Sam Anderson's "Boom Town" Makes The Case For OKC | WAMC

Sam Anderson's "Boom Town" Makes The Case For OKC

Dec 13, 2018

Sam Anderson is an award-winning staff writer for The New York Times Magazine - formerly a book critic for the same. He lives in Beacon, New York. His first book, “Boom Town: The Fantastical Saga of Oklahoma City, its Chaotic Founding... its Purloined Basketball Team, and the Dream of Becoming a World-class Metropolis” was released this summer.

“Boom Town” hops around the fascinating story of Oklahoma’s capital city, which is like zooming in on a sped up story of America with everything that entails: dream attainment and major success for some; land ownership; enormous civic pride perhaps only outmatched by civic confusion; power-struggles; architecture that goes up too fast; solid and stately buildings that get knocked down too soon in the name of progress; the unfortunate truths that generate the necessity for an inspiring civil rights movement; extreme weather, sports, rock and roll, and terror.

Oklahoma City also boasts more than a few events that could safely be called uniquely its own, with one example being: Operation Bongo. In 1964, the Federal Aviation Administration used various aircraft to generate sonic booms over OKC to test their effect on structures and public attitude. The public attitude was, largely: “Quit it with the sonic booms.”

Anderson was sent to OKC by The New York Times Magazine to write a splashy feature on the city's NBA team, The Thunder. Luckily for readers, he made a major connection to the place and with the people who live there.