The Bookshelf, The Parlor, The Young Texas Reader, and the Monthly

The Texas Bookshelf is different from the The Texas Parlor, . The Texas Parlor carries "general" bookish information and non-book information and even different Texana news and notes of use to the bibliographically challenged and other nosey folks intersted in historical, literary, and cultural observations. Will's Texana Monthly may carry material from either blog, but extends itself beyond those, especially for longer compilations or treatments. The Monthly, the Bookshelf and the Parlor are all companions. So, is the Young Texas Reader which specialized on books and such things for the youngest to the teenagers.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Bill Leftwich - Interview

Ed Blackburn, in his Texana Review, interviews the ancient Bill Leftwich, cowboy, artist and writer.
Give a listen to the podcast at

James Hold - Inteview

The blog named Fa has an interview with James Hold, author of Remember the Aloe, Moe, a collection of short stories that comprise a novel, if I've got it right.
Uh, the main character is named "J" who was a Siamese cat until he adapted himself to be a human wrestler, if I've got it right.
Actually, J, a Texas cat, excuse me a Texan, appeared in an earlier Hold novel Out of Texas in which he saved Houston from a giant cabbage, if I've got it right.
Don't trust me, I'm just sitting here as the screens go by, for yourself, read more about it at

Ex-Dubutante - Linda Francis Lee

An Arlington Public Library "Reader-to-Reader" blogger reviews
Linda Francis Lee's Ex-Dubutante.
Read more about it at
The Old 300 descendant, native Texan blogger also suggests these for summer reading
My Big Old Texas Heartache by Geralyn Dawson
Alamo House by Sarah Bird
Lone Star Cafe by Lisa Wingate
Lady be Good by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Blue Blood by Susan McBride
Not Another Bad Date by Rachel Gibson

Of All Sad Words - Bill Crider

Book Review: Of All Sad Words: A Sheriff Dan Rhodes Mystery by Bill Crider
Posted on June 27th, 2008 by Kevin Tipple
"Blacklin County, Texas is a fairly, quiet place most of the time which is how Sheriff Dan Rhodes likes it. His idea of a citizens’ Sheriff’s Academy had seemed like a good idea at the time in that it would teach folks about the department and generate some good publicity. "
Read more about it at

Thursday, June 26, 2008

It Takes a Worried Man - Phil Vinson

From the Fort Worth Business Press

Lone Star Library™: Phil Vinson delivers a thought-provoking novel

 + enlarge photo
It Takes a Worried Man, by Phil Vinson. VBW Publishing, $17
"Scratch a veteran journalist, and nine times out of 10 you'll find a natural-born storyteller. Fort Worth's Phil Vinson has launched a storytelling-from-experience career with a rambunctious memoir called Ink in the Blood (see the Fort Worth Business Press, Sept. 12, 2005), and now he follows through with a thoughtful and provocative novel, It Takes a Worried Man."
Read more about it

Fire Boys - Charles Page

Brad Guidry in The Cherokee Herald, declaring itself the oldest weekly newspaper in Texas, brings us news of Charles Page's new book offered by Marcia Hassell - Fire Boys, Fire Whistles, and Fire Wagons.  see announcement at
I've always known that Alto was a hot town, but this I've gotta see.

Red Dirt and Sand Hill Stories

Writers hone skills with help from peers

Newsboy photo/ Sharon Kerr ALENE DUNN will soon have a book on library shelves with her name on it. Red Dirt and Sand Hill Stories are based on hers recollections of growing up in East Texas in the 1950's,"based on some measure of truth" and imagination.
"When Alene Dunn's book, Red Dirt and Sand Hill Stories, comes out in the fall she will be the newest published book author in the Sabine Neches Writers Guild."
"It's a lot of work. I had this collection of stories, and then I had to put in into the format the publisher wanted," Dunn said. "It's a collection of stories about growing up in the 1950's in East Texas that will bring back special memories to its readers."
Read more about it at:
Better check your genealogies and find out if she's talking about you.  Get your stories straight.
Readers may wish to read and compare Alene Dunn with Mary Karr's Liar's Club, also a childhood memoir althought based nearer Beaumont and Horton Foote's Farewell, his childhood memoir of Wharton, just northwest of Houston.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Email postings

I'm testing to see if a particular blogging option is open to me.
Suppposedly, if I email [to a particular address], that email will appear as a posting without further effort.
If you see this in the Texas Bookshelf, it worked.
Including a hotlink to the Handbook below this line
and an image of a moused Handbook.
Handbook of Texas Online
Are you reading this?
Is the link to the Handbook colored and hot?
Is there an image of a moused Handbook?
Sent at 1:56 pm
[Re format:
I did not add lines between the lines. The blog tends to add a blank line if the emailer "tabbed" at the end of line.
Remember to turn off the automatic signature, or it also will transfer.
I italicized the word Handbook in the email to tests whether formating would transfer.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Benjamin A. Saenz, El Paso Poet, Interview

Benjamin A. Saenz, El Paso Poet

Interview on Centrum

Border Talk:

An Interview With Copper Canyon Poet Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Interviewer Farid Matuk, a Austin poet and freelance writer:

an excerpt

"I was born in 1954. My parents were not educated and our circumstances were humble, to say the least. Not one house I ever entered while I was growing up had libraries or books. Everyone worked hard, lived from paycheck to paycheck, had too many kids, too many debts, drove cars that were always breaking down. Needless to say, I do not have the same background as a W.H. Auden or a T.S. Eliot. This is not to say that I was not surrounded by civil and intelligent people."

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Lookin' Back, Texas - Leanna Ellis

This new title is a follow-up to "Elvis Takes a Back Seat," a volume Texas Bookshelf enjoyed. Thanks to Deena.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Bending Science

New book by professors Thomas McGarity and Wendy Wagner reveals efforts by special interests to manipulate public health research
[new book announcement begins]
"Using alarming stories drawn from the public record, The University of Texas law professors Thomas O. McGarity and Wendy Wagner describe in a new book how advocates for special interests employ a range of devious tactics to manipulate or suppress research on potential human health hazards.
Harvard University Press is publishing the book, Bending Science: How Special Interests Corrupt Public Health Research. It is scheduled for release on May 31, 2008."
Texas Bookshelf presumes that these Texas lawyers did not find any corroborating evidence in Texas and that's why it book was published by one of those foreign firms, Harvard University."

Mike Cox interview - Writers in the Sky

Another interview with Mike Cox
A blog, newsletter and podcast for the craft and business of writing,

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

La Bloga

La Bloga

Chicana, Chicano, Latina, Latino, & more. Literature, Writers,

Children's Literature, News, Views & Reviews.

Much broader than Texana and oriented toward California but does contain notable Tejano literature connections.

