Wednesday, August 09, 2017

I Have David Grann Covered!

One week, I choose my comparison title because I need a reminder to read that author's books. Another week, the title is a suggestion from a reader. This week, it's because I want to remind all of you of one of the best books I read last year. 

David Grann's Killers of the Flower Moon haunts me still, and I now count it among my all-time favorite non-fiction books. (One of these days, I'm going to share a few of my "favorites" lists on Kittling: Books' Facebook page.) How could I resist having it as one of my US vs UK comparison titles when I happened to come across its UK incarnation? Speaking of which, let's take a look at the covers now!

Two very different interpretations, aren't they?

Both use red as the predominant color, which certainly ties in with the book's subject, but one of the first things I noticed was the difference in titles. Both use Killers of the Flower Moon, but while the US cover says The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, the UK title continues with Oil, Money, Murder and the Birth of the FBI. I think this change was a wise decision on the part of the UK publisher. Not many people across the pond are going to know that there's a Native American nation called the Osage in Oklahoma, but "oil, money, murder"? That's bound to catch the eye of many inquisitive readers. (While I'm at it, I should go ahead, be honest, and say that there probably aren't all that many Americans who know about the Osage.)

For once, the US cover seems more restrained than the UK cover. It has an atmospheric graphic, with the full moon shining behind an oil derrick, and clouds that resemble buffalo thundering up a hill. The only other thing besides the title and author is a reminder that the author wrote a bestseller called The Lost City of Z

I do wish that the UK cover didn't have those two author blurbs on it, even though I do like both writers. One-word blurbs like "stunning" and "magnificent" always make me wonder about their context. I've seen words like these taken from reviews that basically said the book was a stinker. I do prefer the graphic on the UK cover. It shows a rather bleak red landscape, a landscape that's soaked with the blood of so many Osage dead. The gushing oil derrick in the distance just over the top of the hill shows the reason why so many people died.

I am really torn. I prefer the graphic on the UK cover, although I think the two blurbs spoil its appearance. Ultimately I'm going to choose the US cover. Why? Because when I first learned about this book, all I saw was the title and the author's name. There was no graphic. I had all I needed to tell me that I must read this book, and those two elements shine like a beacon on the more balanced US cover.  

What about you? Which cover do you prefer? US? UK? Too close to call? Neither one? Inquiring minds would love to know!



  1. I'm not one for author blurbs, either, Cathy. I'd rather they not be there. That said though, I think I like the UK cover better. It gets my attention more.

    1. There's certainly a lot to like about that cover!

  2. I like the US cover better even though it seem too busy. It catches my eye more.

    This is a little off topic but it is about the book. I have a hard time remembering the name of the book when I tell people about it. I remember Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI but have a hard time remembering Killers of the Flower Moon. I have two friends reading it now after I told them about it. I heard about it from you.
    Another thing I really liked about the book is the amount of actual photos. You can see what the people that are being written about look like. You also see photos of locations and the town. I gave 5 stars too. It was one of my best reads this year.

    1. I'm so glad that this book is one of your favorite reads-- and that you're encouraging your friends to read it, too!

      Those photographs just bring everything home, don't they? The horrible injustice that was done....

  3. Oh, gosh, what a horrible, but true story. So glad it's being told. The truth about what happened to so many Native people in this country must be revealed, and am glad this writer is doing so about the Osage people.

    My mother was interested in Native history and she had a map showing the populations going down over the years as peoples were decimated through various means.

    I like the U.S. cover better as it's bolder, has an oil well and stands out more.

    I don't think I'll read it as I just get upset about these atrocities and life right now is not so easy internationally and here.


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