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TCU Press

Website: http://www.prs.tcu.edu/

TCU Press has traditionally published the history and literature of Texas and the American West. As the press has grown steadily in stature and in its ability to bring credit to its parent university over the last twenty years, it has been praised for publishing regional fiction, which often doesn’t find a market in New York, and for discovering and preserving local history.


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Elmer Kelton

Essays and Memories

Judy Alter and James Ward Lee

Elmer Kelton was a modest, kind man, always willing to advise a struggling writer or write a blurb for a first time published author, or assign publishing rights to his six masterpieces to a small university press. TCU Press is grateful for Kelton's work, and this volume attempts to explore what it is that made Elmer Kelton its leading author.

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Essays on the Presidents

Principles and Politics

Paul Boller

Since he first began writing in the 1950s, Dr. Paul F. Boller Jr. has had a passion for sharing the humorous, intriguing, and little-known or widely misunderstood aspects of the American presidency. Boller has authored many beloved books on American presidents, the first ladies, presidential anecdotes, quotes, campaign strategies, and common myths.

This wide variety of topics has been collected for the first time in Essays on the Presidents, along with new essays and forewords. Boller's prose, distinct and inviting, causes the reader to see what is often overlooked in the history of American presidents: their humanity. Boller has searched for those patriotic narratives we have all heard at some point in our lives—whether from our schoolteachers, coworkers, or various trivia books—and corrects the misconceptions many Americans deem as truth in a lighthearted and truly characteristic voice. From Washington's relationship with the Jews to the electioneering and stump-speaking associated with American presidential campaigns, readers will not only see the significant changes in the presidential office since its conception, but also Boller’s lifetime of research and his expertise in the field of American history. Personality—of the most interesting presidents and of Boller himself—is an important theme throughout this collection.

The in-depth retelling of treasured American stories will captivate readers and keep them exploring for more nuggets of truth. Boller tracks the relationship between Americans and the presidents, uncovering the intricate nature of presidential responsibilities and the remarkable men whose leadership shaped the office into what it is today. Celebrating the commanders-in-chief and the career of the nationally-recognized American historian and TCU Emeritus Professor of political science, Essays on the Presidents serves as a unique perspective on American history that fans of both Boller and the presidents will enjoy.

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Fast Copy

Dan Jenkins

In 1935 Betsy Throckmorton’s father lures her from a New York job with Time magazine back to Claybelle, Texas, with the promise that she can be the editor of his Claybelle Standard-Times. Betsy brings along her husband, Ted Winton, an easterner and Yale graduate to whom she is constantly explaining Texas. Ted will run Ben Throckmorton’s radio station, KVAT, where Booty and Them Others sing in rivalry with the better known WBAP Light Crust Doughboys.

In Texas, it’s the middle of the Depression and the Drought. And Prohibition is barely over, liquor still a controversy. Every city has its hobo camp, and Claybelle has the Star of Hope Mission. But it is also the time of new oil money, high living, infidelity, and tangled love triangles. Betsy and Ted chain-smoke and drink often and long, they wouldn’t miss a Paschal High School or TCU football game, they party at the Casino on Jacksboro Highway, and dine at Claybelle’s Shadylawn Country Club.

Betsy is a serious journalist though, and she sets out to change the paper, clashing with the managing editor when she claims international not state news belongs on page one. She clashes with the columnists when she tries to sharpen their leads.

The Texas Murder Machine becomes her big story, when she suspects that Texas Rangers may be killing innocent young men to collect rewards offered by the Texas Bankers Association. Betsy’s journalistic determination leads to a personal tragedy that changes her life forever—and makes her a determined, relentless newswoman.

Fast Copy is a page-turner that combines romantic comedy with the best of the thriller genre. But it’s much more. Dan Jenkins captures Texas in the mid-1930s with a clarity that brings it alive, and his affection for Texas, Fort Worth, and TCU are revealed on every page. Only a native like Jenkins would include the minute details of a TCU-SMU game, the new zephyr stainless steel railroad train, the T&P railroad station, the Fort Worth Cats, and LeGrave Field. His portrait of Claybelle and its leading society folks is tongue-in-cheek funny and right on the mark. Texans should treasure this book for years to come.

