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Cowboy Conservatism Cover

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Cowboy Conservatism

Texas and the Rise of the Modern Right

Sean Cunningham

During the 1960s and 1970s, Texas was rocked by a series of political transitions. Despite its century-long heritage of solidly Democratic politics, the state became a Republican stronghold virtually overnight, and by 1980 it was known as “Reagan Country.” Ultimately, Republicans dominated the Texas political landscape, holding all twenty-seven of its elected offices and carrying former governor George W. Bush to his second term as president with more than 61 percent of the Texas vote. Sean P. Cunningham examines the remarkable history of Republican Texas in Cowboy Conservatism: Texas and the Rise of the Modern Right. Utilizing extensive research drawn from the archives of four presidential libraries, gubernatorial papers, local campaign offices, and oral histories, Cunningham presents a compelling narrative of the most notable regional genesis of modern conservatism. Spanning the decades from Kennedy’s assassination to Reagan’s presidency, Cunningham reveals a vivid portrait of modern conservatism in one of the nation’s largest and most politically powerful states. The newest title in the New Directions in Southern History series, Cunningham’s Cowboy Conservatism demonstrates Texas’s distinctive and vital contributions to the transformation of postwar American politics.

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Cowboy Life

Reconstructing an American Myth

By William W. Savage Jr.

First published in 1975 and now in paperback, Cowboy Life continues to be a landmark study on the historical and legendary dimensions of the cowboy. The central figure in American mythology, the cowboy can be seen everywhere: in films, novels, advertisements, TV, sports, and music. Though his image holds little resemblance to the historical cowboy, it is important because it represents many qualities with which Americans identify, including bravery, honor, chivalry, and individualism. Accounts by Joseph G. McCoy, Richard Irving Dodge, Charles A. Siringo, and many others detail the daily trials and tribulations of cowboy life on the southern Great Plains-particularly Texas, Indian Territory, and Kansas-from the 1860s to around 1900. And in a new Afterword, editor William W. Savage, Jr., discusses the directions the cowboy myth has taken in the past two decades, as well as the impact the "new Western history" and films such as Lonesome Dove have had on popular culture.

Cowboys, Cops, Killers, and Ghosts Cover

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Cowboys, Cops, Killers, and Ghosts

Legends and Lore in Texas

Edited by Kenneth L. Untiedt

This Publication of the Texas Folklore Society has something for everyone. The first section features a good bit of occupational lore, including articles on cowboys—both legendary ones and the relatively unknown men who worked their trade day by day wherever they could. You’ll also find a unique, personal look at a famous outlaw and learn about a teacher’s passion for encouraging her students to discover their own family culture, as well as unusual weddings, somewhat questionable ways to fish, and one woman’s love affair with a bull. The backbone of the PTFS series has always been miscellanies—diverse examinations of the many types of lore found throughout Texas and the Southwest. These books offer a glimpse of what goes on at our annual meetings, as the best of the papers presented are frequently selected for our publications. Of course, the presentations are only a part of what the Society does at the meetings, but reading these publications offers insight into our members’ interests in everything from bikers and pioneers of Tejana music to serial killers and simple folk from small-town Texas. These works also suggest the importance of the “telling of the tale,” with an emphasis on oral tradition, as well as some of the customs we share. All of these things together— the focus on tradition at our meetings, the fellowship among members, and the diversity of our research—are what sustain the Texas Folklore Society.

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Cultural Construction of Empire

The U.S. Army in Arizona and New Mexico

Janne Lahti

From 1866 through 1886, the U.S. Army occupied southern Arizona and New Mexico in an attempt to claim it for settlement by Americans. Through a postcolonial lens, Janne Lahti examines the army, its officers, their wives, and the enlisted men as agents of an American empire whose mission was to serve as a group of colonizers engaged in ideological as well as military, conquest.

