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Exploring Sounds and Cultures
Native American drumming and chant; Czech and German polka; country fiddling; African American spirituals, blues and jazz; cowboy songs; Mexican corridos; zydeco; and the sounds of a Cambodian New Year’s celebration — all are part of the amazing cultural patchwork of traditional music in Texas. In Everyday Music, author and researcher Alan Govenar brings readers face-to-face with the stories and memories of people who are as varied as the traditions they carry on.? In 1986, Alan Govenar traveled more than 35,000 miles around Texas, interviewing, recording, and photographing the vast cultural landscape of the state. In Everyday Music, he compares his experiences then with his attempts to reconnect with the people and traditions that he had originally documented. ?Stopping at gas stations, restaurants, or street-corner groceries in small towns and inner-city neighborhoods, Govenar asked local residents about local music and musicians. What he found on his road trip around the state—and what he shares in the pages of this book — are the time-honored songs, tunes, and musical instruments that have been passed down from one generation to the next. Govenar invites you to accompany him on his journey — one that will forever change the way you look at the traditional music that is such an important part of our everyday lives.? Everyday Music is accompanied by a special online resource (www.everydaymusiconline.org) with video clips, recorded interviews, and performances. The site also features special resources for teachers who want to bring this rich cultural experience into their classrooms and for general readers who simply want to know more.
Nonnative Hoofed Mammals in the United States
Exotic animals range in appearance from truly striking to seemingly ordinary, and they live in wildlife preserves, on farms, in parks, and even in the wilderness across the United States. In this book, Elizabeth Cary Mungall provides ample information for anyone, from park visitor and zoo goer to rancher and wildlife biologist, who wants to identify and learn more about exotic wildlife in the United States. Richard D. Estes, author of The Safari Companion, says that "for everyone interested in exotic hoofed stock, Exotic Animal Field Guide is a well-written and beautifully illustrated book that fills a vacant niche." Indeed, the main portion of the book contains fully illustrated species accounts of eighty different kinds of hoofed animals, with native range maps and information about food habits, habitat, temperament, breeding and birth seasons, and fencing needs. A list of exotics-related organizations and a reference section round out the text. Photographs of each species make the book both attractive and useful as a field tool. In a chapter on photographing exotics, Christian Mungall shows readers how to take their own great pictures of these animals. Clearly, as James G. Teer, of the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences at Texas A&M University states, this is "much more than a field guide. Elizabeth Cary Mungall's book is a long awaited repository and data source on the ecology, technology, and management of more than 80 species of non-native hoofed animals. . . . Anyone with exotics on his or her property will require Exotic Animal Field Guide."
Myths of Empire on the Postmodern Frontier
The frontier and Western expansionism are so quintessentially a part of American history that the literature of the West and Southwest is in some senses the least regional and the most national literature of all. The frontier—the place where cultures meet and rewrite themselves upon each other’s texts—continues to energize writers whose fiction evokes, destroys, and rebuilds the myth in ways that attract popular audiences and critics alike. Sara L. Spurgeon focuses on three writers whose works not only exemplify the kind of engagement with the theme of the frontier that modern authors make, but also show the range of cultural voices that are present in Southwestern literature: Cormac McCarthy, Leslie Marmon Silko, and Ana Castillo. Her central purposes are to consider how the differing versions of the Western “mythic” tales are being recast in a globalized world and to examine the ways in which they challenge and accommodate increasingly fluid and even dangerous racial, cultural, and international borders. In Spurgeon’s analysis, the spaces in which the works of these three writers collide offer some sharply differentiated visions but also create new and unsuspected forms, providing the most startling insights. Sometimes beautiful, sometimes tragic, the new myths are the expressions of the larger culture from which they spring, both a projection onto a troubled and troubling past and an insistent, prophetic vision of a shared future.
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.