Front Porch Journal - Literature from Texas State University

A literary journal is offered by Texas State University, Front Porch Journal, now in its 7th volume.

It's diverse

They are proud to announce Front Porch 7, featuring new poems by and video of John Gallaher and video of Mary Gaitskill.

Some Texana is mixed into the mix.

Pure Murder - Corey Mitchell - Interviews

Does Heavy Metal affect a true crime murder writer?
Does that excuse senseless murder?

Read this


It begins
"It is the true story of the brutal murders of two teenage girls, Jennifer Ertman, 14, and Elizabeth Pena, 16, who were abducted, raped, strangled, and stomped to death by a group of six teenage boys in Houston in 1993. The girls were running late for their curfew and decided to take a shortcut through a public park when they stumbled across a gang initiation."
Or read this interview

Diane Palmer is "Fearless" in Fayette, Arkansas

Diane Palmer

"... will sign copies of her new book, “Fearless,” which will be on sale at the event. “Fearless” is set in the wide open spaces of Texas, where secrets still somehow lurk: in the heart of a shy, determined woman … behind the hard, rugged exterior of a DEA agent … and in the dangerous world of drug smuggling. Diana Palmer is a pen name for the writer whose real name is Susan Spaeth Kyle."

Photography on the South Texas Frontier - Shackelfor

Photography on the South Texas Frontier:

Images from the Witte Collection.

By Bruce M. Shackelford.

San Antonio: Maverick Publishing Co., 2007.

112 pages, hardcover, 10 x 10 inches, 80 illustrations ISBN 978-1-893271-45-6 Jacketed, covered by, and with endpapers of brown tones. $38.95

Shackelford has curated several exhibits for the well known Witte in San Antonio. Here he’s selected almost a hundred of the vintage South Texas Collection. Most date about the turn of 1900 or before, with some later from the late Jack Specht photographs. The collection is refreshing – settings and poses. Most of the works are period soft brown and shades of white. But some few are in color, and some were hand colored afterwards. The reader / viewer will turn the page slowly, enjoying the frontier / travel / worksite / play scenes / formal posing / reunions / and diverse ethnic and economic groups.

One is a daguerreotype of 1849.

Dobie, sitting, leaning against a tree trunk, barbed wire fence, near a spiny cactus, isn’t so old.

Seldom Heard - Dian Malouf

Seldom Heard:

Ranchers, Ranchos & Rumors of the South Texas Brush Country.

Text and photos captured or collected by Dian L. Malouf.

Preface by Lady Bird Johnson; foreword by Liz Carpenter.

Hillsboro, Oregon: Beyond Words Pub., 2005. Hbk, 196 pages, many b&w photos, map, bibliog. ISBN 978-1-5827-0130-1 Price $39.95 Hardcover, $125.00 Signed with Slipcase First Edition, $250.00 Leather bound Limited Edition Dian Malouf gracefully shares a portion of the South Texas Brush Country that she loves – the ranchers, the roundups, the land. In 26 chapterlettes the authenticity, dignity, and even the humor of the folks inform the reader to turn the pages slowly.

These photos and words are worth your time. The happiest photos are of Bob Reagan, an occasional horse and daughter trainer. The horses crossing the Colorado River to Matagorda are a wonderful visual spread. Malouf’s text is simple, elegant, and attractive, drawing at times on conversation, knowledge, and memory. Mainly Malouf gives you a way of life distant from modern superficiality and closer to life worth living.

Mary Katy Withers, had, at publication, been ranching for 76 years; she’s withstood any discouraging word.

Picturing a Different West - Janis Stout

Picturing a Different West:

Vision, Illustration, and the Tradition of Cather and Austin.

By Janis P. Stout. Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press, 2007. 352 pages. 7 b/w photos, 69 b/w images, notes, and bibliog. ISBN 089672610X $40.00 Texas A & M University scholar, Janis Stout, offers students of alternative literary and art history the opportunity to find an absorbing exploration of Mary H. Austin and Willa Cather and by extension both women and the American experience.It’s a window to Western topography for understanding rather than its immediate use in the usual male stereotype of physical exploitation. Austin’s and Cather’s perception of the West was indirect by their seeing of printed illustrative matter and indirectly by their direct, first-hand sight.

Their mental processing, their own written narrative describing the environment, and their influences on illustrator selection, the actual illustrations, and page design all “informed a new literary tradition – that of an ungendered American West … not feminine so much as androgynous.”Here, Stout sees the West as a physical place rather than a geopolitical condition. She finds three important focal points:·

1) Austin and Cather’s personal experience of the West·

2) Art and illustration in the book-making experience·

3) Their revision of gender assumptions

For this volume Stout’s stimulation rose from her recognition of similarities of illustrations in Austin’s Land of Little Rain and Cather’s My Antonia. From there, she draws on many titles and dozens of authors.

Among the principals are the elders Elsie Clews Parsons, Mabel Dodge Luhan, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Laura Gilpin, and the newer hands Leslie Marmon Silko, Margaret Randall and Barbara Byers. Stout clarifies that women see and do things differently, although not all the time.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Book of Photographs from Lonesome Dove - Bill Wittliff

A Book of Photographs from Lonesome Dove.

By Bill Wittliff, foreword by Larry McMurtry, and introduction by Stephen Harrigan.

Austin: University of Texas Press, 2007. 188 pages, large, hardback book, 112 large, sumptuous brown-tone photographs. ISBN 978-0-292-71311-6 $45.00

How does one photograph a cultural benchmark? Get an artist who understands it. Larry McMurtry’s 1985 best-selling novel took a Pulitzer Prize, etc., and Wittliff’s screenplay, miniseries version took 7 Emmy’s, 2 Golden Globes, etc. Here Wittliff’s long sharpened photographic sensibilities cover the movie’s making – from Robert Duval and Tommy Lee Jones onto the land itself. An intelligent and graceful spaciousness has been Wittliff’s hallmark of artistry from his early days of design at the SMU Press, into his Encino Press, and onto the screen.
La Vida Brinca and Vaquero: Genesis of the Texas Cowboy are earlier photographic works of Wittliff. You might as well put them on the coffee table with this Dove. You’ll want to keep them viewed but unsoiled.

Nix Houses - Roy Pacheacano

The Nix Houses:

Innovation and Style in Texas’ Oldest Historic District.

By Roy R. Pachecano. Foreword by Felix Almaraz.

