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Dreaming of Sheep in Navajo Country Cover

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Dreaming of Sheep in Navajo Country

by Marsha Weisiger

This fresh interpretation of the history of Navajo (Diné) pastoralism recounts how a dramatic reduction of livestock on the Navajo Reservation in the 1930s, an ambitious attempt by the federal government to eliminate overgrazing on an arid landscape, resulted in a disastrous loss of livelihood for Navajos without significant improvement of the grazing lands.

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Eleven Days in Hell

The 1974 Carrasco Prison Siege at Huntsville, Texas

William T. Harper

From one o’clock on the afternoon of July 24, 1974, until shortly before ten o’clock the night of August 3, eleven days later, one of the longest hostage-taking sieges in the history of the United States took place in Texas’s Huntsville State Prison. The ringleader, Federico (Fred) Gomez Carrasco, the former boss of the largest drug-running operation in south Texas, was serving life for assault with intent to commit murder on a police officer. Using his connections to smuggle guns and ammunition into the prison, and employing the aid of two other inmates, he took eleven prison workers and four inmates hostage in the prison library. Demanding bulletproof helmets and vests, he planned to use the hostages as shields for his escape. Negotiations began immediately with prison warden H. H. Husbands and W. J. Estelle, Jr., Director of the Texas Department of Corrections. The Texas Rangers, the Department of Public Safety, and the FBI arrived to assist as the media descended on Huntsville. When one of the hostages suggested a moving structure of chalkboards padded with law books to absorb bullets, Carrasco agreed to the plan. The captors entered their escape pod with four hostages and secured eight others to the moving barricade. While the target was en route to an armored car, Estelle had his team blast it with fire hoses. In a violent end to the standoff, Carrasco committed suicide, one of his two accomplices was killed (the other later executed), and two hostages were killed by their captors.

Explorers in Eden Cover

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Explorers in Eden

Pueblo Indians and the Promised Land

Jerold S. Auerbach

Explorers in Eden uncovers an intriguing array of diaries, letters, memoirs, photographs, paintings, postcards, advertisements, anthropological field studies, and scholarly monographs. They reveal how Anglo-Americans disenchanted with modern urban industrial society developed a deep and rich fascination with pueblo culture through their biblical associations.

Exploring the Edges of Texas Cover

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Exploring the Edges of Texas

By Walt Davis and Isabel Davis

In 1955, Frank X. Tolbert, a well-known columnist for the Dallas Morning News, circumnavigated Texas with his nine-year-old-son in a Willis Jeep. The column he phoned in to the newspaper about his adventures, "Tolbert's Texas," was a staple of Walt Davis's childhood. Fifty years later, Walt and his wife, Isabel, have re-explored portions of Tolbert’s trek along the boundaries of Texas. The border of Texas is longer than the Amazon River, running through ten distinct ecological zones as it outlines one of the most familiar shapes in geography. According to the Davises, "Driving its every twist and turn would be like driving from Miami to Los Angeles by way of New York." Each of this book’s sixteen chapters opens with an original drawing by Walt, representing a segment of the Texas border where the authors selected a special place—a national park, a stretch of river, a mountain range, or an archeological site. Using a firsthand account of that place written by a previous visitor (artist, explorer, naturalist, or archeologist), they then identified a contemporary voice (whether biologist, rancher, river-runner, or paleontologist) to serve as a modern-day guide for their journey of rediscovery. This dual perspective allows the authors to attach personal stories to the places they visited, to connect the past with the present, and to compare Texas then with Texas now. Whether retracing botanist Charles Wright's 600-mile walk to El Paso in 1849 or paddling Houston's Buffalo Bayou, where John James Audubon saw ivory-billed woodpeckers in 1837, the Davises seek to remind readers that passionate and determined people wrote the state's natural history. Anyone interested in Texas or its rich natural heritage will find deep enjoyment in Exploring the Edges of Texas.

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Faded Glory

A Century of Forgotten Texas Military Sites, Then and Now

Thomas E. Alexander and Dan K. Utley

Each of the wars fought by Texans spawned the creation of scores of military sites across the state, from the lonely frontier outpost at Adobe Walls to the once-bustling World War II shipyards of Orange. Today, although vestiges of the sites still exist, many are barely discernible, their once-proud martial trappings now faded by time, neglect, the elements and, most of all, public apathy. ?In Faded Glory: A Century of Forgotten Texas Military Sites, Then and Now, Thomas E. Alexander and Dan K. Utley revisit twenty-nine sites—many of them largely forgotten—associated with what was arguably the most tumultuous hundred-year period in a five-century span of Texas history.? Whether in the war with Mexico, the American Civil War, in clashes between Indians and the frontier army, or in two worldwide conflicts fought on foreign shores, Texas and Texans have often answered the call to arms. Beginning in 1845 and continuing through 1945, the Lone Star State and its people were fully involved in seven major conflicts. ?In this thoroughly researched and absorbing guide, Alexander and Utley recount the full story of the sites from their days of fame to the present. Comparing historic sketches, paintings, and period photographs of the original installations with recent photographs, they illustrate how time has dealt with these important places. Providing maps to aid readers in locating each site, the authors close with a resounding call for preservation and interpretation for future generations. ?The descriptions and images restore, at least in the mind’s eye, a touch of vitality and color to these forgotten and disappearing sites. Thanks to Faded Glory: A Century of Forgotten Texas Military Sites, Then and Now, both the traveler and the armchair tourist can recover a sense of these places and events that did so much to shape the military history of Texas.

