Robert L. Dorman presents the good, the bad, and the many in-between historical events of Oklahoma history from 8,000 B.C. to 1999.
At a site in present day Harper County, remains of bones and tools show the use of the gully there by early Native Americans for killing bison over many years around 8000 B.C.. The Heavener Rune stone and its
attendant stories date back possibly to 1012 A.D. Dorman relates the two Trail of Tears stories and those of the Chisholm Trail, Custer’s massacre of Indians at the Washita River, the founding of Oklahoma City, various outlaws, the 101 Ranch Wild West Show, the return of the buffalo to Oklahoma, the oil business, instances if Native Americans young and old taken advantage of, the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot, and Spiro Mound and how it was nearly lost and how it was saved. He tells of the Dust Bowl days in Oklahoma, tornadoes, and the 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing. He discusses the controversy over Karen Silkwood and nuclear energy. The 900-foot Jesus of the subtitle is the Praying Hands that are now on the campus of Oral Roberts University but were originally at Oral Roberts hospital, City of Faith Medical and Research Center, that was not successful in keeping its doors open.
These stories and a few others showcase the diverse history of the Sooner State. As Dorman says in his introduction, “Oklahoma’s history is surprising and never boring.” While very readable and entertaining, his book is also educational given the historical stories he covers. Dorman does not whitewash the history of Oklahoma; he shows the warts, too, some of which are quite disgraceful.
Black and white illustrations grace the cover of the book. The front cover depicts a family outside their sod house, while the one on the back and on the title page are of Geronimo butchering a buffalo. Dorman provides one map of Oklahoma with the towns and places he mentions in the book. This book is part of the It Happened series from The Globe Pequot Press.
2007 is Oklahoma’s centennial of statehood, and this book is a great way to celebrate. Oklahomans and those interested in Oklahoma history will enjoy this book.
Robert L. Dorman was born and raised in Oklahoma. He has a history degree from the University of Oklahoma and is the author of Revolt of the Provinces: The Regionalist Movement in America, 1920-1945 (2003) andA Word for Nature: Four Pioneering Environmental Advocates, 1845-1913 (1998).