San Antonio: Watercress Press, 1007. 6 x 9, cloth with slipcase, 152 pages, photos, plans, drawings, facsimiles, notes, bibliog. ISBN-13: 978-0-934955-71-3 $25.00

According to Pachecano, the eventually prominent South Texas architect Atlee Ayres’ first two works were the Colonial Revival houses for the Nix family in San Antonio’s downtown King William’s District. The works are “some of the first examples of the New England-style frame homes in South Texas.” Built in 1899 as part of the City Beautiful Movement, the houses’ simplified presentation contrasted with the previously popular complex Victorian style domiciles. In addition to the usually architectural explication, Pachecano supplies the finances of the deal and related social, economic, and political history. The architecture exemplifies social and economic change. The 2005 restoration was very “green.”

It Happened in Texas - Crutchfield

It Happened in Texas, 2nd edition.

By James A. Crutchfield.

Guilford, Conn: Two Dot / Globe Pequot Press, 2007. pbk map, bibliog., index ISBN 0-7627-4569-X $12.95

These 33 interesting episodes of history begin in prehistory and continue to 1993. Most are the usual quarrelsome or violent stories of a nation or state in development. Most before 1866 are the stock stories, but those after are refreshing, more likely unknown to the casual historian. For instance, there’s the 1966 “March of the Melon Pickers,” and the 1993 “Showdown in Waco.”

The less violent tend to be stories related to women, like actress Sarah Bernhardt’s 1892 and 1906 tours and the 1967 story about Barbara Jordan taking her seat. And there’s the humorous 1891 rainmaking.

It would be nice if Crutchfield would compile a volume solely devoted to the 20th century.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Strange, Unusual & Bizarre Newspaper Stories

Hidden Headlines of Texas:

Strange, Unusual & Bizarre Newspaper Stories,


Researched and compiled by Chad Lewis, foreword by Nick Redfern.

Eau Claire, WI: Unexplained Research Pub. Co., 2007. pbk $14.95 170 pages

It’s a fact that monstrosities, wild creatures, freaks, old corpses, floating ghosts, peculiar deaths, medical anomalies, UFO’s and a few other things, unlike the previously mentioned, that are just plain weird are described in the short, re-printed newspaper stories. They are from over a hundred different towns’ journalism pages. Is your town one of them? For small towns, Bonham, Paris, and Hillsboro seem especially prone to oddities. Maybe that explains a few things I’d rather not discuss.

Texas Land of Legends - Bill Cannon

Texas: Land of Legends and Lore.

By Bill Cannon.

Lanham, MD: Republic of Texas Press / Taylor Trade / Rowman & Littlefield Pub. Group (dist by National Book Network), 2004. 216 pages, pbk, photos. $22.95 ISBN ISBN-13: 9781556229497

Cannon’s 100 historical anecdotes, legends, and folklore pieces are short (1 paragraph to 3 pages) and quite consumable. Some is the expected fodder, but most will be rather fresh to the usual reader. Here you find Three-Legged Williamson resting next to Bessie Coleman, the pioneer African American aviatrix and Barbara Jordan, known to all. It’s not secret, but here’s a version of how Box 13 was stolen for LBJ in 1948. The plains of Ector County reminded the early settlers of Russia, so you get the town of Odessa. Did Crockett’s “Old Betsy” come to Texas, or was it just too new fangled for tough Texas?

Best Houston Sports Arguments - Jose de Jesus Ortiz

The Best Houston Sports Arguments:
The 100
most controversial, debatable questions for die-hard sports fans.
By Jose de Jesus Ortiz. Naperville, Ill: Source Books, 2007. pbk, author portrait, index
ISBN: 9781402210891

On the assumption that Houstonians talk about local sports, this will settle and start countless important points for questions such as:
What was the most magical performance in Houston sports history? What should we do with the Astrodome? What was the biggest post-season homerun? What was the worst move by a general manager? Who are the top 5 basketball players? What really happened at the 1979 Cotton Bowl? What was UH’s best year? All rather simple things.

Chick Magnates - George Arnold

Chick Magnates, Ayatollean Televangelist, & A Pig Farmer’s Beef:

Inside the Sometimes Hilarious World of Advertising.

By George Arnold.

Waco: Eakin Press, 2007. 201 pages, pbk, photos, ISBN 1-934645-19-2 $22.95.
The creative, fun, advertising brains of Texas spill out onto the page via ad-exec George Arnold. Many of the 22 “true” stories are Texas accounts, especially around Dallas. Think Christian Broadcasting Network meets Jimmy Dean sausage meets Bo Pilgrim chicken meets “Bum” Bright and you’re got some scenarios. Oh, oh, and there’s the Robert Redford connection. To round out Arnold’s mentorship of budding pitchmen and pitchwomen, each story ends with a 4-point learning curve. If you think there’s a little creative spin here, well, I do declare! Not in Texas!

Lad Moore of East Texas - Circus roustabout and wordsman

Leo Moore moved from Marshall

and now lives in Jefferson. The many intervening years were filled with richness. His essay on his adolescent circus days in "Murder-By-4" is touched by lightsome, elegaic, and realist tones. Seems he'd be a good fellow with which to share a Bayou LeMarche stroll or a slice of pie.

Find Lad's flying father, in the "Bonham Blaster" at

And there's his blog "Derimacasi Cumbali: RUMINATING: (roo'ma-na-ting)*verb: (1.) To consider a matter at length (2.) Chewing of a cud. regurgitate from a divided stomach"

His two short story collections are "Odie Dodie" and "Tailwind."

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Road - McCarthy

Somer, who is "just a girl who likes to read. A lot. I'm also a mom, a wife, and a librarian" of Texas gives a casual review of The Road."

She right about all the big words, but most of us are too shy to say so.

Saturday, June 7, 2008


"What is ProPublica?"

Do you wish to improve Texas news?

"ProPublica is an independent, non-profit newsroom that will produce investigative journalism in the public interest. Our work will focus exclusively on truly important stories, stories with "moral force." We will do this by producing journalism that shines a light on exploitation of the weak by the strong and on the failures of those with power to vindicate the trust placed in them. "
Some Dallas journalists are joining:
"New York, NY (June 5, 2008)— ProPublica, a non-profit newsroom producing journalism in the public interest, today announced seven more additions to its news staff. Robin Fields, formerly an investigative reporter at the Los Angeles Times, is a senior reporter at ProPublica. Jennifer LaFleur of the Dallas Morning News will be director of computer-assisted reporting. Jake Bernstein of The Texas Observer, Michael Grabell of the Dallas Morning News, Paul Kiel of TPMmuckraker and A.C. Thompson are joining ProPublica as reporters. Krista Kjellman, associate producer in the investigative unit of ABC News, is joining ProPublica as a web producer. "

While this is intended as a national organ, it'll be interesting if they bring focus to Texas, the land just east of Eden.