Fair Ways Cover

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Fair Ways

How Six Black Golfers Won Civil Rights in Beaumont, Texas

By Robert J. Robertson

In the summer of 1955, early in the modern civil rights era, six African American golfers in Beaumont, Texas, began attacking the Jim Crow caste system when they filed a federal lawsuit for the right to play the municipal golf course. The golfers and their African American lawyers went to federal court and asked a conservative white Republican judge to render a decision that would not only integrate the local golf course but also set precedent for desegregation of other public facilities, as well. In Fair Ways, Beaumont native Robert J. Robertson chronicles three parallel stories that converged in this important case. He tells the story of the plaintiffs—avid golfers who had learned the game while working as caddies and waiters—and their young lawyers, recent graduates from Howard University law school, and the Republican judge just appointed to the bench by President Eisenhower. Would the judge apply the new principles of Brown v. Board of Education to the questions before him? Would he use federal judicial power to override state laws and outlaw local customs? Fair Ways gives an uncommonly vivid picture of racial segregation and the forces that brought about its end. Using public case papers, public records, newspapers, and oral histories, Robertson has recreated the scene in Beaumont on the eve of desegregation, describing in detail the parallel white and black communities that characterized the Jim Crow caste system. Through this account, the forces at work in the South—education, military experience, rising expectations, the NAACP, and the rule of law—are personified dramatically by the golfers, the lawyers, and the judge.

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The Fate of Texas

The Civil War and the Lone Star State

Edited by Charles D. Grear

In its examination of a state too often neglected by Civil War historians, The Fate of Texas presents Texas as a decidedly Southern, yet in many ways unusual, state seriously committed to and deeply affected by the Confederate war effort in a multitude of ways. When the state joined the Confederacy and fought in the war, its fate was uncertain. The war touched every portion of the population and all aspects of life in Texas. Never before has a group of historians examined the impact of the war on so many facets of the state. The eleven essays in this collection present cutting edge, original research by noted historians, who provide a new understanding of the role and reactions of Texas and Texans to the war. The book covers a wide range of topics, providing new perspectives, ranging from military, social, and cultural history to public history and historical memory. Some of the subjects explored include the lives of Texas women, slavery, veterans, and how the state dealt with Confederate loss. The contributors are Joseph G. Dawson, Richard Lowe, Charles D. Grear, Richard B. McCaslin, Angela Boswell, Dale Baum, Walter D. Kamphoefner, Randolph B. Campbell, Carl H. Moneyhon, Alexander Mendoza, and Julie Holcomb.

Fighting Their Own Battles Cover

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Fighting Their Own Battles

Mexican Americans, African Americans, and the Struggle for Civil Rights in Texas

Brian D. Behnken

This book compares the African American and Mexican American civil rights movements in Texas. Between 1940 and 1970, both groups fought a number of battles in court, at the ballot box, in schools, and on the streets to eliminate segregation and state-imposed racism. African Americans and Mexican Americans both won many victories during the civil rights era in the Southwest, and yet the groups were rarely unified. Rather, two parallel civil rights movements were occurring simultaneously. Behnken argues that prejudice from both sides greatly diminished the potential of a united civil rights campaign. African American groups discounted Mexican Americans' initial attempts to argue for status as white people, a strategy that Chicanos later abandoned in the 1960s. African Americans interpreted this move from desiring white identity to propounding the radical Chicano movement as an attempt to join in on the success of the black freedom struggle of the 1960s. The work is essentially about race and racism and about the history of whiteness and brownness in America and the relationship of both to blackness. The legal victories, political campaigns, and protests shape and inform Behnken's story of these two movements.

Finding Oil Cover

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Finding Oil

The Nature of Petroleum Geology, 1859-1920

Brian Frehner

Oil has made fortunes, caused wars, and shaped nations. Accordingly, no one questions the idea that the quest for oil is a quest for power. The question we should ask, Finding Oil suggests, is what kind of power prospectors have wanted. This book revises oil’s early history by exploring the incredibly varied stories of the men who pitted themselves against nature to unleash the power of oil.

Brian Frehner shows how, despite the towering presence of a figure like John D. Rockefeller as a quintessential “oil man,” prospectors were a diverse lot who saw themselves, their interests, and their relationships with nature in profoundly different ways. He traces their various pursuits of power from 1859 to 1920 as a struggle for cultural, intellectual, and professional authority, over both nature and their peers. Here we see how some saw power as the work they did exploring and drilling into landscapes, while others saw it in the intellectual work of explaining how and where oil accumulated. Charting the intersection of human and natural history, their story traces the ever-evolving relationship between science and industry and reveals the unsuspected role geology played in shaping our understanding of the history of oil.

First Timers and Old Timers Cover

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First Timers and Old Timers

The Texas Folklore Society Fire Burns On

Edited by Kenneth L. Untiedt

The Texas Folklore Society has been alive and kicking for over one hundred years now, and I don’t really think there’s any mystery as to what keeps the organization going strong. The secret to our longevity is simply the constant replenishment of our body of contributors. We are especially fortunate in recent years to have had papers given at our annual meetings by new members—young members, many of whom are college or even high school students. These presentations are oftentimes given during sessions right alongside some of our oldest members. We’ve also had long-time members who’ve been around for years but had never yet given papers; thankfully, they finally took the opportunity to present their research, fulfilling the mission of the TFS: to collect, preserve, and present the lore of Texas and the Southwest. You’ll find in this book some of the best articles from those presentations. The first fruits of our youngest or newest members include Acayla Haile on the folklore of plants. Familiar and well-respected names like J. Rhett Rushing and Kenneth W. Davis discuss folklore about monsters and the classic “widow’s revenge” tale. These works—and the people who produced them—represent the secret behind the history of the Texas Folklore Society, as well as its future.

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