress: informs Rogers of the business and intent. The Colonel, finding out the truth of the matter, invited Captain Hale to dine with him the next day at his quarters, unto which he agreed. The time being come, Capt Hale repaired to the place agreed on, where he met his pretended friend, with three or four men of the same stamp, and after being refreshed, began the same conversation as hath been already mentioned. But in the height of their conversation, a company of soldiers surrounded the house, and by orders from the commander, seized Capt Hale in an instant.

Even though Hale denied being a spy, he was positively identified by several people, and he was found with several incriminating documents.  The investigation did not take long, and Hale was immediately convicted by British general William Howe, and locked up in the guardhouse.  The next morning, he was taken out to be hanged.

Nathan Hale’s last words were not, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”  Those words were put into his mouth later by friends who would not have been aware of what he said at the time.  In Alexander Rose’s book, Washington’s Spies (spoiler alert, I will be reviewing this next Monday), he quotes a British officer named Frederick Mackenzie, who was present and said that Hale behaved with “great composure and resolution,” and that Hale told spectators “he thought it the duty of every good officer to obey any orders given him by his commander in chief; and desired the spectators to be at all times prepared to meet death in whatever shape it might appear.”  Hale, having finished, was hanged, and his body left swinging on the gallows for several days after as a warning to other spies.

Hale is remembered as an America hero, and a symbol of the American struggle for freedom.  His death also served as a notice to Washington that if information was to be gathered, a much more sophisticated system needed to be set in place.  It changed the American outlook on military intelligence during the Revolutionary War.

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An American Traitor

Benedict ArnoldSay the name “Benedict Arnold” to an American, and it probably won’t conjure up any positive images.  Benedict Arnold has become to Americans what the name Judas has historically meant to the rest of Western civilization.  It’s a name synonymous with treachery and deceit.  It’s the reason why, in the 1994 film The Little Rascals, the worst insult Alfalfa can think to throw at Spanky is to call him a “Benedict Arnold.”  (What can I say, I have three kids).

Benedict Arnold didn’t start out a traitor though.  In fact, he was actually an American hero.  During the American Revolution, he was with Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys when they captured Fort Ticonderoga.  He served with distinction in fighting the British in Canada, and then later at the Battles of Saratoga, where he was severely wounded in the leg.  He was respected by George Washington, and admired by many in the Continental Army.

But a series of events transpired that pushed him into treachery.  For one, he was transferred to Philadelphia, where he met a British loyalist named Peggy Shippen, whom he eventually married.  He was also passed over several times for promotions, which rankled him.  He faced a court martial for earlier conduct, he was investigated by Congress for a failure to properly document expenditures during his time in Canada, and he also began to express serious doubts about the ability of the Americans to prevail over the British.  All of this led to him beginning a secret correspondence with John Andre, the head of British intelligence and the Adjutant General of the British Army.

Arnold at first gave Andre things like troop movements, locations of supply depots and the like.  But soon, when he was promoted to commanding officer of the garrison at West Point, he began discussing a bigger prize with Andre: West Point itself.  A British capture of West Point would have effectively cut New England off from the rest of the colonies, dealing a crippling blow to the Americans.

On September 21, 1780, in a clandestine meeting with Arnold behind American lines, John AndreAndre was given some papers, in Arnold’s own hand, that included maps of the fort’s layout and instructions on how to take the fort.  By coincidence, an American officer opened fire on the ship Andre had traveled in, forcing it to move down the Hudson River, leaving Andre to try to return to his own side without the aid of the ship.  Andre dressed in civilian clothes, stuffed the papers in his stocking, and took off back to the British lines.  He was stopped by three men, whom he tried to bribe.  They instead turned him over to their commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel John Jameson.  In spite of the evidence pointing directly at Arnold, Jameson at first did not believe that Arnold could be a spy, and sent word of Andre’s capture to his commanding officer–who happened to be Benedict Arnold.  It was only when Jameson conferred with Benjamin Tallmadge, the head of American intelligence, that suspicions began to be aroused. By this time, however, it was too late.

Arnold, receiving word of Andre’s capture, knew that the game was up.  He got his horse and fled for the safety of the British.  Washington sent men to arrest Arnold, but by the time they were sent out, Arnold had escaped.  Andre, for his part in the plot, was subsequently hanged.  Arnold spent the rest of the war fighting for the British, and when they were defeated, he was exiled to England.  He never received full payment for his services to the British, since the planned capture of West Point was never executed.  He spent the rest of his life despised by Americans and distrusted by British.  He paid dearly for his betrayal, never gaining the respect he felt he deserved, being loathed or mistrusted by many who knew him.  It is said that on his deathbed, he asked to put on his Continental uniform one last time, and said “Let me die in this old uniform in which I fought my battles. May God forgive me for ever having put on another.”

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Monday Book Review: Coolidge

Coolidge Book CoverI’m not usually given to just plain biographies.  Not that I don’t enjoy them, but typically my historical reading usually centers around events or places, rarely just individual people.  That said, I did enjoy my reading of Amity Shlaes biography of Calvin Coolidge, entitled simply Coolidge.  I’ve found that for some books, I’m able to get more read if I listen to them on Audible, and that was the case here.  So my review is from listening to the book in that format.

Shlaes is a fine writer, and I enjoy her work.  I’ve read articles she’s written, as well as her previous book The Forgotten Man, covering the history of the Great Depression.  She’s very thorough, and brings to light things that I hadn’t thought about before.  Her mention of Coolidge in The Forgotten Man is one of the things that sparked my interest in her biography of the former president.  While I do not believe Coolidge, the book, is nearly as good as The Forgotten Man, it is certainly worth your time if you don’t know much about Calvin Coolidge.  Shlaes does a great job covering his early life, including what shaped the views that would later inform his political career, and then explores his rise to the nation’s highest office.