Cultural Construction of Empire explores the cultural and social representations of Native Americans, Hispanics, and frontiersmen constructed by the officers, enlisted men, and their dependents. By differentiating themselves from these “less civilized” groups, white military settlers engaged various cultural processes and practices to accrue and exercise power over colonized peoples and places for the sake of creating a more “civilized” environment for other settlers. Considering issues of class, place, and white ethnicity, Lahti shows that the army’s construction of empire took place not on the battlefield alone but also in representations of and social interactions in and among colonial places, peoples, settlements, and events, and in the domestic realm and daily life inside the army villages.

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Damming Grand Canyon

The 1923 USGS Colorado River Expedition

Diane E Boyer and Robert H. Webb

In 1923, America paid close attention, via special radio broadcasts, newspaper headlines, and cover stories in popular magazines, as a government party descended the Colorado to survey Grand Canyon. Fifty years after John Wesley Powell's journey, the canyon still had an aura of mystery and extreme danger. At one point, the party was thought lost in a flood.

Something important besides adventure was going on. Led by Claude Birdseye and including colorful characters such as early river-runner Emery Kolb, popular writer Lewis Freeman, and hydraulic engineer Eugene La Rue, the expedition not only made the first accurate survey of the river gorge but sought to decide the canyon's fate. The primary goal was to determine the best places to dam the Grand. With Boulder Dam not yet built, the USGS, especially La Rue, contested with the Bureau of Reclamation over how best to develop the Colorado River. The survey party played a major role in what was known and thought about Grand Canyon.

The authors weave a narrative from the party's firsthand accounts and frame it with a thorough history of water politics and development and the Colorado River. The recommended dams were not built, but the survey both provided base data that stood the test of time and helped define Grand Canyon in the popular imagination.

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The Deadliest Outlaws

The Ketchum Gang and the Wild Bunch, Second Edition

Jeffrey Burton

After Tom Ketchum had been sentenced to death for attempting to hold up a railway train, his attorneys argued that the penalty was “cruel and unusual” for the offense charged. The appeal failed and he became the first individual—and the last—ever to be executed for a crime of this sort. He was hanged in 1901; in a macabre ending to his life of crime, his head was torn away by the rope as he fell from the gallows. Tom Ketchum was born in 1863 on a farm near the fringe of the Texas frontier. At the age of nine, he found himself an orphan and was raised by his older brothers. In his mid-twenties he left home for the life of an itinerant trail driver and ranch hand. He returned to Texas, murdered a man, and fled. Soon afterwards, he and his brother Sam killed two men in New Mexico. A year later, he and two other former cowboys robbed a train in Texas. The career of the Ketchum Gang was under way. In their day, these men were the most daring of their kind, and the most feared. They were accused of crimes that were not theirs, but their proven record is long and lurid. Their downfall was brought about by what one editor called “the magic of the telephone and telegraph,” by quarrels between themselves, and by their reckless defiance of ever-mounting odds. Jeffrey Burton has been researching the story of the Ketchum Gang and related outlaws for more than forty years. He has mined unpublished sources, family records, personal reminiscences, trial transcripts and other court papers, official correspondence and reports, census returns, and contemporary newspapers to sort fact from fiction and provide the definitive truth about Ketchum and numerous other outlaws, including Will Carver, Ben Kilpatrick, and Butch Cassidy.

