Saturday, June 28, 2008
Bill Leftwich - Interview
Give a listen to the podcast at
James Hold - Inteview
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
Linda Francis Lee's Ex-Dubutante.
Read more about it at http://books.arlingtonlibrary.org/2008/06/i-am-native-texan.html
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
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 http://www.bloggernews.net/116438
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
Fire Boys - Charles Page
Red Dirt and Sand Hill Stories
By SHARON KERR Staff writer
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
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 lineand an image of a moused Handbook.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
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Lookin' Back, Texas - Leanna Ellis
Friday, June 20, 2008
"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."
Mike Cox interview - Writers in the Sky
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
2008 Dave Campbell's Texas Football
How Perfect Is That - Sarah Bird - Interview
Read an excerpt on life in Austin
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Front Porch Journal - Literature from Texas State University
fiction + poetry + reviews + nonfiction + av + interviews + about us + submit + links
Pure Murder - Corey Mitchell - Interviews
Diane Palmer is "Fearless" in Fayette, Arkansas
"... 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."
read more at
Photography on the South Texas Frontier - Shackelfor
Seldom Heard - Dian Malouf
Picturing a Different West - Janis Stout
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Book of Photographs from Lonesome Dove - Bill Wittliff
A Book of Photographs from Lonesome Dove.
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
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
Monday, June 9, 2008
Strange, Unusual & Bizarre Newspaper Stories
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
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
ISBN: 9781402210891 http://www.sourcebooks.com
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
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
His two short story collections are "Odie Dodie" and "Tailwind."
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Road - McCarthy
She right about all the big words, but most of us are too shy to say so.
Saturday, June 7, 2008
Do you wish to improve Texas news? http://www.propublica.org/
"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
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."
University of Texas Trivia Book - Margaret Berry
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
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
Aside from his preaching duties at the Sonora Episcopal church, Monte Jones, aka Bisquits O”Bryan, was known to audible perambulations without strident encouragement.
Getting Mother's Body - Susan-Lori Parks
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
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.
Dissertations and Theses of 2006
Dissertations and Theses about Texas Academic Year 2006:
Titles from a Score of Schools
(Electronic Monograph Series # 4)
Houston: Will’s Texana, 2007
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 http://wwwlib.umi.com/dissertations/ 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 http://worldcat.org/
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
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, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike Cox on Recent Crop of Texas Ranger Books
Friday, June 6, 2008
Guyaholic - Carolyn Mackler
By Carolyn Mackler.
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
This Hollmann, http://www.lonestarlegends.org/., 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.
Guide to Houston Day Camps
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.
Ride the Desperate Trail - Mike Kearby
Austin: Trail’s End Books, 2007. pbk 192 pages, map ISBN 978-0-09788422-7-7 http://www.mikekearby.com/
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.”
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
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: http://www.comicmix.com/contributor/michael-h-price-1/ 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
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.
To order, visit http://www.statearchivists.org/shop/rfr-buy.htm.
Texas War of Independence - Alan Huffines
The Texas War of Independence, 1835-1836:
Paperback; 96 pages; ISBN: 9781841765228, US Price: $14.95, UK Price: £9.99, Canadian Price: $21.00
http://www.alanchuffines.com/ http://www.ospreypublishing.com/ http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/
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
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.
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
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
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
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Jim Bowie - Robert E. Hollmann
Odessan Hollmann, http://www.lonestarlegends.org/bio.aspx, follows up his Davy Crockett with this very readable biography of equally famous Texas adventures of Jim Bowie.
Teaching Texas History - David C. DeBoe
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
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.
Road to a Hanging - Kearby
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.
Amazing Grace - Spence
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
By Yao Ming and Ric Bucher. NY: Hyperion Press / Miramar Books, 2004. pbk 290 pp. http://hyperionbooks.com/
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
Alderman, UH Law Center faculty member and “The People’s Lawyer” for whom q.v. http://www.law.uh.edu/faculty/main.asp?PID=1 , 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.
Secret War for Texas - Stuart Reid
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 http://www.tamu.edu/upress/
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 www.friendsofsanjacinto.org
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.
Monday, June 2, 2008
Washed in the Blood - Shelton Williams
Shelton Williams’ account of the 1961 “Kiss and Kill” murder case outside Odessa is presented with a cold eeriness invoking Hitchcockian surrealism. In the first 2-page chapter, teenager Betty, whose desire, invitation, planning, and assistance is clear, is shot in the back of the head at a quiet, sparse oil field by her friend Mack who somehow finds it okay to be her instrument of death.
Kotton, Port, Rail Center - Christopher Varela
By Christopher Varela.
(Houston: Fez Publishing, P.O. Box 12810, Houston, TX 77217-2810, 2004) 238 pages, softback, photographs, index, bibliography, ISBN 978-0-9748060-1-3 $21.00 email@example.com
Radio may be the centennial cradle of the wireless internet umbrella now being installed by the City of Houston.
Varela’s delightful volume covers more than just KRPC that took its call letters from its slogan “Kotton, Port, Rail Center.” He explores the territory from the 1900s through the 1920s. Local sound took flight. Don’t be shocked but conmen cast the first plan for a Texas-wide radio network back around 1906. Others made receivers were made from trash can lids, and kites were used to search for signals. It was also a time of amateur radio operators and inquiring adolescents. Howard Hughes, Sr. encouraged Jr. into radio. Live song and music was as common then as some of the leg-slapping things you find on the internet today. Church choirs and musical clubs were in demand. Physics lectures were common.
During World War I, private use was banned at the threat of treason, but some discrete listening continued. Some applied their skills in the military, aboard ships but most on land. After the war, Houston radio men and women roared with the rest. Regular businesses took to the air waves to tout their wares and entertain. Today’s KPRC and KTRH mark their birth in this time. The interest of Jesse Jones, Bill Hobby, Joseph Cullinan, and Ross Sterling signaled radio was serious business. Classical, jazz, beer garden umpas, and organ recitals streamed into homes.
Varela gives you a very readable text for this exciting era.
Tejano Roots - Dan Arellano
Arellano, a native of San Antonio, used Tejano legends as fuel to study history and to open another part of the American adventure for you - stories often unknown to modern Texans. It is presented in two parts.
Part I covers the “First Texas Revolution” that was sparked by Father Hidalgo’s 1810 Mexican Revolution. The 1811 San Antonio Las Casas overthrow of the Spanish monarchy spread to many sections of the land and held sway for a brief time. The Gutierrez – Magee Expedition followed, being described by Arellano’s accounts of the Battle of Alazan, the establishment of a Republic, and its folding after the August 13, 1813 Battle of Medina, near San Antonio and still without a major historical marker at the site.
Search for Texas - Bobby McKinney
Bobby McKinney has dug up the dirt on Texas, especially the dirt in and around the counties neighboring the lowest Brazos River but as far away as Saltillo, and his book shows you what he and others have found. This includes over 200 photographs of buttons, plates, insignia, ordnance, weapons, and personal effects from both armies and navies and occasional personal and religious relics. Most of the relics, in sharp photos, date from the 1790s to the 1840s with a little oozing on both ends. The earliest seems to be a Jesuit ring of the 1730s found near Victoria. They are intriguing so get a chair when you pick up the volume.