Dallas' FRONTBURNER demurrs otherwise

DMN Staffers Join Worst-Named Journalism Project In History

Sweet and the Dead - Milton T. Burton

The review begins

Book Review: The Sweet And The Dead by Milton T. Burton
Posted on June 7th, 2008 by Kevin Tipple

"Tyler, Texas Author Milton T. Burton distinguished himself with the powerful debut novel “The Rogues’ Game.” Unlike many authors, there is no slump in his stand alone second novel titled “The Sweet And The Dead.” The mystery is complex, the writing is superb, and the read is wonderful.
As the novel opens, it is the fall of 1970 and Manfred Eugene “Hog” Webern is deep undercover in Biloxi, Mississippi. Hog is a retired Dallas County Deputy Sheriff, a good man, and a damn good cop despite the word on the street."

Read more about it.

[Oh, and, Mike, there's a Texas Ranger]

University of Texas Trivia Book - Margaret Berry

The University of Texas Trivia Book.

By Margaret C. Berry, foreword by De Loss Dodds. Athens, GA: Hill Street Press, 2007. pbk. 152 pages $10.95

Another Margaret Berry production on UT. She knows the rocks and the details.

Over 500 bits and pieces of trivia and quotations in seven chapters: Student Life and Traditions / Faculty / Alumni / Founders and Leaders / Town and Gown / Campus / Longhorn Sports. What direction do the “river” and “tree” streets run? What do Sweat Palm and Heman Swante have in common? How tall’s the UT tower? What’s MoPac? Is Eeyore’s Birthday Party on Sixth Street? What did Kelsey A. Douglass want in 1837?

You Know You're in Texas - Donna Ingham

You Know You’re in Texas When

….101 Quintessential Places, People, Events, Customs, Lingo, and Eats of the Lone Star State.

By Donna Ingham.

Guilford, Conn.: Insider’s Guides / Globe Pequot Press, 2007. pbk 103 pages ISBN 0-7627-3811-1 $9.95 Designed in pleasing shades of blue, with a boot and stars on the cover.

I have favorites. Armadillos cross roads more often than chickens. Dale Evans’ “Happy Trails” is on your iPod. Lonesome Dove is not a bird. It’s alright to boast and feel independent. Each page carries an extra tidbit, e.g., tumbleweeds are recent Russian emigrants. Altogether, a pleasant reading and handling experience.

Bisquits O'Bryan - Monte Jones

Bisquits O’Bryan: Texas Storyteller.

By Monte Jones; foreword by Rich Smith.

Abilene: State House Press / McWhiney Foundation, 2005. 102 pages small, squarish 5x7 hardback, 8 b & w photos. ISBN 1-880510-91-X. $18.95

Aside from his preaching duties at the Sonora Episcopal church, Monte Jones, aka Bisquits O”Bryan, was known to audible perambulations without strident encouragement.

The drama degree didn’t hurt. Then he found his alternate life at the Covered Wagon Stage where Bisquits opines on his work at the I.O. Everybody Ranch. Jones received the 2003 Will Rogers Award from Academy of Western Artists. So, all in all, this little collection of virtual truths of childish and adultish behavior projected through the West Texas Sonoran lens brings humor in tow.

The 18 tales include playing with fire, playing with electricity, real horror at the movies, a first hair cut, skinny-dipping, and other life experiences of near truth.

Getting Mother's Body - Susan-Lori Parks

Susan-Lori Parks acknowledges West Texas
VG: Voices from the Gaps: Women Artists and Writers of Color, An International Website

“In 2003, [Susan-Lori] Parks returned to fiction writing, publishing her first novel, Getting Mother's Body. A twist on Faulkner's As I Lay Dying, the novel follows the quest of a pregnant teenager who sets off with a small group of accomplices for Arizona, where she plans to exhume her mother's body in order to retrieve the jewels supposedly hidden in the coffin. She is pursued by her mother's former lover, who vows to keep her promise that the jewels remain with the body.
Parks says that the novel and its characters are grounded in the landscape of West Texas, where she had lived during her father's army days: "I love the big sky and arid landscape of that place. The characters came out of that landscape and the story came out of those characters. Then there was Faulkner's novel, which I had read eight years before" (Marshall).”

Ambush at Mustang Canyon - Mike Kearby

Ambush at Mustang Canyon. By Mike Kearby.

Austin: Trail’s End Books, 2007. pbk 196 pages. ISBN 0-9788422-0-0 / 978-0-9788422-0-8.
Kearby, former English teacher concludes this third and last installment of the Free Anderson / Parks Scott story as he continues the friendship of the former Civil War soldiers, Free Parks, the ex-slave, and Parks Scott, his white friend, on the West Texas and Panhandle plains.

It’s 1874 and Free continues his vocation as a mustanger with his family, but here Free and Parks get entangled in the Kiowa, Comanche, and Cheyenne Indians’ struggle to keep their lands and their buffalo, with the admixture of Billy Dixon, Mexican hunters and the U.S. Army. The fast-paced novel continues the harsh reality of the times, while splicing in loyalty, family ties, and sensitivity of folks of different origins.

The plot focuses around the famous Battle of Adobe Walls, virtually the last major violent settler-Native American encounter in Texas. While many readers will not think of it, the trilogy is also an excellent selection for teenage or YA readers.

Kearby’s earlier works have attracted attention and have been picked up by Dorchester / Leisure Books for 2008! The trilogy would be good in school libraries. (Did you read the lead article in this issue?)

Dissertations and Theses of 2006

Dissertations and Theses about Texas Academic Year 2006:
Titles from a Score of Schools

Compiled and Edited by Will Howard
(Electronic Monograph Series # 4)
(First distribution was a supplementary file to Will’s Texana Monthly October 2007)
Houston: Will’s Texana, 2007

Its "Introduction" reads:

We have selected about 150 from several hundred tagged with the “Texas” word
which brings up DT’s using that word in its various descriptions, including if it happens
to be produced by an institution whose name includes the word “Texas” regardless of
topic. Certainly many more can be found that did not use the keyword “Texas” in their
titles or abstracts. To augment this list, a dozen city names were searched, as well as a
dozen college names, rivers, and other serendipitous selections. Others can search using
whatever words may be interesting.
The selected works are either focused on social elements of modern times or on
historical topics. Some works of fiction or poetry are included. Most technical reports of
the science, business, and the educational realms were excluded.
Traditionally, dissertations and thesis are collected by ProQuest Digital
Dissertations and made available in a variety of formats, paper (loose sheets, under
paperback binding, hardback binding), at one time in microform, and now in electric
format. Their web site at offers this salutation,
“Welcome to ProQuest Digital Dissertations! As a visitor, you will be able to freely
access the most current two years of citations and abstracts in the Dissertation Abstracts
database. To search the entire database of more than 1.6 million titles, you will need to
connect from a subscription institution.” College or public libraries near you may have a
subscription. Researchers should bear in mind that not all colleges report their academic
papers to ProQuest, and that retrospective holdings are not infrequently not yet reported.
The database of WorldCat also contains many academic works at
with significant overlap with ProQuest. College library catalogs are becoming more
adaptive to isolating on DT’s. See also the separate column on “The DT’s” in Will’s
Texana Monthly.
Schools provide their information to ProQuest at their own schedules. The
present list was collected near the end of 2006. At the end of 2006, UT reported about
600 on all topics. Texas Tech University showed no reported titles, but some were added
from elsewhere. As 2007 advances, certainly new 2006 titles will be added by several
Some annotations are provided, often quotations from the abstracts.
Go to ProQuest or other options to acquire copies of the works, not WT.
If you wish to receive the full e-publication, let us know.
Will Howard, Will’s Texana
12618 Ashcroft, Houston, 77035, 713-728-1981,

