Tuesday, April 3, 2007

OU Press Book Highlights State's Contrarian Past

A book with an interesting title caught our attention the other day. The title is Alternative Oklahoma, and the book, edited by Davis Joyce and published by the University of Oklahoma Press, promises a view of state history that doesn't always get much attention.

The OU Press website puts it this way:
These decidedly contrarian Sooner voices reflect the progressive, libertarian, and even radical viewpoints that influenced the state’s creation. Contributors talk of growing up “Okie and radical,” of the legacy of Woody Guthrie in the Red Dirt music scene, and of the Sunbelt Alliance that helped to stop the building of the Black Fox nuclear power plant. They look back at Oklahoma City’s role in the early civil rights sit-in movement and at an Oklahoman’s experience with Vietnam Veterans Against the War. They consider religion outside the mainstream—and everyday women squarely within these unique expressions of faith.

As this passage makes clear, Alternative Oklahoma is not your father's Oklahoma history. But it does appear to be an important part of the state's history that deserves greater attention. As the OU publicity puts it (copying Oklahoma's Paul Harvey), this is "the rest of the story."

Alternative Oklahoma editor Davis Joyce is Professor Emeritus of History at East Central University in Ada. He is also author of Howard Zinn: A Radical American Vision. The book's "Foreword" is by Fred R. Harris, former U.S. Senator from Oklahoma who now teaches at the University of New Mexico.

We have only thumbed through the book at this point, but we like it so far. Given its title, that's probably not a big surprise.

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