Boom town The fantastical saga of Oklahoma city, its chaotic founding ... its purloined basketball team, and the dream of becoming a world-class metropolis

Sam Anderson, 1977-

Book - 2018

"Award-winning journalist Sam Anderson's long-awaited debut is a brilliant, kaleidoscopic narrative of Oklahoma City--a great American story of civics, basketball, and destiny. Oklahoma City was born from chaos. It was founded in a bizarre but momentous "Land Run" in 1889, when thousands of people lined up along the borders of Oklahoma Territory and rushed in at noon to stake their claims. Since then, it has been a city torn between the wild energy that drives its outsized am...bitions, and the forces of order that seek sustainable progress. Nowhere was this dynamic better realized than in the drama of the Oklahoma City Thunder basketball team's 2012-13 season, when the Thunder's brilliant general manager, Sam Presti, ignited a firestorm by trading future superstar James Harden just days before the first game. Presti's all-in gamble on "the Process"--The patient, methodical management style that dictated the trade as the team's best hope for long-term greatness--kicked off a pivotal year in the city's history, one that would include pitched battles over urban planning, a series of cataclysmic tornadoes, and the frenzied hope that an NBA championship might finally deliver the glory of which the city had always dreamed. Boom Townannounces the arrival of an exciting literary voice. Sam Anderson, former book critic for New York magazine and now a staffwriter at the New York Times magazine, unfolds an idiosyncratic mix of American history, sports reporting, urban studies, gonzo memoir, and much more to tell the strange but compelling story of an American city whose unique mix of geography and history make it a fascinating microcosm of the democratic experiment. Filled with characters ranging from NBA superstars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook; to Flaming Lips oddball frontman Wayne Coyne; to legendary Great Plains meteorologist Gary England; to Stanley Draper, Oklahoma City's would-be Robert Moses; to civil rights activist Clara Luper; to the citizens and public servants who survived the notorious 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah federal building, Boom Townoffers a remarkable look at the urban tapestry woven from control and chaos, sports and civics"--

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Subjects
Published
New York : Crown 2018.
Language
English
Physical Description
pages cm
ISBN
9780804137317
0804137315
9780804137331
0804137331
Main Author
Sam Anderson, 1977- (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* In his biography of Oklahoma City (OKC), Anderson posits that the city's auspicious beginning, in the 1889 Land Run, fits almost everything that's happened there since; its development, its approach to business, its recently acquired basketball team, even the way it responds to its unpredictable weather. Anderson's conversational prose and spirited chapters, grouped into sections, are a good match for his information-packed style. In the section "Color," for instance, his layer-cake approach stacks racial injustice and civil rights activism in OKC's history; Thunder center Daniel Orton, a hometown player, recalling a racially charged moment in his high-school basketball career; and Wayne Coyne, eccentric front man for the Flaming Lips and legendary lifelong OKC resident, convincing Anderson to help him add a literal rainbow to the city's streets overnight. The book's final section covers the devastating 1995 bombing of the Federal Building, tornadoes sweeping the area with increasing force over the last two decades, and the Thunder's explosive wins and stunning losses. Reading Anderson's time-traveling, civics-minded, and thoroughly person-focused story of OKC, one gets the feeling that his research didn't uncover a single fact that he could keep to himself, and his enthusiasm for the city's singularity—and the implications of it—is beyond infectious. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Once book critic for New York magazine and currently critic-at-large at the New York Times magazine, Anderson here chronicles Oklahoma City's growth from sleepy town to booming metropolis, thanks to folks such as Sam Draper, the city's answer to Robert Moses; Flaming Lips front man Wayne Coyne; and the Oklahoma City Thunder b-ballers, with their near-championship 2012–13 season. Copyright 2018 Library Journal.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

On the morning of April 22, 1889, what is today Oklahoma City was virgin territory, formerly occupied by now displaced Native Americans. By nightfall, as the result of the free land giveaway that was the Great Oklahoma Land Run, up to 10,000 settlers milled among tents, sleeping bags, beasts of burden, and wagons. All did not go as expected for many of these new landowners, however, and within a year the infant city's population had dwindled by more than half. Thus, began the cycles of boom and bust that have marked the city's history. In 2012, Anderson (New York Times Magazine) was sent to cover the rising NBA stars of the Oklahoma City Thunder and quickly discerned a juxtaposition between the team and its boom or bust hometown. This book offers his take on the histories of both, rendered through research, copious interviews, and a sharp eye for the quirky. VERDICT Written with style and amazingly good humor, considering the hopes blooming and dashed nature of both city and team, this should please a wide range of readers, from basketball fans to historians to city planners.—Jim Burns, formerly with Jacksonville P.L., FL Copyright 2018 Library Journal.

