Oleander City

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Pub Date 14 Jun 2022 | Archive Date Not set

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Description

In the wake of the 1900 Galveston hurricane, three lives converge despite persecution from the Ku Klux Klan, a bare-knuckle boxing match gone wrong, and the recovery efforts of the American Red Cross.


Based on a true story


The hurricane of 1900, America’s worst natural disaster, left the island city of Galveston in ruins. Thousands perished, including all ninety-three children at the Sisters of the Incarnate Word orphanage—except six-year-old Hester, who miraculously survived. Oleander City is the tale of this little girl and the volatile collision between the American Red Cross, the Ku Klux Klan, and one of the most famous boxing matches in American history. The bout, organized to raise money for the recovery effort, featured the enigmatic veteran “Chrysanthemum Joe” Choynski, the most successful Jewish boxer in America, and Jack Johnson, a young hometown hero known as “the Galveston Giant.” The storied battle forged a bond between the two legendary fighters and put Johnson on the path to become the greatest heavyweight boxer of all time.


Meanwhile, Clara Barton and the Red Cross minister to the sick and hungry as mounted vigilantes use the chaotic situation to settle old scores. After witnessing a terrible crime, Hester finds sanctuary with the ladies of the Red Cross, in a heartrending convergence of these historic figures.

In the wake of the 1900 Galveston hurricane, three lives converge despite persecution from the Ku Klux Klan, a bare-knuckle boxing match gone wrong, and the recovery efforts of the American Red Cross.


...


A Note From the Publisher

Matt Bondurant's latest novel, The Night Swimmer, was featured in the New York Times Book Review, Outside magazine, and the Daily Beast, among other outlets. His second novel, The Wettest County in the World, is an international bestseller and was made into the feature film Lawless, starring Shia Labeouf, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, and Jessica Chastain. His first novel, The Third Translation, is also an international bestseller, translated into fourteen languages worldwide. Matt has published numerous short stories, poems, essays, and book reviews, as well as feature articles specializing in adventure and endurance athletic events. He currently lives in Oxford, Mississippi.

Matt Bondurant's latest novel, The Night Swimmer, was featured in the New York Times Book Review, Outside magazine, and the Daily Beast, among other outlets. His second novel, The Wettest County...


Advance Praise

"Bondurant is a nimble writer…[His] prose is lyrical when the whiskey floods in, but also when the blood flows out."

-New York Times, praise for the author


“In Oleander City, Matt Bondurant braids the events of the worst natural disaster in American history with one of the great untold stories of American culture. Only a writer of Bondurant’s skill could achieve such complicated braiding. This is history written like a novel, a complicated legacy of human tragedy, race, and class distilled into one hell of a read.”

-Wiley Cash, New York Times bestselling author


“With austere prose, compelling characters, and a gripping true story, Oleander City bears down on its characters like a category five storm, forcing three lost souls to discover who they truly are. More timely than one would think, this tale of natural catastrophe, racial injustice, and lawlessness ultimately illuminates the humanity that motivates and unites us all. A certifiable page-turner, Oleander City pulls at you with the dark undertow of an America that isn’t quite bygone.”

-Adam Johnson, Pulitzer Prize–winning, New York Times bestselling author of The Orphan Master’s Son


“Bondurant’s Oleander City is the best kind of historical novel. Richly imagined, exquisitely written, this tale of disaster and perseverance is both visceral and urgent. The intertwined tales of Galveston mud and spilled blood, like the dizzying combinations of the book’s bare-fisted boxers, make this novel a knockout.”

-M. O. Walsh, New York Times bestselling author of My Sunshine Away and The Big Door Prize


“Bondurant weaves together fascinating backstories with vivid descriptions of the storm and its aftermath, showing that it takes many types of courage to fight for what is right.”

-Booklist


“This novel surprises with its perceptiveness and astonishes with its poignant illustration of the deeper and more sustaining values of beauty and truth and love.”