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Fort Benning Blues

Mark Busby

If you've never even been to Southeast Asia, can you be a Vietnam veteran? In a novel that captures the life and times of a generation, Mark Busby takes us on a journey through an era of hippies, the shootings at Kent State University, integration, and Woodstock. Fort Benning Blues tells the story of Vietnam from this side of the ocean.

Drafted in 1969, Jeff Adams faces a war he doesn't understand. While trying to delay the inevitable tour of duty in Vietnam, Adams attends Officer Candidate School in Fort Benning, Georgia, desperately hoping Nixon will achieve “peace with honor” before he graduates. The Army's job is to weed out the “duds,” “turkeys,” and “dummies” in an effort to keep not only the officers but also the men under their command alive in the rice paddies of Vietnam. It doesn't take long for the stress to create casualties.

Lieutenant Rancek, Adams' training officer at OCS, is ready to cut candidates from the program for any perceived weakness. He does this, not for the Army, but because he wants only the best “. . . leading the platoon on my right” when he goes to Vietnam.

Hugh Budwell, one of Adams' roommates, brings the laid-back spirit of California with him to Fort Benning. Tired of practicing estate law, he joins the Army to relieve the boredom he feels pervades his life. About Officer Candidate School, Budwell states, “If I wanted to go through it without any trouble, I'd be wondering about myself.”

Candidate Patrick “Sheriff” Garrett, a black southerner, spends a night with Adams in the low-crawl pit after they both raise Rancek's ire. Expecting racism when he joined the Army, Garrett copes better than most with the rigors of Officer Candidate School.

Busby uses song lyrics, newspaper headlines, and the jargon of the era to bring the sixties and seventies alive again. Henry Kissinger is described as “Peter Sellers as Dr. Strangelove” and Lieutenant William “Rusty” Calley as “Howdy Doody in uniform.” Of My Lai, Busby says, “At Fort Benning everybody took those actions as a matter of course.”

As America continues to try to comprehend the effects of one of the most transforming eras in our history, Fort Benning Blues adds another perspective to the meaning of being a Vietnam veteran.

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Fort Worth

A Frontier Triumph

Julia Garrett

In the 1950s, history teacher Julia Kathryn Garrett of Fort Worth began collecting stories from old-timers and pioneers whose memory or knowledge reached back to the early days of the city. For fifteen summer vacations she worked from morning to night on her book, creating an anecdotal chronicle of the early years of the city that began as a fort on the Trinity River in 1849. She closed her history with events a quarter of a century later, when Fort Worth was poised on the edge of growth, ready to become a modern city with the 1876 arrival of the railroad.

First published in 1972 and reprinted by TCU Press in 1996.