Mike Cox on Recent Crop of Texas Ranger Books

Mike Cox,

author of a new Ranger history (The Texas Rangers: Wearing the Cinco Peso, 1821-1900 by Mike Cox. (New York: Forge Books, 496 pages, $25.95 )) comments in his own blog "Lone Star Book Blog" on a collection of other very recent other Ranger volumes.
Read his "Roundin' Up Ranger Books" for insightful comments and fuller bibliographical citations.

Some titles that Mike identifies are:

Lawmen on the Texas Frontier: Rangers and Sheriffs by Candice DuCoin.

Captain J.A. Brooks Texas Ranger by Paul N. Spellman.

Unbridled Cowboy: Joseph B. Fussell, edited by E.R. Fussell.

Captain Ransom, Texas Ranger: An American Hero, 1874-1918 by Pat Goodrich.

Law on the Last Frontier: Texas Ranger Arthur Hill by S.E. Spinks.

One Ranger Returns by Joaquin Jackson with James L. Haley.

Lone Star Lawmen: The Second Century of the Texas Rangers by Robert Utley.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Guyaholic - Carolyn Mackler


By Carolyn Mackler.
Candlewick. $16.99.

Not really Texana, does include a disappointing, absent mother who lives in Texas. The NY teenager sets out to get to Texas. She thinks about boys. Who’d’a guessed!

Juan Seguin - Robert Hollmann

Juan Seguin.

By Robert Hollmann.

Durban House, 2007. Frontier Legends Series. Paperback, 112 pages. ISBN 1-9300754-95-7

This Hollmann,, volume follows his Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie. Seguin was indeed one of the essential people in his time. Unlike his previous time-trunk and friendly dog companion, Hollmann uses a more direct device – a life-long friend of Seguin to provide the framework of the biography. And as a childish extra, Hollmannn injects the juvenile competitiveness for racing as a recurring option. The reader is introduced to Seguin’s family, long established in Texas, and within pages finds Seguin meeting Stephen Austin and a line of colonial notables important to the Texas Revolution.

Seguin and his associates are concerned about Santa Anna’s aggressive manner and throw in with the developing stronger democratic tradition of the times, unlike the Seguin family’s support of the counter-revolution against Las Casas in 1811. Bowie becomes one of the favorites because of his ties to San Antonio and his marriage into the Veramendi family. Seguin commands the scouts looking for Santa Anna’s arrival.

Eventually, his men become a part of the Alamo garrison, but he is detailed specifically as messenger to Sam Houston and is ultimately spared from the Alamo soldiery’s bloodbath. But Seguin continues on to become an officer at the Battle of San Jacinto after convincing Houston that his Tejano troops have earned the right to battle. After the battle, Houston asks Seguin to superintend the burial of the Alamo defenders.

The volume ends there without reference to his government service thereafter or the later tragedy of Seguin’s demise partly due to prejudice. Seguin died in 1890.

Guide to Houston Day Camps

The Summer Book, 2007:

A guide to Houston Day Camps and Classes for Kids and Teens.

Houston: Gish Creative, 2007. 154 pages, paperback, spiral bound. A few ads $12.95 ISBN 0-9728507-4-0

Yes, summer is gone. All the better reasons for Houstonians packing children to get this volume now, planning is the only thing that saves you from summerkiditis. Most of the book is an alphabetically arranged, annotated directory (including costs) of about 200 institutions / organizations with programs of care and enrichment for the summer of 2007.

It is appended with two useful indexes. One is by the calendar, i.e., what camps / classes occur what week. The other index is by category: art, educational, full day, other, religious, free camps/classes (only 6), special needs, sports, and teens. Another list is “Drop-ins,” “ organizations that offer drop-in or at-home activities for kids.”

The final 7 pages constitute a chart for the organizations and for each their primary climate, area of town, age range, and length (full or half day.) In 2107, our children’s children’s children will notice the options they once had. One wonders what 2107 will hold for our children.

In Marshall of the 1950’s, we had summer school for the slow and the fast, Scout camp, church camp, Little League and Mormon softball, horse classes, and that mysterious girls’ camp near Jefferson; otherwise we ran free – in the Woods, the Vines, the Pits, up and down the Hills, at the Pond, in the Branch, at the Park – doing things not always reportable to grown ups. Get on the mailing list for next year and civilize your wild one.

Ride the Desperate Trail - Mike Kearby

Ride the Desperate Trail.
By Mike Kearby.

Austin: Trail’s End Books, 2007. pbk 192 pages, map ISBN 978-0-09788422-7-7

Freeman Anderson and Parks Scott are back after their introduction in The Road to a Hanging, and Lou Halsell Rodenberger describes this second of a Western trilogy as “believable…. With deft characterization and historical accuracy.” This time the despicable Tig Hardy captures Clara, now Free’s wife, and the rescue is off and running. Clean writing and sharp characterization move the reader along. Clara emerges as a full partner, inventive and persistent, as Free and Scott battle the elements and fight their way through desperados, the desert, the mountains, back through El Paso, and finally make peace in the Big Bend winter retreat of the Apaches. It’s rather pleasant that Free is relieved of venting his anger in violence when Tig meets his demise by other hands as “No man escapes his own times.”

Oh, the Hell of It All:

A Memoir.

By Pat Montandon.

NY: HarperCollins, 2007. Illustrated. 353 pp. $25.95. Who’s Pat Montandon? Well, as this preacher’s daughter’s biography recounts she grew up in the 1930s in Texas and Oklahoma, got a job at Neiman-Marcus and then left. She dated Frank Sinatra and she lost a Peace Prize to Elie Wiesel.

Well, a gal could do worse.

First of All, A Wife: Sketches of America’s First Ladies.

By Anne Adams.