Coolidge’s views were shaped heavily by his time spent at Amherst College in Massachusetts, and Shlaes spends quite a few pages discussing the friendships he formed there as well as the professors that seemed to influence him.  She quotes liberally from letters he wrote to his father as well as various friends that discuss the formulation of his views and his philosophies.  She also spends a good deal of time on the Boston Police Strike in 1919, when Coolidge was governor of Massachusetts, which was the event that vaulted him into the national spotlight.  She contrasts him with the much more bombastic (and corrupt) Warren G. Harding, his predecessor to the presidency, although if you are unfamiliar with the corruption of the Harding administration and the reasons for Coolidge’s ascendancy in the wake of Harding’s death, the information seems to run a bit thin.  Coolidge was not involved in all this, and Shlaes gives only the briefest of details about these national scandals.

And that is one of my two biggest complaints about Coolidge, the biography.  The first, that many of the world and national events are skimmed over, so that it was not always easy to tell how some events were shaping Coolidge’s views, as well as his career.  World War 1, for instance, is not covered in any great detail, and Coolidge’s thoughts and reactions to it all, including the U.S.’s role, is not discussed in what I thought was sufficient length.  It would have been interesting to see a deeper examination of Coolidge’s thoughts on Wilson’s foreign policy, and while the book does talk about Harding’s campaign of “stability” following the Great War, any discussion of the Treaty of Versailles is mostly non-existent.

My other complaint has less to do with the book and more to do with the subject.  Calvin Coolidge seems to be a vastly underrated president.  He stuck by his principles even when they were unpopular, was willing to take political risks, and the nation saw a great deal of economic growth and prosperity under his tenure in office.  He guided the nation through the fallout of the Harding scandals, and he seemed to be a decent enough father and husband.  But those details don’t always make for thrilling reading.  While it seems sacrilegious to complain about a decent guy who does a good job in office, compared to many of the other principle characters of the early twentieth century Coolidge is a bit boring.  He wasn’t scandalous like Harding, wasn’t an adventurer like Theodore Roosevelt, wasn’t the suspicious conniver like Woodrow Wilson.  He just did a good job, and while that can foster admiration, it doesn’t always make for an exciting story.

I came away from the book with a new respect for Calvin Coolidge, and the belief that he is often consistently underrated among presidents.  And Shlaes does him credit in seeking to understand the man, to the extent that anyone can understand a stoic individual like Coolidge.  But unless you are a lover of political biographies or an admirer of Calvin Coolidge, you may not find the man himself quite as fascinating as some of the other more colorful figures of his era.

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Killers of the Flower Moon: Monday Book Review

Killers of the Flower MoonLast week I received David Grann’s newest non-fiction book, Killers of the Flower Moon, as a gift from my wife for my birthday.  Grann is the author of The Lost City of Z, which itself is a fantastic book that was made into one of this year’s best films, starring Charlie Hunnam and Robert Pattinson.  I read The Lost City of Z a few years ago, and enjoyed Grann’s writing style and investigative work so much that when I heard about Killers of the Flower Moon, I was very anxious to read it.

I was not disappointed.  This was absolutely the best book I’ve read all year, and probably one of the most enjoyable non-fiction books I’ve read in the last 4-5 years.  Normally a book of this size and scope would take me a week or two to finish.  It’s not long, clocking in at about 300 pages, and it is extremely readable.  But with a full time job, as well as writing for Washington University and my own blog, it takes me longer than it used too to read a book.  This time, however, I finished the book in three days.  It was so engrossing that I simply couldn’t put it down.

The book covers the murder of many prominent members of the Osage tribe in northeastern Oklahoma during the 1920’s.  At the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, the discovery of oil on the Osage reservation had made the Osage an incredibly wealthy people, with oilmen bidding huge sums for the right to drill on the reservation.  Grann details this turn of events and the ways in which it both blessed and cursed the tribe, as well as the ways in which the government (and by extension, many white merchants in the territory) took advantage of the Osage and exploited them in horrific ways.  All of this acts as a backdrop to the murders, in which several of the wealthy Osage landowners were shot or poisoned.  The ensuing investigation and the principle parties involved are all described in great detail by Grann, who has done painstaking work to bring these characters out of the annals of history in a vivid way.

Eventually the FBI was called in, and as a fledgling department (it hadn’t even come to be known as the FBI yet), they were looking for a case to boost their profile and their work, Tom Whiteand saw such  a chance in the Osage Reign of Terror.  The lead investigator on the case, Tom White, is a sympathetic character, and Grann does a good job of exploring his motivations and the work that he did to bring the killers to justice.  The first two-thirds of the book covers the investigation and subsequent trial of those convicted, and the final third covers Grann’s own investigation, to pursue gaps in the FBI’s case and questions that still remained.  He finds evidence that the conspiracy against the Osage went much deeper than the FBI was able to uncover, and that it is likely several of the people involved went unpunished.

The book was wonderful in several ways.  As someone who had no knowledge of this incident in history, it read like a “who-dun-it” that kept me on the edge of my seat until the identity of the killers were revealed.  The historical context of the case, the Osage tribes oil wealth and the history of the FBI in Oklahoma, were also fascinating details I knew little about, so I learned much while reading.  Most of all, Grann does a marvelous job at being a voice to a forgotten past.  The Osage Reign of Terror still deeply affects the Osage tribe today, and Grann does a wonderful thing here by allowing the voices of these forgotten victims to speak from beyond the grave.  I can’t recommend this book highly enough.  If you are a fan of history, of true crime, or of mystery, you will find much to satisfy you with this book.  And bonus, the rights to the book have already been sold, and Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio are teaming up to bring the book to the big screen.

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