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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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TCU Press

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Galveston Cover

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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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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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Heads, Hides and Horns

The Complete Buffalo Book

Larry Barsness

This thoroughly researched and superbly written book combines history, myth, folklore, and fiction to tell the story not only of the buffalo but of the relationship between buffalo and man on the North American continent. Synthesizing larger and longer histories of this unique animal, this book traces the history of the buffalo from the time it led man to North America, fed him, clothed him, and housed him. As buffalo increased in numbers, they became central to the culture of the Great Plains Indians who lived surrounded by them. Much of the Indian way of life was related to knowledge of and reverence for the buffalo.

When the European white man arrived, he lived off the buffalo as he explored the continent. Later, he slaughtered the great herds of animals when they trampled his crops, stopped his railway trains, and fed the Indians who fought him for the land.

But when extinction threatened the buffalo, the white man was challenged by the idea of saving the animal, an idea that captures the imagination of Americans yet today.

Heads, Hides & Horns traces this major history in a thousand small stories, with directions for tanning, recipes for cooking, stories of tenderfeet and hide hunters, Metis from Canada who searched for bones, ciboleros from Mexico who hunted buffalo in Texas, and hundreds of anecdotes and first-person accounts.

Over one hundred illustrations accompany the lively text. The pictorial research behind this book is as thorough as the textual study, and the illustrations include works by major artists of the period - Karl Bodmer and Frederic Remington, for example - along with actual period photographs.

Combining the best of art and history told in an anecdotal and readable manner, Heads, Hides & Horns  offers fascinating reading for anyone interested in the American West, its culture, traditions, and ecology.

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Hell's Half Acre

The Life and Legend of a Red-Light District

Richard F. Selcer

Texas is a place where legends are made, die, and are revived. Fort Worth, Texas, claims its own legend - Hell's Half Acre - a wild 'n' woolly accumulation of bordellos, cribs, dance houses, and gambling parlors.

Tenderloin districts were a fact of life in every major town in the American West, but Hell's Half Acre - its myth and its reality - can be said to be a microcosm of them all. The most famous and infamous westerners visited the Acre: Timothy ("Longhair Jim") Courtright, Luke Short, Bat Masterson, Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Sam Bass, Mary Porter, Etta Place, along with Butch Cassidy and his Wild Bunch, and many more. For civic leaders and reformers, the Acre presented a dilemma - the very establishments they sought to close down or regulate were major contributors to the local economy.

Controversial in its heyday and receiving new attention by such movies as Lonesome Dove, Hell's Half Acre remains the subject of debate among historians and researchers today. Richard Selcer successfully separates fact from fiction, myth from reality, in this vibrant study of the men and women of Cowtown's notorious Acre.

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Here's to the Ladies

Stories of the Frontier Army

Carla Kelly

Carla Kelly wants to tell the truth, to discard myths about the U.S. Army during the Indian Wars. This collection of nine stories set in the era of the frontier army gives an entertaining and educational glimpse into a world not often explored in fiction.

“Kathleen Flaherty’s Long Winter” weaves a tale of an Irish woman who has no choice but to marry a man she barely knows after the death of her husband leaves her penniless. She struggles with isolation and the cruelty of the others in the fort because of her rapid marriage. In the end, hers is a story of loss, love, and survival.

But these are not all love stories. In “Mary Murphy” one soldier reflects about the hard life of a laundress. “A Season for Heroes” tells of a buffalo soldier named Ezra Freeman, a true hero to one officer’s family.

The collection concludes with “Jesse MacGregor.” The narrator, John, looks back on an Apache attack in the desert. After his detail’s captain is killed and John is injured, authority falls to surgeon Jesse MacGregor. The account of their struggle to fight hunger, thirst, the elements, and of course, the Apaches, is mesmerizing.

Kelly does not leave comedy out of her collection. “Fille de Joie” is a charming story of a married couple reunited after an almost two-year separation. The wife is arrested after the two make too much noise during their afternoon tryst. She is charged with being a fille de joie, and the comedy ensues.

Kelly’s work will find an audience among those interested in feminist literature, American history, fiction, and nonfiction.