Batavia, NY: PC Publications, 2007. e-book 194 pages. $9.99.
Houstonian Anne Adams brings our attention to America’s First Ladies, several pages each of actually interesting reading. But our focus here is Texana. While Julia Dent was secretly engaged to Ulysses Grant, he was sent off to the Texas border, not by Julia but by the military. Mamie Dowd’s family had a winter home at San Antonio a hundred years ago. In 1915 while in that city Mamie met Ike, a lieutenant at the time. Later began the Texas dynasty Claudia Taylor, Barbara Pierce, and Laura Welch. But, if you are wishing to inspire the little girls of your neighborhood, don’t forget that Lou Henry Hoover was an astonishing person; I’ve read her … and she was no Texan.

Cruel Plains - Michael H. Price

The Cruel Plains,

by Michael H. Price and George E. Turner, foreword by Stan Lynde.

Denton: Zone Press, 2007. pbk $15.95 160 pages ISBN 978-09796698-1-1
Over a dozen tales are featured here by these two seasoned journalists, Price and the late Turner. If you think you know Price from the comic and horror scenes, you do: The tales start early, like in the dinosaur period, followed by the coming of the native Americans, and come all the way John Wayne being inspired by Tex Thornton for the movie Hellfighters. These stories are meant to be interesting reading and they are. You’ve got phantoms, ghosts, murders, and mayhem. If the Texas plains seem dull to you, pick up this volume. Halloween may be just the right time. (Thanks to Randy at Zone for the copy.)

Rescuring Family Records - David Carmichael

Rescuing Family Records: A Disaster Planning Guide.

By David Carmicheal. Iowa City, Iowa: Council of State Archivists, 2007. 24 pages 8 ½ x 11, $10.00 paperback, see at
Available in time for American Archives Month (October) and Family History Month (October). Do you have a birth certificate, diploma, marriage license and deed or driver’s license, death certificate? To help families prepare for potential disaster, the Council of State Archivists (CoSA) provide this useful guide. The manual categorizes the records and suggests appropriate methods of duplicating the records that protect a family's finances, health, civil rights, and family history. It includes a checklist of records and even discusses whether you should have some documents certified before a crisis. The booklet, with its chart of disposition, is clearly intended to be used and kept by families to safeguard their future.

At this affordable price (add $3 for shipment), it’s a good pamphlet to have around the house if you can’t get a copy at the library. If they don’t have one, suggest it.
To order, visit

Texas War of Independence - Alan Huffines

The Texas War of Independence, 1835-1836:

From Outbreak to the Alamo to San Jacinto.

By Alan C. Huffines. Oxford, England and New York: Osprey Publishing / Random House, 2005. Maps, photos and illus, bibliog., index.
Paperback; 96 pages; ISBN: 9781841765228, US Price: $14.95, UK Price: £9.99, Canadian Price: $21.00

Huffines has studied, served in the military, written Blood of Noble Men: The Alamo Siege and Battle and articles, and consulted on the recent Alamo movie, the one with Dennis and Billy Bob. Here he provides a summary of the Revolution. The volume is loaded with graphics. Huffines begins with Hidalgo Revolution of 1810 but places the 1836 revolt in context: Texas was never really Spanish, only claimed and sparsely settled; it was still the northern Protestants against the southern Catholics; it’s England and Spain. But leaving all that behind he continues noting the troubled Mexican stability and nascent democratic principles until Santa Anna effects his dictatorship. The author makes a readable narrative of the usual story, but two things also stand out. One is the inserted chapter on Col. Juan Almonte, son of revolutionary Morelos, the 1834 inspector, and Santa Anna’s Chief of Staff; it’s good to drop into a bit of relative depth on the Mexican side. The other is the abundance and quality of illustrations, often large and in color; and they may take up half the space, leaving the remaining 50 pages a brisk read. The summary could also serve as supplementary reading for 7th graders.

Land, the Law, and the Lord - Dorothy Blodgett

The Land, the Law, and the Lord:

The Life of Pat Neff:

Governor of Texas, 1921-1925,

President of Baylor University, 1932-1947.

By Dorothy Blodgett, Terrell Blodgett, and David L. Scott. Foreword by Ann Richards. Austin: Home Place Publishers (POB 13062, zip 78711), 2007. Hardback, covered with dark green cloth carrying gold lettering on the spine and front, and protected by a thick, golden colored dust jacket, 383 pages. Notes, bibliog, index. $27.95 ISBN 978-0-9761152-2-9

Pat Morris Neff (1871-1952) did more than fight Demon Rum and live a personally righteous life. Rising from a dirt farm, he placed the highway system in a top priority, planted the seeds of our parks system, appointed women to office, fought the Klan, and attempted reform of our prison system. Thereafter he chaired the Railroad Commission and steered Baylor toward stability during the Depression, through the War to its centennial. The late Dorothy Blodgett’s years of research are augmented by Terrell and David. Over 50 pages are consumed by the footnotes and 20 pages are consumed by the bibliography.

This first and only full biographical treatment of the visionary Texan is exciting and worthwhile, written by admiring hands on a landmark governor. The volume may spark further inquiry into Texas’ early 20th century humane qualities.

See also the recent work: Guided with a steady hand: the cultural landscape of a rural Texas park / by Dan K. Utley and James W. Steely. Baylor University Press, 1998. [electronic resource] – The most interesting older work may be his own: Making Texans: five minute declamations / by Pat M. Neff. Austin: Gammel's Books Store, 1931.

Blue Bell Ice Cream - Dorothy MacInerney

Blue Bell Ice Cream:

A Century at the Little Creamery in Brenham,

Texas 1907–2007,

by Dorothy McLeod MacInerney. College Station: TAMU Press, 2007. ISBN 978-1-58544-594-3 (1-58544-594-0), cloth, $19.95, 10 1/2x10 1/2. 152 pp., 90 photos (color and b&w). 28 drawings, 2 paintings, 1 map, 3 line art. 2 charts.

MacInerney, used her academic tools to spoon her way through Blue Bell’s archives, and you’ll find her serving delicious. Now a hundred years old, the "Little Creamery in Brenham" is the unofficial ice cream of Texas. Here you’ll find the stories of the people, ideas, the technology, and, yes, the famous Jersey cows. The German heritage Kruze family has moo’ed their way into the top echelons of national sales and for good reason. You’ll enjoy the volume on Texas culinary history, social and cultural life, and keen business instincts to boot. I enjoyed buckets of Tin Roof and Southern Blackberry Cobbler while reading, but you may differ.

Texas Book - Richard Holland

The Texas Book:

Profiles, History, and Reminiscences of the University,

Edited by Richard A. Holland. Austin: UT Press, 2006. 8.5 x 11 in. 272 pp., 71 b&w illus., 8 pp. color section, ISBN: 978-0-292-71429-8 $29.95, hardcover with dust jacket.

