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Travel and Travel Writing in Modern Times
“ . . . travel as an exploration of ‘the other’ which becomes an exploration of the self . . . a confirmation of identity.”—from the Introduction, by Frank Trommler In an age when travel was more difficult but leisure was more available, those who journeyed across the Atlantic from the Old World to America or back created a wonderful literature about the divergent cultures and the fertile interactions among them. In travel diaries, journals, novels, journalistic reports, and guide books, nineteenth- and early twentieth-century writers recorded impressions and ruminations that not only offer opportunities for comparison and contrast but also shed light on the processes of modernization and the future that would emerge on both sides of the Atlantic. This latest offering from the important Walter Prescott Webb Memorial Lectures series explores themes like urbanization, modernization, education, gender, Jewish identity, nationalism and internationalism, political and cultural values, and the experience of travel itself. Volume editors Thomas Adam and Nils Roemer have assembled a collection of varied studies that permit enlightened reflection on the ways in which travelers from the New and Old Worlds have observed, documented, understood, and negotiated their similarities and differences. The freshness and variety of the previously little-heard voices documented in Crossing the Atlantic will serve as an important reminder that an attentive interaction with “foreignness” has been and will continue to be one of the best paths to a more enlightened engagement with the familiar.
An Immigrant's Life in the 1880s
Although they are among the most important sources of the history of the American Southwest, the lives of ordinary immigrants from Mexico have rarely been recorded. Educated and hardworking, Luis G. Gómez came to Texas from Mexico as a young man in the mid-1880s. He made his way around much of South Texas, finding work on the railroad and in other businesses, observing the people and ways of the region and committing them to memory for later transcription. From the moment he crossed the Rio Grande at Matamoros-Brownsville, Gómez sought his fortune in a series of contracting operations that created the infrastructure to help develop the Texas economy—clearing land, cutting wood, building roads, laying track, constructing bridges, and quarrying rock. Gómez describes Mexican customs in the United States, such as courtship and marriage, relations with Anglo employers, religious practices, and the simple home gatherings that sustained those Mexican Texans who settled in urban areas like Houston, isolated from predominantly Mexican South Texas. Few of the 150,000 immigrants in the last half of the nineteenth century left written records of their experiences, but Gómez wrote his memoir and had it privately published in Spanish in 1935. Crossing the Rio Grande presents an English edition of that memoir, translated by the author’s grandson, Guadalupe Valdez Jr., with assistance from Javier Villarreal, a professor of Spanish at Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi. An introduction by Thomas H. Kreneck explainss the book’s value to scholarship and describes what has been learned of the publication history of the original Spanish-language volume. Valdez’s comments provide a lucid and engaging picture of his grandfather’s later life and his gentlemanly character. This charming little volume provides a valuable account of a relatively undocumented period in Mexican Texans’ history. Almost unknown to those outside his family, this narrative has now been “recovered,” edited by Valdez and Kreneck, and made available to a wider, interested public.
Tackling Life and the NFL
In a quintessentially American game, for an organization often called America's Team, Dat Nguyen stands as the first player of Vietnamese descent ever to play in the NFL. Yet if asked for his job description, he would probably answer simply, "I tackle." He tackled so well at Rockport-Fulton (Texas) High School that he earned a scholarship to Texas A&M University, becoming the first Vietnamese American football player in school history. As part of the storied "Wrecking Crew," Nguyen's tackling earned him All-American honors and led the Aggies to their first Big 12 title. And, even though he was once deemed too small to play middle linebacker in the NFL, he has earned All-Pro recognition with the Dallas Cowboys. For Dat Nguyen, though, tackling the various obstacles of life—not just running backs—gives him the most pride. He learned how to tackle life from his parents, who narrowly escaped from the North Vietnamese Army in 1975. Nguyen offers the story of his faith, his family, and his career, a true story of the American dream lived out, as an inspiration to others. He recounts his father's decision to flee Vietnam; the boat trip that took his family to freedom; and their eventual settling in Rockport, Texas, where a community of Vietnamese shrimpers established an economic livelihood using skills brought from the old country. He describes the racism his family encountered while he was growing up and how the friendship of one young Caucasian boy and his family overcame prejudice through an invitation to participate in sports. Nguyen's insightful look into the life of a big-time football player offers first-hand glimpses of the personalities and playing (or coaching) styles of many celebrated stars of college football and the NFL. His stories offer excitement, romance (as he pursues his college sweetheart, now his wife), faith, fatherhood, and humor. Dat is a lively, engaging story of growing up in a refugee family, of big-time football, and of human struggle and success.
MacArthur's Pearl Harbor
Ten hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor, “another Pearl Harbor” of even more devastating consequence for American arms occurred in the Philippines, 4,500 miles to the west. On December 8, 1941, at 12.35 p.m., 196 Japanese Navy bombers and fighters crippled the largest force of B-17 four-engine bombers outside the United States and also decimated their protective P-40 interceptors. The sudden blow allowed the Japanese to rule the skies over the Philippines, removing the only effective barrier that stood between them and their conquest of Southeast Asia. This event has been called “one of the blackest days in American military history.” How could the army commander in the Philippines—the renowned Lt. Gen. Douglas MacArthur—have been caught with all his planes on the ground when he had been alerted in the small hours of that morning of the Pearl Harbor attack and warned of the likelihood of a Japanese strike on his forces? In this book, author William H. Bartsch attempts to answer this and other related questions. Bartsch draws upon twenty-five years of research into American and Japanese records and interviews with many of the participants themselves, particularly survivors of the actual attack on Clark and Iba air bases. The dramatic and detailed coverage of the attack is preceded by an account of the hurried American build-up of air power in the Philippines after July, 1941, and of Japanese planning and preparations for this opening assault of its Southern Operations.
The Other Side of Dallas
A Complete Guide to the Natural History, Biology, and Management of Southwestern Mule Deer and White
“It’s the right time for a book on deer of the Southwest. Jim Heffelfinger has crammed a tremendous amount of information into this book. The test is not in scientific style as this may be a deterrent to many readers, but he cites source information so that anyone interested can review the original articles and draw their own conclusions. I found the book outstanding because of the width of coverage and the readability.”--Dr. Wendell Swank, former Texas A&M University Wildlife professor, former director of the Arizona Game and Fish Department, and author of the book The Mule Deer in Arizona Chaparrel (1958)
A History of Houston's Hispanic Community
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.