One Woman's Big Year
One woman . . . one year . . . 723 species of birds. . . In 2008, Lynn Barber's passion for birding led her to drive, fly, sail, walk, stalk, and sit in search of birds in twenty-five states and three provinces. Traveling more than 175,000 miles, she set a twenty-first century record at the time, second to only one other person in history. Over 272 days, Barber observed 723 species of birds in North America north of Mexico, recording a remarkable 333 new species in January but, with the dwindling returns typical to Big Year birding, only eight in December, a month that found her crisscrossing the continent from Texas to Newfoundland, from Washington to Ontario. In the months between, she felt every extreme of climate, well-being, and emotion. But, whether finally spotting an elusive Blue Bunting or seeing three species of eiders in a single day, she was also challenged, inspired, and rewarded by nearly every experience. Barber's journal from her American Birding Association-sanctioned Big Year covers the highlights of her treks to forests, canyons, mountain ranges, deserts, oceans, lakes, and numerous spots in between. Written in the informal style of a diary, it captures the detail, humor, challenges, and fun of a good adventure travelogue and also conveys the remarkable diversity of North American birds and habitat. For actual or would-be “travel birders,” Lynn Barber’s Extreme Birder provides a fascinating, binoculars-eye view of one of the best-loved pastimes of nature lovers everywhere. "Lynn Barber challenges a traditionally male-dominated pursuit--the birding big year--and is successful beyond her wildest dreams. She is an inspiration for all who love adventure, nature, and birds."--Lynn Hassler, author, Birds of the American Southwest
A Century of Forgotten Texas Military Sites, Then and Now
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.
How Six Black Golfers Won Civil Rights in Beaumont, Texas
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.
The Movement in California and Texas
In the mid-1960s, the charismatic César Chávez led members of California's La Causa movement in boycotting the grape harvest, and melon pickers in South Texas called a strike against growers, contesting unfair labor and wage practices in both states. In Farm Workers and the Churches, Alan J. Watt shows how the religious and social contexts of the farm workers, their leaders, and the larger society helped or hindered these two pivotal actions. Watt explores the ways in which liberal expressions of Northern Protestantism, transplanted to California and combined with the pro-labor wing of the Catholic Church and the heritage of Mexican popular piety, provided a fertile field for the growth of broad support for Chávez and his organizing efforts. Eventually, La Causa was able to achieve collective bargaining victories, including a historic labor contract between California agribusiness and farm workers. The movement did not fare as well in Texas, where the combination of a locally weak union leadership, a more conservative Southern Protestant ethos, and the strikebreaking measures of the Texas Rangers all boded ill. However, a general Chicano/a movement ultimately took permanent root in the state, because of the workers' struggle. Watt offers a careful examination of the complex interactions among religious traditions, social heritage, and ethnicity as these factors affected the course and outcomes of these two pioneering campaigns undertaken by La Causa.
The Rhetoric of Disability
Franklin Roosevelt instinctively understood that a politician unable to control his own body would be perceived as unable to control the body politic. He took care to hide his polio-induced lameness both visually and verbally. Through his speeches—and his physical bearing when delivering them—he tried to project robust health for himself while imputing disability, weakness, and even disease onto his political opponents and their policies. In FDR's Body Politics: The Rhetoric of Disability, Davis W. Houck and Amos Kiewe analyze the silences surrounding Roosevelt's disability, the words he chose to portray himself and his policies as powerful and health-giving, and the methods he used to maximize the appearance of physical strength. Drawing on never-before-used primary sources, they explore how Roosevelt and his advisors attacked his most difficult rhetorical bind: how to address his fitness for office without invoking his disability. They examine his broad strategies, as well as the speeches Roosevelt delivered during his political comeback after polio struck, to understand how he overcame the whispering campaign against him in 1928 and 1932. The compelling narrative Houck and Kiewe offer here is one of struggle against physical disability and cultural prejudice by one of our nation's most powerful leaders. Ultimately, it is a story of triumph and courage—one that reveals a master politician's understanding of the body politic in the most fundamental of ways.