Richard Holland, bibliographer and Honors lecturer, declares that UT at its 125th anniversary “can justly claim to be a ‘university of the first class.’" Don Carleton, Director of the Center for American History (now including the Barker), declares "This is the first book of its kind in UT's 125-year history," and the "essays depict the University's defining moments while poignantly capturing the spirit of the campus.” They are correct, despite their vestedness.
These collected essays, some old, some new, reveal hallmark persons and incidents in the stairway toward excellence. But then, I’ve orange blood as well.
I turned the bright white pages of the volume and smoothly ran my hand across the pages for pleasure. For me the most intriguing essay, by Richard Oram, backgrounds Harry Ransom’s foundation of the great collection he amassed. Although Oram’s essay dwells on Ransom’s mid-1950’s pursuit of the older classics, especially the T.E. Hanley collection, a part of Ransom’s strategy included the deliberate effort to collect the new. Ransom once shared this with me while we rode the elevator and reflected over the HRC’s corner fountains. Ransom’s “modern titles” approach bent this young library science student to define his several ventures in Texana. These ventures included the SWLA’s task force for recommended children’s books, the index to TSLAC’s monthly checklist of state publications, the establishment of the Texas Bibliographical Society’s Texas Current Bibiliography and Index, and ultimately even Will’s Texana Monthly. Such was the influence exposed to the 40-acres students not available elsewhere.
The Texas Book baskets for you history, reminiscences, and anecdotes on or by G.W. Brackenridge, G.W. Littlefield, Robert Vinson, Frank Dobie, Frank Erwin, Américo Paredes, Barbara Jordan, Walter Webb, Willie Morris, Betty Sue Flowers and others.

Mariposa - Candice Coffee

Book notes and author interview on the novel Mariposa, set in West Texas.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Jim Bowie - Robert E. Hollmann

Jim Bowie.

By Robert E. Hollmann.

Dallas: Durban House Publishing, 2006. Frontier Legends Series. 115 pp. pbk ISBN 1-930754-81-7 $9.95
Odessan Hollmann,, follows up his Davy Crockett with this very readable biography of equally famous Texas adventures of Jim Bowie.

The device to introduce the young reader to Bowie is Bowie’s own dog, Gator, named so for a gator fight. Years after Bowie has died at the Alamo, Gator reminiscences for his young pups about his life with the frontiersman. The text moves right along, from a dog’s point of view. Hollmann again brings his young readers to a personal level of the subject, this time Bowie, by Gator’s inclusion of personal matters including Bowie’s first meeting with and the later loss of his wife, Ursula Veramendi, daughter of the former governor of Coahuila y Tejas. From the origin of the keen edged Bowie knife on to the fall of the Alamo, Gator and Bowie, the narrative clips along with little underbrush to slow down the young reader. There are glancing encounters with Austin, Houston, Milam, Travis, Neill, and others as.

Hollmann does introduce youngsters to Bowie’s part in the Battle of Nacogdoches in 1832, but the story line thereafter is mainly the Revolution. Bowie’s relationship with Crockett is emphasized.

Teaching Texas History - David C. DeBoe

Teaching Texas History:
An All-Level Resource Guide,
2nd Revised Edition.
By David C. De Boe.
Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1996. ISBN 0-87611-091-X. 8 1/2 x 11 in., vii + 153 pp. Paper, $15.95 TSHA Member's price, $12.76

This plain looking, gray, spiral bound volume plainly ought to be in about every public library system and college library of a general nature in Texas, to say nothing of the public schools, even though it is 10 years old. Now that’s a big statement, but the volume is simply packed with Texana sources for the youngsters and teaching material for the adults. TSHA in its usual fine commitment to public education has recently arranged the printing a few more copies courtesy of the Houston Chronicle, so quit piddling around and get a copy. Its official focus is on history and geography, but it really goes further.

Aside from the many formats addressed from atlases to periodicals to posters to Spanish language material to videos and more, DeBoe made sure that Barbara Immroth, editor of Texas in Children’s Books, 1986, assisted in compiling the “Juvenile Books” section (pages 87 to120) which includes fiction. All total, there may be 500 annotated titles through the volume. Yes, the 2-pager on internet resources, which is little more than a recommendation to the still good Armadillo Gopher, is in retrospect demonstrates just what has happened in the last decade. Acquiring and using this volume can invigorate yourself or your collection and provide an excellent baseline for collecting. While some of the purchase prices may be out of date, much of the free material may still be.

The reign of successful juvenile Texana can rise from this volume’s paper planes.

Evacuation Plans - Joe O'Connell

Evacuation Plan:
A Novel from the Hospice.

Joe M. O’Connell. Foreword by Joe Holley. Austin: Dalton Publishing, 2007. 192 Pages, Paperback, ISBN 978-0-9740703-8-4 $13.95

Joe O’Connell’s short works have The G.W. Review, Other Voice, Confrontation, Lullwater Review and many other journals. He’s taken first prize at both the Deep South Writers Conference and in the Louzelle Rose Barclay Awards. Now he teaches at St. Edward’s University and Austin Community College. In the Evacuation Plan, Matt, a fledgling screenwriter, finds himself as a volunteer working with the terminally ill in search of his next movie. Everyone there is, of course, evacuating, and Matt finds the intimacy and serendipity in such cases. The volume proceeds in an episodic fashion or the “novel-in-stories style.” As you go with him from bed, to wheel chair, to hallway the personal stories unfold. The broken, the hopeful, the frustrated, the clueless, and the forgiving touch one another with words, remembrances, and hands.

Inevitably, readers will quietly wonder about their own evacuation plan. Will yours include a Hawaiian shirt or Girl Scout Cookies or stories of drunken gambling?

Road to a Hanging - Kearby

The Road to a Hanging.
By Mike Kearby. Austin: Trail’s End Books, 2007. pkb. 188 p. $18.00. ISBN 978-0-9788422-6-0

Elmer Kelton and James Ward Lee have Kearby in their sights and have fired off comments confirming Kearby’s work is an action packed Western. And it is. Kearby, a Mineral Wells native, former school teacher, and holder of irrigation patents, turned to writing and his Texas legacy is clear and he stakes out a fresh path. Freedom Anderson, the principal character, escapes his 1860s slavery as the Civil War rages, joins the Union Army, and, after action at Palmetto and the war’s end, finds his way back to Texas but old racial habits of another war veteran place him on the road to a handing. Freedom finds himself captured by the hatred of the sheriff, subject to false allegations. Parks Scott, Freedom’s pal, hears the news. But will it be too late? Pick up the book and find yourself moving at a fast clip to find out.

It’s good reading. Good values, loyalty, hard work, and daring to boot. The volume is marketed as a YA novel is some quarters, and it is fit for the public school set. (Thanks to publicist Stephanie Barko for the copy.)

Amazing Grace - Spence

Amazing Faith of Texas: Common Ground on Higher Ground.

