Muskogee Public Library has a surprising number of books published by Oklahoma authors in recent months. It’s exciting to get to read about local history by and about local people. You’ll want to evaluate the information yourself since often the people best qualified to judge the accuracy and appropriateness of local history are local people. The library has purchased or ordered these titles and we hope you will check them out and support local authors by purchasing some yourself.
Roger Bell authored “Images of America: Muskogee” which features Muskogee pictures with informative captions grouped in chapters: “Frontier Muskogee: 1872-1899,” “Star of the New Star:1900-1909.” “Skyscrapers and the Great War: 1910-1919,” “A Great Place to Call Home: 1920-1939,” “City on the Home Front: 1940-1949,” and “Okies from Muskogee: 1950-1979.” It’s a fascinating look at Muskogee history, buildings and people.
Gloyd McCoy wrote “Tent Number Eight: an Investigation of the Girls Scout Murders & the Trial of Gene Leroy Hart.” Most local people cannot forget the horrifying discovery of the bodies of three young girl scouts who were murdered and sexually assaulted in 1977 while camped near Locust Grove. An earlier book, “Someone Cry for the Children” by Michael and Dick Wilkerson, made the case that Gene Leroy Hart had assaulted and killed the children, but that the evidence presented by the prosecution was not found credible by the jury. The investigating law officers were indignant that they seemed to be on trial. Mr. McCoy presents the case like a lawyer from the defense point of view. Many transcripts and court records are quoted; but the answer to the question “Who killed the three young girls?” still remains unanswered.
Ree Drummond writes in a much lighter vein about her experience as a city girl who grew up with the golf course set in urban Oklahoma unexpectedly meeting the man of her dreams while out for a quick drink with friends. She falls for “Marlboro Man” and winds up living on a working cattle ranch. Her memoir is titled “The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels—A Love Story,” which you might think tells it all, but if you enjoy laughing and sometimes getting a little misty, you won’t want to miss a word of this true romance. Mrs. Drummond has also written “The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl.” Yes, the library has this one too.
Robby McMurtry, who claims to have been raised by coyotes near Loco, Oklahoma, has inked several graphic novels (we used to call them comic books) about Oklahoma history and the people who made it unique. One title now circulating is “Gunplay: The True Story of Pistol Pete on the Hootowl Trail.” The story is told in action pictures with balloon speech and is interspersed with brief illustrated articles including “Samuel Colt’s Revolver,” “Judge Parker’s Federal Court at Fort Smith, Arkansas,” and “Cattle Ranching in the Indian Nations.” It would be difficult to imagine a more enjoyable method of learning about Oklahoma history and characters. New titles by Mr. McMurtry include “Native Heart—The Life and Times of Ned Christie, Cherokee Patriot and Renegade,” and “The Road to Medicine Lodge, or Jesse Chisholm in the Indian Nations.”
Other new books written by Oklahoma authors have been recently acquired by the library and will soon be available for circulation. Look for Charla Jean Morris’ “From the First Rising Sun,” Murv Jacob, Deborah L. Duvall and James Murray’s “The Secret History of the Cherokees—A Novel,” Linda Sue Moore’s “Grant Foremen: a Biography,” David Jones’ “Muskogee Rhythms,” and “My Dad, Oral Roberts” by Roberta Roberts-Potts.
For good reading by and about Oklahomans, come to the library and check us out.
Betty Himes is the adult services librarian at the Muskogee Public Library. You can reach her at (918) 682-6657.