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Boom Town: The Fantastical Saga of Oklahoma…

Boom Town: The Fantastical Saga of Oklahoma City, Its Chaotic Founding...… (edition 2019)

by Sam Anderson (Author)

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1205157,774 (4.33)4
"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 the bizarre but momentous Land Run of 1889, when tens of 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 outsize 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 framed 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, 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 front man Wayne Coyne; to legendary Great Plains meteorologist Gary England; 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"--"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"--… (more)
Title:Boom Town: The Fantastical Saga of Oklahoma City, Its Chaotic Founding... Its Purloined Basketball Team, and the Dream of Becoming a World-class Metropolis
Authors:Sam Anderson (Author)
Info:Broadway Books (2019), Edition: Reprint, 448 pages
Collections:Your library

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Boom Town: The Fantastical Saga of Oklahoma City, its Chaotic Founding... its Purloined Basketball Team, and the Dream of Becoming a World-class Metropolis by Sam Anderson



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This book has an ugly dustjacket. And that's about all the criticism I can come up with. The book is a history of Oklahoma City, told by interweaving several strands from history with an account of the city's attainment of its long-held dream to become a major league sports town by obtaining the former Seattle NBA franchise and the team's subsequent misadventures. This strand alternates with a fairly linear account of the city's passage from its chaotic land run origins, through an urban renewal from Hell fiasco in the years after WWII, to its turn-of-the-century attempt to reinvent itself as a sophisticated hipster refuge. Through it all, we proceed back and forth to seeing this history and life there today through the prism of such locals as end-of-the-bench basketball player Daniel Orton, TV weathercasting celebrity Gary England, rock star Wayne Coyne, OKC's Robert Moses, Stanley Draper, and two David Paynes--the original land run mover-and-shaker and his namesake, a stormchaser of today.

This is all compulsively readable and I often had difficulty putting it down. His feel for Oklahoma City is, overall, very good. He gets one thing wrong, though, and it's a pretty big thing: he equates OKC's downtown with life in the place as a whole. Yes, downtown was a moonscape during the seventies and eighties, and that wasn't a good thing. But life went on, pretty well, around the metro area. Yes, I wish that Jane Jacobs were in charge of America's city planning. Until that happens, though, entertainment and commercial life in general are going to follow the population and the money. Hence, those features of urban life began migrating northwestward, to the Northwest Expressway during the sixties, and further out to the Memorial Road corridor later, around the turn of the century. Otherwise, a great and memorable book, superbly written, and a joy to read. ( )
  Big_Bang_Gorilla | Jan 15, 2020 |
A terrific tale of the craziness of Oklahoma City, its history and its basketball team. ( )
  dougcornelius | Jan 4, 2019 |
A wonderful lbook, Anderson is a great basketball writer (Thunder) and is also great at nature (tornadoes) ss well as a deep rooted history of cities.Well balaanced ( )
  annbury | Sep 29, 2018 |
BOOMTOWN by Sam Anderson provides a vivid, unique and entertaining view of the history of Oklahoma City, from the Land Run that haphazardly created this one-of-a-kind city, all the way to the OKC Thunder, which brought much needed attention to a city who seemed to have lost it's identity recently.
Anderson balanced present and past stories of Oklahoma City and all the time showed the boom (and eventual bust) approach to all things. That through line was felt in well researched stories of the creation and growth of the city and also through the more recent chapters about the NBA Thunder team and Wanye Coyne, lead signer of the band The Flaming Lips, amongst others. For a reader like me who hasn't been to central US much and never to Oklahoma, Anderson does an excellent of of creating a desire for me to visit, in spite of Anderson's very clear description of the awful weather, the recent rise in earthquakes, and the general isolation from much of the rest of the US that Oklahoma City feels daily. That's one of the reasons that Anderson's book is so good, his writing draws you into a very unconventional and often despressing city because it's clear that Anderson has an strong affinity for the city and wants his readers to as well.
Oklahoma City is like no other major city in the US; it's creation, it's mentality, it's weather beaten history. Sam Anderson's BOOMTOWN paints a clear and realistic picture of Oklahoma City, warts and all. Any reader interesting in finding out about such a rare and wonderful city Oklahoma City reall is would enjoy this book.
Thank you to Crown Publishing, Sam Anderson, and Netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! ( )
1 vote EHoward29 | Aug 19, 2018 |
This is narrative non-fiction at its best. Anderson does such a wonderful job of painting the city and its people, and most notably their mentality, that I was completely immersed by the breadth and depth of this neglected city's culture and history. He has managed to make the city feel like a literary character. Highly recommended.

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher for review. ( )
1 vote fionaanne | Jul 31, 2018 |
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