By Roy Spence with the People of Texas. Stories collected and edited by Mike Blair and photography by Randal Ford. Austin: GSD&M/Idea City Press, 2006. Many color photos. 156 large pages. Pictorial jacket. ISBN 987-0-9722825-2-9 Hardback and black cloth, $24.95.
A photo of a person, a church, temple or synagogue, or natural or urban landscape is on most alternate pages facing a classic quotation or a story by or about a person or congregation or spiritual matter tucked into the folds of Texas. Between the covers you’ll find Methodists, Baptists, Catholics, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Mennonites, other Christians, Native American shaman, Unitarians, Jews, Moslems, Bahi’a advocates, Hindus, Buddhists, and of course the unconventional Texan, according to conventional standards, but God may have other standards.

Ron Conatser, rodeo cowboy and preacher at the Risin Sun Cowboy Church, shares that God “Bought me this dance hall in ’91 and got [me] busy preachin’ the Word of God to whoever walks in the door. We’re a Word church. No denomination. Just a place where people can come just the way they are and worship God. Pretty simple. No red tape.” Pastor Rudy Rasmus explains “Faith is like riding in a car with Ray Charles driving.” Evelyn Romig, from Howard Payne University, muses “I think Jesus looks at us today and says, ‘What did you miss in what I said about loving one another?’” Carlisle Vandervoort, a Hindu in her meditative posture, may agree, “Now I try to see God in everyone. And that’s a real test sometimes.” Houston mayor Bill White recalls that during the Katrina rescue certain passages gave him action, “When I was hungry, you fed me….” Bob Decker, a policeman, recounts “Life is a freeway to God,” and that freeway led him to help the people in the paper houses across the border. Liz Melton goes to the “Church of Nature” to fly fish and watch the sun, the birds, and the ripple of the river, and Anna Huff finds religion in the trees. The most beautiful photo portrait is of Eduardo Salmon, a WWII Vet, and he recalls “I remember sitting in a foxhole in the Ardennes forest. It was freezing. The artillery was crashing all around us; bullets were flying…,” and he later reflects “I don’t understand why it bothers some people that someone may worship differently from them.”

Spence’s volume is divided into three parts, like a three-point sermon maybe: “Common Ground Found in Faith,” “Common Ground Found in the Golden Rule,” and “Common Ground Found in Values.” If you find the book and turn the pages without finding your heart strangely warmed, you’ve got the wrong book.

Yao Ming - Ming and Ric Bucher

YAO: a life in two worlds.

By Yao Ming and Ric Bucher. NY: Hyperion Press / Miramar Books, 2004. pbk 290 pp.

Ric Bucher, of ESPS fame, assists the story of Yao Ming, the 7’5”, now recently married, of the Houston Rockets basketball team. The color photos of Yao’s early life are sure to please. In fact chapter 2 “A Boy in China” may be the most fascinating part of the book. But fans will follow the glowing, though repetitious, workouts, NBA nervousness, racism, butting heads with Shaquille O’Neal, growing maturity, and domestic life. They still love Yao in China, and he tours the CBA. Yao says its not impossible for Houston to win the championship this year! But he’s yet to win his Spurs. May be o.p., try Target.

Know Your Rights - Richard Alderman

Know Your Rights!

answers to Texans' everyday legal questions 7th edition.

By Richard M. Alderman. Lanham, Md: Taylor Trade / Rowman & Littlefield, 2006. pbk ISBN: 1-58979-263-7978-1-58979-263-0 $17.95

Alderman, UH Law Center faculty member and “The People’s Lawyer” for whom q.v. , is a years-long feature on Houston TV, answering legal questions from viewers. He’s articulate and knowledgeable. This popular volume is worth having and reading by those unblessed by a powdered wig. The book is chaptered into 17 parts of your life. His Q & A technique with normal language cuts to the practical hearts with competent text.

Sample questions include: What is pfishing? What happens if the photographer dies? Can my creditor take my IRA? Can my employer search my locker? How long do I have to wait? Do I have to wear a funny uniform? Is my neighbor responsible? How do I collect? What is community property? Fortunately Alderman adds context to the maybe hundreds of questions which he usually answers in less than a page. Sample wills and probate forms are added at the back. Alderman gives us again a useful volume to protect yourself, your family, and your property.

Could be an excellent gift to a young, non-law school graduate. But enjoy reading it first. A good volume to learn rights and responsibilities.

Secret War for Texas - Stuart Reid

The Secret War for Texas.

By Stuart Reid. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2007. 235 pp. Acknowledgements, maps, notes, bibliography, index. $29.95. ISBN 978-1-58544-565-3 (1-58544-565-7) cloth Elma Dill Russell Spencer Series in the West and Southwest

What if the Texas Revolution were not quite the straightforward contest between embattled American farmers and Mexican oppressors that has come down to us in myth?
What if the British plotted for a dozen years to keep Texas out of U.S. hands?
What if a Scottish doctor by the name of James Grant, an elusive figure in the Texas Revolution, had really been a British agent (perhaps one of several) in Mexico to thwart U.S. dreams of building a nation from sea to sea?
What if Grant’s expedition to Matamoros had stopped Santa Anna’s drive into Texas?
What if Grant’s aim in leading the Texan fighters to Matamoros was to turn the revolution away from dependence on the U.S. and toward a greater dependence on the Federalists of northern Mexico.
What if the democratic-minded Mexican Federalists (and others) had formed a Confederacy of the Northern Mexican States & Texas (or the Republic of Greater Texas, or whatever) that covered the whole of what eventually would become the southwestern U.S. as well as northern Mexico?
What if that confederacy happened to encompass most of Mexico’s rich silver mining districts (where Grant happened to own large properties)—not to mention a major port at the mouth of the Rio Grande?
Stuart Reid has masterfully fleshed out the surprising answers to these questions in The Secret War for Texas, a well-documented, well-written book that reads like an espionage thriller. As Grant’s great-great-great grandson, he had access to family papers. As a Scot, he drew on Colonial and Foreign office references in the UK National Archives--plus many Texas and U.S. sources. Reid is a historical consultant to the National Trust for Scotland for the Culloden Moor Memorial Project.
The Secret War for Texas places the Texas Revolution into the context of the “great game,” as Reid puts it, being played out in the first half of the nineteenth century between Washington and London over mastery of the North American continent.
Reid will be a speaker at the San Jacinto Symposium, “Expanding the Horizons of Texas History,” on Saturday, April 19, 2008. The day-long meeting will be held at the University of Houston’s Hilton Hotel & Conference Center. More information is available at
Review by Barbara Eaves, an avocational historian on the San Jacinto Symposium planning committee, serves on the Harris County Historical Commission. She also is a director of Houston History magazine.