The Oklahoma History book that goes where others fear to tread, telling the good, the bad, and the inspiring about the Sooner State's history.
The Story of Oklahoma and Its People
Volume One: Ancient-Statehood
Never has the saga of America's last frontier and the mighty people who conquered it been told like John tells it. Featuring the same colorful and readable style and format that has propelled his The War Between the States: America's Uncivil War to success, The Oklahomans chronicles the saga of the winning—and losing—of a land. Some of the most famous cowboys, Indians, lawmen, outlaws, explorers, and female pioneers in American history—black, white, red, and brown—stride across the pages of this unforgettable story. So do some of the nation’s greatest entrepreneurs, statesmen, Christian ministers, social pioneers, and athletes. Wayne Cooper, John Paul Strain, G. N. Taylor, Andy Thomas, Charles Banks Wilson, Mike Wimmer, and others provide the greatest gallery of historical art ever to grace the pages of an Oklahoma History book.
“Masterful. It should be required reading for anyone in or from Oklahoma.”
—William R. Carmack, Regents Professor, University of Oklahoma
Oklahoma's largest TV station, KWTV Channel 9 in OKC, ran this entertaining two-minute feature about THE OKLAHOMANS on their six o'clock news program.
How does The Oklahomans differ from previous Oklahoma histories?
It is written by a veteran historical novelist, with an eye for people, drama, and storytelling, yet…
John spent over a decade working on this book, conducting many new interviews, checking and rechecking facts, sources, and previous accounts, then vetting the entire volume with several top notch Oklahoma History scholars.
He created the Oklahoma History course at Southern Nazarene University and has taught it for more than a decade. The class always concludes at the Oklahoma State Capitol. John closes out the course with a tour of the capitol. Through the years, he noticed the incomparable gallery of Oklahoma historical art adorning the great old building’s walls, most of which had rarely graced the pages of Oklahoma History books. He spent more than a year identifying, selecting, and securing rights to dozens of these magnificent works, as well as others, and a remarkable treasury of hundreds of photographs, maps, cartoons, and other images from the Oklahoma Historical Society, National Cowboy Museum in OKC, and other sources.
These images, beautiful as they are, serve not only for aesthetic purposes, however. They reflect, illustrate, and help drive the narrative around them, as seen in the page excerpted below.
A frequently-expressed reader concern regarding previous Oklahoma histories was confusion about when in the state’s chronology particular events or scenes took place. John addressed this challenge by placing clear, simple, helpful new timelines at the beginning of each chapter…
…as well as dividing the chapters into individual decades, adjusting these when the flow of events and chapter content warranted, such as during the sparsely-populated ancient history of Oklahoma, as well as the eventful Civil War years.
This book, like John’s Civil War opus The War Between the States: America’s Uncivil War, allows you to read from first page to last, or to pick and choose features, topics, and sections to skip around to. John worked fulltime for more than a month just constructing The Oklahomans’ comprehensive and helpful index. Thus, you can find whomever and whatever is your interest in the index and move easily to those pages, rather than wondering whether a particular person, event, or topic appears in the book, but not in the index, as so often is the case in history books.
The Oklahomans pioneers the feature of “jumping” sidebars (features whose text appears amidst a colored section of the page supporting the main or narrative text) to an online repository. This keeps the book’s main narrative from being too disrupted, provides you with a large (and growing) repository of additional information on subjects of interest to you, and allows John to correct, update, and expand the book’s features for you online, long after you have first read the material in the physical book.
This book addresses the seminal contributions to the building of Oklahoma by such groups as Native American Indians—“Civilized” tribes, Plains tribes, and others—African-Americans, Christian missionaries, teachers, and ministers, and white Texas cattlemen and settlers, not just as add-ons or set-aside features, but in a more consistent, comprehensive and integrated fashion than previous works.
It also elevates a dynamic theme in Oklahoma History that some prominent Oklahoma Historians urged John to explore more robustly than previous such books had: the pivotal role of the private sector—business, entrepreneurs, and every day workers—in building the state. Volume 1 demonstrates not only the importance of this subject, but its prominence throughout Oklahoma history: the French-American Chouteaus' trading empire; enterprising Choctaws, Cherokees, and other Indians; bold, ingenious black men and women across the Twin Territories, then Oklahoma; and history's greatest wildcatters.
Finally, The Oklahomans comes to you from an objective perspective that, while in places reading more critically of Oklahomans, their history, and their widespread Christian faith than any previous such work, is written and produced by people who love and believe in the state and its people, in their future, and in their potential, and ultimately affirm that people, their history, and their Christian God and His teachings.