Oklahoma Tough by Ron Padgett
My Father, King of the Tulsa Bootleggers

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Synopsis

Wayne Padgett was a colorful, charming, and generous man. He was also one of Oklahoma’s most elusive bootleggers and career criminals. From the 1960s into the 1980s, he operated out of Tulsa as a high-ranking member of the outfit known as the Dixie Mafia. In "Oklahoma Tough," poet Ron Padgett tells the inside story of his notorious father and of how he earned his reputation as a Robin Hood "King of the Bootleggers."

"Oklahoma Tough" is also a history of the distinctive mid-twentieth-century Oklahoma milieu that made Wayne Padgett’s life story possible. Ron Padgett brings this vanished world to life with candid and sometimes comic descriptions of criminal life. Particularly insightful and entertaining are interviews in which former bootleggers, family members, friends, and enemies speak openly about their lives.

Combining biography, personal memories, and a history of the times, Ron Padgett bases his story on interviews with police officers and with those who knew Wayne Padgett, whether friend, foe, or family. He also bases it on newspapers and library, historical society, school, medical, and police records (Wayne Padgett’s FBI files run to 1300 pages), as well as on his own vivid memories of growing up with his charismatic criminal father. Twenty-one period photographs enhance the story of "Oklahoma Tough."

 

About Ron Padgett

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Ron Padgett is a celebrated translator, memoirist, and "a thoroughly American poet, coming sideways out of Whitman, Williams, and New York Pop with a Tulsa twist" (Peter Gizzi). His poetry has been translated into more than a dozen languages and has appeared in The Best American Poetry, The Norton Anthology of Postmodern American Poetry, The Oxford Book of American Poetry, and on Garrison Keillor's Writer's Almanac. He was also a guest on Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion in 2009. Padgett is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and his most recent books include HOW LONG, HOW TO BE PERFECT, JOE: A MEMOIR OF JOE BRAINARD, and IF I WERE YOU. Born in Oklahoma, he lives in New York City and Calais, Vermont.
 
Published April 1, 2003 by University of Oklahoma Press. 288 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Crime. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Oklahoma Tough

Publishers Weekly

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"I was hit with an intense sensation, the pang of loving someone I don't really know," recalls poet Padgett, of a night nearly two decades ago, which sparked the writing of his father

Mar 31 2003 | Read Full Review of Oklahoma Tough: My Father, Ki...

Publishers Weekly

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"I was hit with an intense sensation, the pang of loving someone I don't really know," recalls poet Padgett, of a night nearly two decades ago, which sparked the writing of his father's biography.

| Read Full Review of Oklahoma Tough: My Father, Ki...

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