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University of Oklahoma Press 2018

Non-fiction finalist, Oklahoma Book Awards, 2019

1889 chronicles central Oklahoma's uphill battle to attain territorial status and urban pioneering in what became Oklahoma City. Michael frames his story within the larger history of Old Oklahoma where displaced tribes and freedmen, wealthy cattlemen, townsite developers, and prospective homesteaders faced off in disputes, sometimes peaceful but often not, over the federal government’s public lands policies. The story of central Oklahoma is profoundly American, and it reveals the region as a crucible of competing interests and visions of the future with deep roots in U.S. history.

“1889 is a much-needed contribution to the history of Oklahoma, the American West, and Gilded Age America. Michael J. Hightower offers the best and most complete coverage of the Boomer movement that I have read.” Sterling Evans, editor of Farming across Borders: A Transnational History of the North American West



2 Cities Press, 2012

The Pattersons is the story of a rich and powerful family’s path to redemption—a path hewn from the bedrock of American history, and one with the power to energize an American Dream that, for many, seems out of reach. Michael’s first novel is an action-packed adventure whose main characters learn to rekindle the warrior energy that can make midlife a time of renewal for us and our communities.

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University of Oklahoma Press 2014

Outstanding book on Oklahoma history, Oklahoma Historical Society, 2015

Through meticulous research and oral history interviews with bankers statewide, Michael has crafted a compelling narrative of Oklahoma banking in the twentieth century. Topics include the ill-fated deposit guarantee law of 1908; bankers’ armed resistance to brazen hold-ups during the Roaring Twenties; adaptation to regulations spawned by the Great Depression; the post–World War II boom; the 1980s depression in the oil patch; the demise of unit banking; and changes fostered by rapid-fire advances in technology and communication. Penn Square Bank offers one of history’s few unambiguous lessons, and it warrants two chapters—one on the rise, and one on the fall. Increasing regulation of the banking industry, the survival of family banks, and the resilience of community banking are consistent themes in a state that is only a few generations removed from the frontier.

“His book plows new ground in illuminating the issues central to banking and commerce that have shaped the state’s history.” Gene Rainbolt, chairman, BancFirst Corporation

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University of Oklahoma Press 2013

Non-fiction finalist, Oklahoma Book Awards, 2014

This lively book takes Oklahoma history into the world of Wild West capitalism. It begins with a useful survey of banking from the early days of the American republic until commercial patterns coalesced in the East. It then follows the course of American expansion westward, tracing the evolution of commerce and banking in Oklahoma from their genesis to the eve of statehood in 1907. Banking went through a wild adolescence during the territorial period. The era saw robberies and insider shenanigans, rivalries between banks with territorial and national charters, speculation in land and natural resources, and fraud aimed at robbing Native Americans of what little land they had left. But as banking matured, the better-capitalized institutions became the nucleus of commercial culture in Oklahoma and Indian Territories.

“Michael Hightower’s cleverly written book is a spectrograph that breaks the bright light into one of its most important (and least written about) spectra. The original stories, many gathered here for the first time, of the men and women who brought working capitalism to the Twin Territories are both prescient and prophetic.” Robert Henry, president, Oklahoma City University