Posted in book review, thriller, writing

Book Review: The Killers of the Flower Moon

I first came across David Grann’s work when I was searching something about the mysteries of Amazon as part of a research project. Finding his work being listed as relevant to the topic,  I read its summary in Wikipedia and decided to buy the novel titled The Lost City of Z (A review of the book can be found here on my blog: 1).

Being impressed by his style of writing and storytelling, I picked up his next book-Killers of the Flower Moon. I must admit that I was intrigued in part by the title-Flower Moon. I wondered what that meant, and its relation to being one of the first high profile cases handled by the FBI led to me to read it.

Set in the 1920s in central USA (what is now Oklahoma) during the Prohibition Era, the book’s protagonist is the Osage Indian tribe who have been living in central USA since centuries. The arrival of the white colonizers leads to their displacement when they are forced to relocate from an area in Kansas to their place in present day Oklahoma. All is peaceful and quiet, until the discovery of oil under the land of the Osages.

The discovery of oil meant that these Osages became the richest men in the world overnight because of the headright to the oil and consequently, one of the most persecuted men in the world. Members of a household began turning up dead. Some died because of slow poisoning, some of gunshot wounds. With more than 20 people dead from the community in a few months, the Osage leaders began asking the government and the law enforcement agencies for help. However, since they were Indians and considered savages, the government denied them help. But when more and more Indians began turning up dead, the pressure mounted on the government to conduct an investigation, which was handed over to the FBI. The subsequent FBI investigation and the catching of culprits forms the basis of the book.

Similar to The Lost City of Z, the author first begins with the history of the Osages-their formation, displacement and discovery of oil under their land. He then moves on to the murders, the FBI investigation and finally the author himself travels to the location to comment on the current situation of the place.

The book is an exciting read for anyone interested in historical fiction, in understanding the prosecution of minorities in the USA and how FBI solved the crime.

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Posted in Christmas, life, writing

Happy New Year

DayDreamer blog wishes everyone a joyous and prosperous new year.

Posted in book review

The Case of The Rohingya Muslims

An updated version of my earlier post on the topic which includes some of the latest developments.

DayDreamer

Just a few months ago, the image of a 16 month old boy lying dead face down in the mud flashed across the front page of the newspapers. The boy drowned while crossing the Naf river, trying to escape to Bangladesh. The boy’s name was Mohammed Shohayet, and he was a Rohingya Muslim.

The Rohingyas are basically Indo-Aryan Muslims from Rakhine state in Myanmar. While the Rohingyas maintain that they belong to the region, the Burmese government maintains that they are illegal immigrants (terming them “Bangladeshis”), who came into the country after Burmese independence in 1948 and after the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. The Burmese government has denied citizenship to any Rohingya muslim who cannot prove their ancestry before the British occupation (1823). They are believed to have started settling in the Rakhine area from 15th century. When the British took control of the area in the 19th century, Rohingya…

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Tales of Polar, Desert and Sea Explorations

DayDreamer

There are few men in history and almost none alive today, who can be compared in the same breath as Sir Ranulph Fiennes. For those who are hearing his name for the first time, Sir Ranulph is one of the best polar explorers in the world, in addition to being a writer and a poet. I first read about him when I was reading something about Antarctic expeditions and the more I found out about him, the more respect I had for the man. But like him, my thirst for knowledge and understanding was not quenched, and so I decided to read his autobiography- Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know. The unusual sounding title is how he was referred to by his father-in-law when he asked his daughter’s hand to marry him.

The book begins with an account of the author’s childhood-the death of his father in World War 2…

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A Trip to Liechtenstein and Austria

DayDreamer

I am a big fan of budget travel. Apart from meeting new people, you also travel cheap. Having undertaken a number of such trips since I came to the Netherlands about eighteen months ago, I grabbed the opportunity with both hands when one of the student trips organization announced an excursion to Vaduz and Innsbruck.

IMG_0578 A view of Vaduz from the hilltop

To those who are not aware of Vaduz, it is the capital of Liechtenstein-the sixth smallest country in the world. Starting from Utrecht in the heart of the Netherlands on a cold evening, about eighty people (some students, some expats) arrived in Vaduz the next morning. We were immediately captivated by the place-the hills, the signs in German and not a soul out on the streets. Coming from India and living in the Netherlands (two of the most densely populated countries in the world), you become accustomed to…

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Posted in Europe travel, food, life, mountains, Photos, travel, travel photography, writing

A Trip to Liechtenstein and Austria

I am a big fan of budget travel. Apart from meeting new people, you also travel cheap. Having undertaken a number of such trips since I came to the Netherlands about eighteen months ago, I grabbed the opportunity with both hands when one of the student trips organization announced an excursion to Vaduz and Innsbruck.

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A view of Vaduz from the hilltop

 

To those who are not aware of Vaduz, it is the capital of Liechtenstein-the sixth smallest country in the world. Starting from Utrecht in the heart of the Netherlands on a cold evening, about eighty people (some students, some expats) arrived in Vaduz the next morning. We were immediately captivated by the place-the hills, the signs in German and not a soul out on the streets. Coming from India and living in the Netherlands (two of the most densely populated countries in the world), you become accustomed to seeing people wherever you go. But not in Vaduz. However, we were told that while the shops would open much later, the tourist information center would open before time for us. After a quick snack, we went about exploring the city.

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Some landmarks in Vaduz

Since this was a one-day trip and we had to reach Austria around lunchtime, we had about two hours to see what the city had to offer. One of the most remarkable sites of the city is the Vaduz Castle-home of the Prince. Sitting on top of a hill, it is visible from anywhere in the city and is like a symbolic watchtower-with the Prince watching over the city’s inhabitants and acting like a guardian angel. Since the city center would be deserted in the early morning, we decided to climb the hill and see the castle. A road near the parking depot led to the path towards our destination. After walking for about 20 minutes, we reached the castle. Made of stone, it is a site to behold. Although not very big, it is still very impressive. One of the lucky members of the group even managed to meet the Prince.

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Vaduz Castle

After seeing our share of the castle, we headed back down towards the main street. Here, the tourist information center, the museum, parliament and the main church are all in the same line, with the garden in front of them. The four most important buildings on one street gave us an idea of the size of this city. Especially for me, coming from a big city in India where travelling from one end to the other takes about three hours, it was a bit surprising to see that entire city could be crossed in about fifteen minutes. With our time in Vaduz over, we headed towards Innsbruck in Austria.

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Inn river flowing through Innsbruck

Innsbruck (the name meaning Inn bridge in German) is a popular winter sports destination of the country. Located in the state of Tyrol, I was immediately struck as to how similar the city looked to the hill stations like Manali in India, with a rapidly flowing river fed by the melting glaciers amidst snow covered peaks. Since we were about a month away from Christmas, there were Christmas markets all around the city-in total six of them. We went about these markets, trying out the local delicacies, especially “Currywurst met pommes” (Sausages in curry with French fries) and Gluhwein (hot wine mixed with honey and spices).

Apart from all the Christmas festivities, Innsbruck also has a lot of cultural history. We visited one of its most famous landmarks-Goldenes Dachl, loosely translated as the Golden Roof. In ancient times, the Emperor of the land could watch tournaments and other performances going on in the square below from his position. We were lucky to witness a performance of an orchestra from this roof while doing some Christmas shopping.

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Goldenes Dach or Golden Roof in Innsbruck

All things must come to an end, and this happened with us too. Soon we realized that it was time to leave and go back to our hectic lives in the Netherlands. All in all, it was a good trip and one that we all deserved given the amount of work we had put in the last few months.