This book is a collection of essays by well-known (and some not so well-known) women either from Oklahoma or with Oklahoma connections. Twelve sections contain a varying number of essays on family, religion, politics, history, feminism, mothering, women and work, education, and other topics. Essayists include Oklahoma First Lady Kim Henry, Oklahoma State Superintendent Sandy Garrett, Oklahoma Congresswoman Mary Fallin, Rilla Askew, Joy Harjo, Cindy Simon Rosenthal, Wilma Mankiller, Anne Roberts, Billie Letts, Jane Jayrole, Maria Tallchief, Sherri Coale, and others.
The essays vary in length and style. Many are very personal, telling stories of the women’s own lives or events that they experienced or remember from Oklahoma history. Some discuss historical events from Oklahoma history that many would rather forget, like the Tulsa Race Riots of 1921, the Indian Removals of the 19th century to Indian Territory, and others.
Oklahoma is not so mundane as those outside the state might think. Some people still cannot decide which region Oklahoma belongs; some think that Oklahoma is still a desert or a huge Indian reservation. Voices from the Heartland helps to show that Oklahoma has as glorious a past as other states but, as with other states, it has also played host to some bad events. The world saw Oklahoma at its best in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995, a tragedy that showed that neighbors can be good to and help each other. Oklahoma was also an example to the people of New York and Washington, D.C. as they experienced the horrendous tragedy of September 11, 2001.
Voices from the Heartland was edited by Carolyn Anne Taylor, Emily Dial-Driver, Carole Burrage, and Sally Emmons-Featherston, all of whom have connections with Rogers State University (Oklahoma) and wrote essays for this collection. Highly recommended to those wanting a collection of essays by various women from all kinds of walks of life, and a great way to celebrate Oklahoma’s centennial of statehood.