-Clay Reynolds, author of The VigilFranklin’s Crossing, and The Tentmaker


“Matt Bondurant’s latest work of historical fiction is a deftly woven tale of humanity amidst tragedy. Its vivid characters traverse the broken landscape of hurricane-ravaged Galveston, their lives intersecting in surprising and complicated ways. I won’t forget any of them—especially Hester, a stoic orphan girl accompanied by an old hound dog. It’s a gripping story told with lush and immersive detail.”

-Alix Ohlin, author of Dual Citizens and We Want What We Want


“Set against the sweeping backdrop of dramatic action…this book will keep you reading into the night.”

-Chris Offutt, author of Shifty’s Boys


“In Oleander City, Matt Bondurant takes the carbon of history and, with the pressure and heat of beautifully crafted prose, sensitively drawn characters, and a gut-wrenching, heart-wrenching narrative, creates a brilliant diamond of a novel. Bondurant hurls readers through the Galveston hurricane of 1900, past figures as legendary as Jack Johnson and Clara Barton, into collision with the Ku Klux Klan, and straight toward the dark, murky truth of the American Dream. Oleander City, like all diamonds, is a gift to last forever.”

-Snowden Wright, author of Play Pretty Blues and American Pop


"Bondurant is a nimble writer…[His] prose is lyrical when the whiskey floods in, but also when the blood flows out."

-New York Times, praise for the author


“In Oleander City, Matt Bondurant braids the...


Marketing Plan

Internationally bestselling author of Lawless, the basis of the feature film starring Shia LaBeouf

Major prepublication buzz and outreach

National and regional features, interviews, and reviews

Print and online advertising

Social media campaign

Bookseller and library trade show marketing

Author website: MattBondurant.com

Follow the author on Twitter: @mbondurant

Also available from Blackstone: The Night Swimmer, Lawless, and The Third Translation

Internationally bestselling author of Lawless, the basis of the feature film starring Shia LaBeouf

Major prepublication buzz and outreach

National and regional features, interviews, and reviews

...


Available Editions

EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9798200831166
PRICE $27.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 7 members


Featured Reviews

I love a book where I learn something, and this delivers. Historical fact is interwoven with an excellent story around the hurricane of 1900 in Galveston. I had heard of this event, but this book really brought alive the horrific natural disaster in all its horrible tragedies. The descriptions of the aftermath are difficult to read but create such a visual that I don’t need to see the movie. Poignant and heart-wrenching are just two words that touch on the power of Bondurant’s narrative. His writing is beautiful!
Hester, Joe and Diane are such memorable characters. We care deeply about them from first meeting each and this only intensifies as we hear more of their backstories. I was actually quite shocked and disappointed when the book ended as I was anticipating more plot and more insights into the character. (My e reader wasn’t set to warn me that I was already done!) That said, the ending was a good one – satisfying and believable.
I really enjoyed the author’s note at the end where he explains the genesis of this novel and what ultimately and historically became of the characters. The inclusion of a photo was a great addition to this education.
Thanks so much to Blackstone and to Net Galley for the review copy. I will be checking out this author’s other works.

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Oleander City was definitely an interesting read. Based on the true events of the Galveston hurricane of the early 1900s, I found this book to be well researched and very detailed. This book held my attention and I loved the lawlessness, wild wild west feel to it. For those who love books based on true events, this one is a solid choice.

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Oleander City
by Matt Bondurant
Pub Date: June 14, 2022
Blackstone
Thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the ARC of this book. Based on a true story.
In the wake of the 1900 Galveston hurricane, three lives converge despite persecution from the Ku Klux Klan, a bare-knuckle boxing match gone wrong, and the recovery efforts of the American Red Cross.
Good Book!
4 stars

Was this review helpful?

I loved reading this book! I found the writing to be very insightful and interesting. I was intrigued by the premise and I enjoyed reading it from start to finish.

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