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From Birdwomen to Skygirls

American Girls' Aviation Stories

Fred Erisman

Close on the heels of the American public’s early enthusiasm over the airplane came aviation stories for the young. From 1910 until the early 1960s they exalted flight and painted the airplane as the most modern and adventuresome of machines. Most of the books were directed at boys; however, a substantial number sought a girls’ audience. Erisman’s account of the several aviation series and other aviation books for girls fills a gap in the history and criticism of American popular culture. It examines the stories of girls who took to the sky, of the sources where authors found their inspiration, and of the evolution of aviation as an enterprise open to all. From the heady days of early aviation through the glory days of commercial air travel, girls’ aviation books trace American women’s participation in the field. They also reflect changes in women’s roles and status in American society as the sex sought greater equality with men. As aviation technology improves, the birdwomen of the pre-World War I era, capable and independent-minded, give way to individualistic 1930s adventurers patterned on Amelia Earhart, Jacqueline Cochran, and other feminine notables of the air. Their stories lead directly into the coming of commercial air travel. Career stories paint the increasingly glamorous world of the 1940s and 1950s airline stewardess, the unspoken assumptions lying behind that profession, and the inexorable effects of technological and economic change. By recovering these largely forgotten books and the social debates surrounding women’s flying, Erisman makes a substantial contribution to aviation history, women’s history, and the study of juvenile literature. This first comprehensive study of a long-overlooked topic recalls aviation experiences long past and poses provocative questions about Americans’ attitude toward women and how those attitudes were conveyed to the young. Close on the heels of the American public’s early enthusiasm over the airplane came aviation stories for the young. From 1910 until the early 1960s they exalted flight and painted the airplane as the most modern and adventuresome of machines. Most of the books were directed at boys; however, a substantial number sought a girls’ audience. Erisman’s account of the several aviation series and other aviation books for girls fills a gap in the history and criticism of American popular culture. It examines the stories of girls who took to the sky, of the sources where authors found their inspiration, and of the evolution of aviation as an enterprise open to all. From the heady days of early aviation through the glory days of commercial air travel, girls’ aviation books trace American women’s participation in the field. They also reflect changes in women’s roles and status in American society as the sex sought greater equality with men. As aviation technology improves, the birdwomen of the pre-World War I era, capable and independent-minded, give way to individualistic 1930s adventurers patterned on Amelia Earhart, Jacqueline Cochran, and other feminine notables of the air. Their stories lead directly into the coming of commercial air travel. Career stories paint the increasingly glamorous world of the 1940s and 1950s airline stewardess, the unspoken assumptions lying behind that profession, and the inexorable effects of technological and economic change. By recovering these largely forgotten books and the social debates surrounding women’s flying, Erisman makes a substantial contribution to aviation history, women’s history, and the study of juvenile literature. This first comprehensive study of a long-overlooked topic recalls aviation experiences long past and poses provocative questions about Americans’ attitude toward women and how those attitudes were conveyed to the young.

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Galveston

A History of the Island

Gary Cartwright

Galveston—a small, flat island off the Texas Gulf coast—has seen some of the state's most amazing history and fascinating people. First settled by the Karankawa Indians, long suspected of cannibalism, it was where the stranded Cabeza de Vaca came ashore in the 16th century. Pirate Jean Lafitte used it as a hideout in the early 1800s and both General Sam Houston and General James Long (with his wife, Jane, the “Mother of Texas”) stayed on its shores. More modern notable names on the island include Robert Kleberg and the Moody, Sealy and Kempner families who dominated commerce and society well into the twentieth century.

Captured by both sides during the Civil War and the scene of a devastating sea battle, the city flourished during Reconstruction and became a leading port, an exporter of grain and cotton, a terminal for two major railroads, and site of fabulous Victorian buildings—homes, hotels, the Grand Opera House, the Galveston Pavilion (first building in Texas to have electric lights). It was, writes Cartwright, “the largest, bawdiest, and most important city between New Orleans and San Francisco.”

This country's worst natural disaster—the Galveston hurricane of 1900—left the city in shambles, with one sixth of its population dead. But Galveston recovered. During Prohibition rum-running and bootlegging flourished; after the repeal, a variety of shady activities earned the city the nickname “The Free State of Galveston.”

In recent years Galveston has focused on civic reform and restoration of its valuable architectural and cultural heritage. Over 500 buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and an annual "Dickens on the Strand" festival brings thousands of tourists to the island city each December. Yet Galveston still witnesses colorful incidents and tells stories of descendants of the ruling families, as Cartwright demonstrates with wry humor in a new epilogue written specially for this edition of Galveston. First published in 1991 by Atheneum.

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Galveston Rose

Mary Powell

Vibrant, opinionated, and independent—that’s Galveston widow Rose Parrish. Seventy-six years old and in failing health, Rose is coming to grips with her life. She lives alone in a stately home once full of life; her only companions are her housekeeper, Pearl, her financial advisor, Captain J.J. Broussard, and a young medical student, Jesse Martin.

Mary Powell weaves the separate stories of these people important to Rose into a poignant and often humorous tale of “the good life” and “the good death.”