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Debating American Identity

Southwestern Statehood and Mexican Immigration

Linda C. Noel

In the early 1900s, Teddy Roosevelt, New Mexico governors Miguel Antonio Otero and Octaviano Larrazolo, and Arizona legislator Carl Hayden—along with the voices of less well-known American women and men—promoted very different views on what being an American meant. Their writings and speeches contributed to definitions of American national identity during a tumultuous and dynamic era. At stake in these heated debates was the very meaning of what constituted an American, the political boundaries for the United States, and the legitimacy of cultural diversity in modern America.
    In Debating American Identity, Linda C. Noel examines several nation-defining events—the proposed statehood of Arizona and New Mexico, the creation of a temporary worker program during the First World War, immigration restriction in the 1920s, and the repatriation of immigrants in the early 1930s. Noel uncovers the differing ways in which Americans argued about how newcomers could fit within the nation-state, in terms of assimilation, pluralism, or marginalization, and the significance of class status, race, and culture in determining American identity.
    Noel shows not only how the definition of American was contested, but also how the economic and political power of people of Mexican descent, their desire to incorporate as Americans or not, and the demand for their territory or labor by other Americans played an important part in shaping decisions about statehood and national immigration policies. Debating American Identity skillfully shows how early twentieth century debates over statehood influenced later ones concerning immigration; in doing so, it resonates with current discussions, resulting in a well-timed look at twentieth century citizenship.

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Deep Ellum

The Other Side of Dallas

Alan B. Govenar

Deep Ellum, on the eastern edge of downtown Dallas, retains its character as an alternative to the city’s staid image with loft apartments, art galleries, nightclubs, and tattoo shops. It first sprang up as a ramshackle business district with saloons and variety theatres and evolved, during the early decades of the twentieth century, into a place where the black and white worlds of Dallas converged.

This book strips away layers of myth to illuminate the cultural milieu that spawned such seminal blues and jazz musicians as Blind Lemon Jefferson, Buster Smith, and T-Bone Walker and that was also an incubator for the growth of western swing.

Expanding upon the original 1998 publication, this Texas A&M University Press edition offers new research on Deep Ellum’s vital cross-fertilization of white and black musical styles, many additional rare historical photographs, and an updated account of the area in the early years of the twenty-first century.


Del Pueblo Cover

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Del Pueblo

A History of Houston's Hispanic Community

Thomas H. Kreneck

Though relatively small in number until the latter decades of the nineteenth century, Houston'sHispanic population possesses a rich and varied history that has previously not been readily associated in the popular imagination with Houston. However, in 1989, the first edition of Thomas H. Kreneck’s Del Pueblo vividly captured the depth and breadth of Houston’s Hispanic people, illustrating both the obstacles and the triumphs that characterized this vital community’s rise to prominence during the twentieth century. This new, revised edition of Del Pueblo: A History of Houston’s Hispanic Community updates that vibrant history, incorporating research on trends and changes through the beginning of the new millennium. Especially important in this new edition are Kreneck’s historical contextualization of the 1980s as the “Decade of the Hispanic” and his documentation of other significant developments taking place since the publication of the original edition. Illustrated with seventy-five photographs of significant people, places, and events, this new edition of Del Pueblo: A History of Houston’s Hispanic Community updates the unfolding story of one of the nation’s most influential and dynamic ethnic groups. Students and scholars of Mexican American and Hispanic issues and culture, as well as general readers interested in this important aspect of Houston and regional history, will not want to be without this important book.

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Democratic Renewal and the Mutual Aid Legacy of US Mexicans

Julie Leininger Pycior

The legacy of the historic mutual aid organizing by US Mexicans, with its emphasis on self-help and community solidarity, continues to inform Mexican American activism and subtly influence a number of major US social movements. In Democratic Renewal and the Mutual Aid Legacy of US Mexicans, Julie Leininger Pycior traces the early origins of organizing in the decades following the US-Mexican War, when Mexicans in the Southwest established mutualista associations for their protection. Further, she traces the ways in which these efforts have been invoked by contemporary Latino civil rights leaders.

Pycior notes that the Mexican immigrant associations instrumental in the landmark 2006 immigration reform marches echo mutualista societies at their peak in the 1920s. Then Mexican immigrants from San Diego to New York engaged in economic, medical, cultural, educational, and legal aid. This path-breaking study culminates with an examination of Southwest community organizing networks as crucial counterweights to the outsize role of large financial contributions in the democratic political process. It also finds ways in which this community organizing echoes the activity of mutualista groups in the very same neighborhoods a century ago.

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