Review by PW Annex Reviews

Anderson, a New York Times Magazine staff writer, delivers a rollicking, kaleidoscopic chronicle of America's 27th-largest city. Oklahoma City was a "pure social experiment," born in an event called the Land Run of 1889. In that land rush, "unassigned lands" in the Indian Territory (seized from tribes that had supported the Confederacy) were opened up for settlement, and settlers rushed in to each claim 160 free acres by hammering in their stakes and fighting off competitors in a free-for-all that Anderson jokes could have more accurately been named "Reckoning of the DoomSettlers: Clusterfuck on the Prairie." His vivid narrative of Oklahoma City's tumultuous history draws parallels between the dramatic ups and downs of the Oklahoma City Thunder basketball team, including the controversial trade of future superstar James Harden and the achievements of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, and the city's larger history of booms and busts. In the latter sections, he touches on influential personalities, among them Roscoe Dunjee, who founded Oklahoma City's first black newspaper and advanced housing integration; urban planner Sam Draper, who executed a master plan for the frontier town; legendary Great Plains weatherman Gary England; civil rights activist Clara Luper, who integrated Oklahoma City's restaurants and lunch counters with her sit-ins in the 1950s and '60s; and the Flaming Lips' flamboyant front man, Wayne Coyne. Anderson's lively and empathetic saga captures the outsize ambitions, provincial realities, and vibrant history of a quintessentially American city. (Aug.) Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly Annex.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

An award-winning journalist documents the idiosyncratic mix of history, sports, urban studies and more reflected in Oklahoma City, tracing its chaotic origins through the near-instant metropolis of today through the stories of creative innovators.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Documents the idiosyncratic mix of history, sports, urban studies and more reflected in Oklahoma City, tracing its chaotic origins through the near-instant metropolis of today.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

"A lively and introspective look into Oklahoma City, where colorful city officials business leaders, artists, and sports fans have turned an unassuming Southwestern city into a thriving metropolis with a dazzling basketball team"--

Review by Publisher Summary 4

A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF 2018NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, THE ECONOMIST AND DEADSPINAward-winning journalist Sam Anderson’s long-awaited debut is a brilliant, kaleidoscopic narrative of Oklahoma City—a great American story of civics, basketball, and destiny.Oklahoma City was born from chaos. It was founded in a bizarre but momentous “Land Run” in 1889, when thousands of people lined up along the borders of Oklahoma Territory and rushed in at noon to stake their claims. Since then, it has been a city torn between the wild energy that drives its outsized ambitions, and the forces of order that seek sustainable progress. Nowhere was this dynamic better realized than in the drama of the Oklahoma City Thunder basketball team’s 2012-13 season, when the Thunder’s brilliant general manager, Sam Presti, ignited a firestorm by trading future superstar James Harden just days before the first game. Presti’s all-in gamble on “the Process”—the patient, methodical management style that dictated the trade as the team’s best hope for long-term greatness—kicked off a pivotal year in the city’s history, one that would include pitched battles over urban planning, a series of cataclysmic tornadoes, and the frenzied hope that an NBA championship might finally deliver the glory of which the city had always dreamed.Boom Town announces the arrival of an exciting literary voice. Sam Anderson, former book critic for New York magazine and now a staff writer at the New York Times magazine, unfolds an idiosyncratic mix of American history, sports reporting, urban studies, gonzo memoir, and much more to tell the strange but compelling story of an American city whose unique mix of geography and history make it a fascinating microcosm of the democratic experiment. Filled with characters ranging from NBA superstars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook; to Flaming Lips oddball frontman Wayne Coyne; to legendary Great Plains meteorologist Gary England; to Stanley Draper, Oklahoma City's would-be Robert Moses; to civil rights activist Clara Luper; to the citizens and public servants who survived the notorious 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah federal building, Boom Town offers a remarkable look at the urban tapestry woven from control and chaos, sports and civics.