Preparing for the inevitable, Rose sells all her stock to fund her last adventure; she changes her will to leave Jesse money to finish medical school and to give her house and its valuable antiques to the captain. The captain persuades Rose that they can build the most exciting nightclub and restaurant that Galveston has seen in decades. In the process, his unsavory past comes to light.

For the theme of her new club, Mason Rouge, Rose researches the history of Galveston and the life of Jean Lafitte, the pirate who first established Galveston as a center for smuggling. Maison Rouge, Rose’s last adventure, is a loving tribute to the Galveston of the past as well as the future.

Powell’s rich descriptions of island life, the sometimes-raging weather, and the island’s uniquely spirited past vividly bring Galveston to life as a character all its own.

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Giant Country

Essays on Texas

Don Graham

In Giant Country Don Graham brings together a collection of lively, absorbing essays written over the past two decades.

The collection begins with a twist on book introductions that sets the tone for the essays to come—a self-interview conducted poolside at an eccentric Houston motel favored by regional rock bands. Over piña coladas the author works on his tan and discusses timeless Texas themes: the transition of the state from a rural to an urban world, the sense of a vanishing era, and the way that artists in literature and film represent a state both infectiously grand and too big for its britches.

In “Fildelphia Story,” Graham remembers his Ivy League professorial stint in a city the small-town Texan who rented him a moving van looked up under “F.” In “Doing England” the Lone Star Yankee courts Oxford University and returns with a veddy British education. In “The Ground Sense Necessary” a native son journeys inward to explore the dry ceremonies of frontier Protestantism and to recount movingly his father's funeral in Collin County.

With his wide-ranging knowledge of classic regional works, Graham unerringly traces the style and substance of local literary giants and offers a sometimes irreverent but always entertaining look at the Texas triumvirate of Dobie, Webb and Bedichek. Other essays look at such Texas greats as Katherine Anne Porter, George Sessions Perry, William Humphrey and John Graves.

In a section he calls “Polemics,” Graham includes his best known essays, “Palefaces vs. Redskins,” a sardonic survey of the Texas literary landscape, and “Anything for Larry,” a tour de force that has already become a minor classic. The essay weighs the puny financial achievements of Graham against those of mega-author Larry McMurtry and never fails to bring down the house when Graham gives a public reading.

A recognized authority on celluloid Texas, Graham provides a rich sampling of his knowledge of Texas movies in pieces that blanket the territory from moo-cow cattle-drive epics to soggy Alamo sagas to urban cowboy melodramas.

In the larger-than-life state that is Texas, nobody sizes up the Lone-Star mythos, its interpreters, boosters and detractors better than Don Graham.

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The Harness Maker's Dream

Nathan Kallison and the Rise of South Texas

Nick Kotz

Both historical study and ancestral narrative, The Harness Maker’s Dream follows the story of Ukrainian immigrant Nathan Kallison’s journey to the United States in search of a brighter future. At the turn of the twentieth century, over two million Jews emigrated from Czarist Russia and Eastern Europe to escape anti-Semitic law. Seventeen-year-old Kallison and his brothers were among those brave enough to escape persecution and pursue a life of freedom by leaving their homeland in 1890. Faced with the challenges of learning English and earning wages as a harness maker, Kallison struggles to adapt to his new environment.

Kallison moves to San Antonio, Texas, where he finds success by founding one of the largest farm and ranch supply businesses in south Texas and eventually running one of the region’s most innovative ranches. Despite enormous changes in environment and lifestyle, Nathan Kallison and his beloved wife Anna manage to maintain their cultural heritage by raising their children in the Jewish faith, teaching them that family values and a strong sense of character are more important than any worldly achievement.

The son of Nathan Kallison's daughter Tibe, author Nick Kotz provides a moving account of his ancestors’ search for the American dream. Kotz’s work has received recognition by the Texas Jewish Historical Society for eloquently depicting the reality of life for Jewish immigrants in Texas during this time and delineating their significant contributions to society. Kotz’s insight into the life of this inspiring individual will prompt readers to consider their own connections to America’s immigrant past and recognize the beauty of our nation’s diverse history.

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