Books That Inspire 2010

Progressive Oklahoma: The Making of a New Kind of State
Danney Goble

When I selected Danney Goble's Progressive Oklahoma as a book which has been especially important to my understanding of our state and nation, I did not know that Danney's life would be tragically cut short this year. I dedicate these brief words to him and the lasting impact which his keen mind and loving and generous spirit have had on our university, especially upon our students.

Progressive Oklahoma reminds us that it is impossible to understand current events and the functioning of political institutions without understanding the historic developments which produced them. Eastern and Western Oklahoma remain politically and socially distinct today because of the different ways in which they were settled. Oklahoma's Constitution and laws were the product of the Progressive Era which coincided with the pioneering period of our state. That is why Oklahoma's government, perhaps more than that of any other state, reflects unbounded confidence in the wisdom of the average person. It gives an unusual amount of power to the people themselves through virtually every tool devised by progressive political leaders. Goble understood that mere information about current events is not enough. The present has meaning only when placed in historical and cultural context. No book better explains our identity as Oklahomans.

From Books That Inspire 2007.

David L. Boren