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AAGW Book Club: David Grann

  • 46 West Main Street Waynesboro, PA, 17268 United States (map)

David Grann’s new book is a meticulously researched account of an appalling widespread conspiracy against the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma. He centers the story on an Osage family that died, in ones and twos, of causes ranging from the odd and ambiguous to the obviously violent. First, Minnie Smith, 27 years old, died in 1918 of what doctors termed a “peculiar wasting illness”; then, in 1921, her sister Anna Brown was shot, her body left in a ravine. Their mother, Lizzie Kyle, died weeks later, also felled by an unidentified wasting illness. By this point, her family suspected she’d been poisoned. A bomb killed a third sister, Rita Smith, along with her husband, Bill, in 1923. The last living sister, Mollie Burkhart, made it to 1925 before she sent secret word to a priest that her life was in peril.