Bobby BlueJacket: The Tribe, The Joint, The Tulsa Underworld
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Bobby BlueJacket illuminates a neglected history of American crime, identity, and politics in the 20th century. This is the extraordinary true story of a man who went from career thief and convicted killer to celebrated prison journalist—ultimately becoming a respected Eastern Shawnee activist and orator. Bobby BlueJacket draws upon 5 years of interviews with the subject, long-buried law enforcement and trial records, prison archives, news accounts, and interviews with others such as photographer Larry Clark and veteran reporters of Tulsa's crime beat.
Born in 1930, BlueJacket came of age as a Native American in white Oklahoma—passing through teenage rumbles, scheming pool halls, and Midwest safecracker crews. While incarcerated, he remade himself as a prison journalist. By the 1970s, he would act as a political impresario, used tire salesman, prison rodeo emcee, and later as a venerable tribal elder. At each turn, BlueJacket sought out success and self-definition by any means necessary. More than just an underworld tale—Bobby BlueJacket is an in-depth exploration of one man’s experience in a brutal post-war world.
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Softcover / 6 x 9 / 752 pgs. (Includes 87 pgs. of b&w photography and 106 pgs. of source notes)
“Insightful, angry, straightforward, reminiscent of the subterranean classic, You Can’t Win by Jack Black—Daley’s BlueJacket pulls no punches describing a long life as fascinating as it is heartbreaking in its details.”
– Jack Womack, Random Acts of Senseless Violence and Elvissey
“This book is not only a fascinating and richly detailed biography of a wily child of the Great Depression who at an early age drifted into a life of serious crime and serious punishment, it is also an intimate portrait of his complex emotional and intellectual life. Bobby BlueJacket. The story is as good as the sound of his beautiful name.”
– Ron Padgett, Bean Spasms and Oklahoma Tough: My Father, King of the Tulsa Bootleggers
“It’s a compelling read, full of violence and heart.”
– Joshua Kline, This Land Press
“An amazing cultural history as much as it is a story of Bobby BlueJacket.”
– Rich Fisher, Public Radio Tulsa
"Each time I picked up Bobby BlueJacket, I got lost in its pages, even at the points where I was utterly horrified by what I read… I highly recommend this book for anyone and everyone, not only because it is fascinating, well-written, and incredibly well-researched, but because it provides layer upon layer of indispensable information told primarily through a first-person account of lived experiences. It’s the kind of narrative history we need more of, especially centering marginalized voices, especially today."
– Samantha Puc, In Full Bleed