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Boom Town: How Wal-Mart Transformed an All-American Town Into an International Community

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In 1950, Sam Walton, founder of the Wal-Mart empire, arrived in the Bible Belt town of Bentonville, Arkansas, and discovered that the nondescript Ozarks backwater--population 2,900 white Christians--suited him just fine. Today, six decades later, Walton’s legacy has left its mark. The Bentonville area is headquarters to not only Wal-Mart but also Tyson Foods and J. B. Hunt In 1950, Sam Walton, founder of the Wal-Mart empire, arrived in the Bible Belt town of Bentonville, Arkansas, and discovered that the nondescript Ozarks backwater--population 2,900 white Christians--suited him just fine. Today, six decades later, Walton’s legacy has left its mark. The Bentonville area is headquarters to not only Wal-Mart but also Tyson Foods and J. B. Hunt. The town’s population has grown to around 30,000, and the region is now home to blacks, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Marshall Islanders, and the fastest-growing Latino population in the country. In Boom Town: How Wal-Mart Transformed an All-American Town into an International Community, veteran journalist Marjorie Rosen explores the ever-shifting social, political, and cultural character of the United States through the microcosm that is Northwest Arkansas and the personal stories of its people. Rosen talks with a Palestinian immigrant who rose from penniless dishwasher to multimillionaire contractor--and dedicated himself to building a local Jewish community’s first synagogue. A black executive hired to diversify Wal-Mart, whose arrival coincided with a KKK rally in the town square, gives his views on the controversies surrounding the company. A Mexican mother of three, fired from a chicken plant after an injury on the job, discusses her struggle to survive. A Hindu father concerned about interracial dating, a Marshallese security guard whose daughter was ignored in the ER, and many others reveal the issues and challenges facing those who make up the “boom towns” where the economy and culture are in constant flux. An entertaining, intimate, and often moving chronicle of how different ethnicities, races, and religions come together and struggle to adapt, Boom Town combines sociology, drama, and humanity to illustrate the unpredictable movements that shape our national persona.


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In 1950, Sam Walton, founder of the Wal-Mart empire, arrived in the Bible Belt town of Bentonville, Arkansas, and discovered that the nondescript Ozarks backwater--population 2,900 white Christians--suited him just fine. Today, six decades later, Walton’s legacy has left its mark. The Bentonville area is headquarters to not only Wal-Mart but also Tyson Foods and J. B. Hunt In 1950, Sam Walton, founder of the Wal-Mart empire, arrived in the Bible Belt town of Bentonville, Arkansas, and discovered that the nondescript Ozarks backwater--population 2,900 white Christians--suited him just fine. Today, six decades later, Walton’s legacy has left its mark. The Bentonville area is headquarters to not only Wal-Mart but also Tyson Foods and J. B. Hunt. The town’s population has grown to around 30,000, and the region is now home to blacks, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Marshall Islanders, and the fastest-growing Latino population in the country. In Boom Town: How Wal-Mart Transformed an All-American Town into an International Community, veteran journalist Marjorie Rosen explores the ever-shifting social, political, and cultural character of the United States through the microcosm that is Northwest Arkansas and the personal stories of its people. Rosen talks with a Palestinian immigrant who rose from penniless dishwasher to multimillionaire contractor--and dedicated himself to building a local Jewish community’s first synagogue. A black executive hired to diversify Wal-Mart, whose arrival coincided with a KKK rally in the town square, gives his views on the controversies surrounding the company. A Mexican mother of three, fired from a chicken plant after an injury on the job, discusses her struggle to survive. A Hindu father concerned about interracial dating, a Marshallese security guard whose daughter was ignored in the ER, and many others reveal the issues and challenges facing those who make up the “boom towns” where the economy and culture are in constant flux. An entertaining, intimate, and often moving chronicle of how different ethnicities, races, and religions come together and struggle to adapt, Boom Town combines sociology, drama, and humanity to illustrate the unpredictable movements that shape our national persona.

30 review for Boom Town: How Wal-Mart Transformed an All-American Town Into an International Community

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tara Daas

    Grew up in Bentonville in the 70s and 80s-amazing read and true to heart on the pre-was mart boom culture as well as the reality the changes in the 90s and new millennium brought to the area.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kecia

    My parents recently moved to Bentonville so this book sparks my interest. I wish there were more reader reviews out there.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kenneth D Beaty

  4. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Mcmanus

  6. 4 out of 5

    John

  7. 4 out of 5

    Andy May

    not the Arkansas I grew up in

  8. 4 out of 5

    Grace

  9. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

  10. 5 out of 5

    A

  11. 4 out of 5

    Heather

  12. 4 out of 5

    Daphne Wigger

  13. 4 out of 5

    Franco

  14. 5 out of 5

    Annette

  15. 4 out of 5

    Steven

  16. 5 out of 5

    Chicago Review Press

  17. 5 out of 5

    Valentina

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rsmith

  19. 5 out of 5

    Dawn

  20. 4 out of 5

    Saffron

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ipg

  22. 4 out of 5

    Adele C

  23. 4 out of 5

    Prativa

  24. 5 out of 5

    Katie

  25. 5 out of 5

    Brandon Howard

  26. 5 out of 5

    Cstonetx

  27. 4 out of 5

    Fred

  28. 4 out of 5

    Siece

  29. 4 out of 5

    Anthony E. Gosselin

  30. 4 out of 5

    Simon Jang

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