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Higher Education Reconceived

A Geography of Change

Sherrie Reynolds and Toni Craven

In Higher Education Reconceived: A Geography of Change, authors Sherrie Reynolds and Toni Craven examine the process of change in higher education as they engage the reader in conversation in both how we relate to ourselves and to one another. They draw on modern and post-modern elements of higher education as well as personal narratives to address personal change, emergent change, and changing ideas about learning, curriculum, and communities of learning. The traditional view in higher education is that teaching causes learning. However, from the perspective of a new sciences view of chaos and complexity, they assess how, as our ideas of student learning, research, and disciplines have developed, our understanding of teaching has evolved as well. Throughout, the authors intimate a sense of the spiritual in the processes of teaching and learning. This impressively holistic volume, which engages the reader in dialogue with the authors while encouraging meditation on the multidimensional journey of teaching and learning, sheds new light on current paradigms of education as well as present ways of living together in a pluralistic and globally connected world. Opening each chapter with a labyrinth illustration to depict the winding and porous nature of the topic, this volume should find a place on every educator’s bookshelf. As teacher-scholars together discover a new understanding of higher education fit for our times, they should never forget that—as Sherrie put it—“Being a university professor is a sacred trust.”

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History of Texas Christian University

A College of the Cattle Frontier

Colby D. Hall

First published by TCU Press in 1947, Colby Hall’s book History of Texas Christian University: A College of the Cattle Frontier is the story of the first seventy-five years of the institution. Tracing the evolution of Add Ran College to Add Ran University, and ultimately to Texas Christian University, Hall shows the struggles and success in the transformation of a frontier college dedicated to educating and developing Christian leadership for all walks of life to a university dedicated to facing the challenges imposed in a new world frontier following World War II.
 
Drawing upon numerous sources, including many unpublished documents, personal correspondence, and the author’s own recollections of his association with the university, Hall provides a detailed account of the history of TCU—an account that is, at the same time, the story of  how a great dream was realized by TCU’s founders.
 
Hall’s narrative skillfully weaves the development of the school into the history of Texas, at the same time elaborating upon the development of collegiate education in Texas and the establishment of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the state. Recognizing that TCU is much more than an institution, Hall specifically emphasizes the contributions of the people and personalities who helped shape the growth of the school.

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Home Truths

A Deep East Texas Memory

Gerald Duff

Novelist Gerald Duff grew up both in Polk County, in Deep East Texas, and in Nederland, near the Gulf Coast, two drastically different areas in terms of social and economic status, and the way they interact. These communities shaped the way Duff thought and lived, causing him to build up certain false personae to fit in with the crowd. These changes and more are described within the pages of Duff’s new memoir, Home Truths: A Deep East Texas Memory.

From dealing with intrusive family members to judgmental classmates to marital bliss and misery, Duff’s memoir describes situations familiar to anyone who has ever lived in a small town. Experiences unfamiliar to the youths of today include growing up during World War II and the descriptions of propaganda tactics, hunting for your own meals, and dealing with the social mores of the 1950s and 1960s. Other occurrences however, such as working a summer job and the awkwardness of first dates, speak to people of every generation, young and old.  

Early in life Duff learned to tell lies as a survival mechanism against his meddling family and occasionally cruel classmates. He describes the ordeal of hiding both his domestic situation and his talent for the written word. Duff’s talents for lies and half-truths helped him not only to discover a hidden talent within himself, but also a future career. 

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In Their Shoes

In Their Shoes

Grace Halsell

Probably no American journalist, man or woman, has had a more extraordinary career than Grace Halsell. Before President Lyndon Johnson personally hired her to work in the White House, Halsell had, over a period of two decades, written her way around the world - Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the Orient, and the Americas.

Born on the windswept plains of West Texas, Halsell was encouraged from the age of five by her pioneer father, who had led cattle drives on the Chisolm Trail, "to travel, to get the benefit" of knowing other peoples. She began her travels at the age of twenty, going first to Mexico and then touring the British Isles by bicycle. Halsell studied at the Sorbonne in Paris and lived in London, Tokyo, Berlin, and Seoul.

In Hong Kong, where she lived on a fishing junk with a Chineses family of nineteen, she wrote a column for the Tiger Standard; in Tokyo, where she slept on tatami mats, ate raw fish and took scalding ofuro baths, she was a columnist for the Japan Times. Moving to South America, she traveled on a tug for 2,000 miles down the Amazon and crossed the Andes by jeep. In Lima, she became a columnist for the Spanish-langauge daily, La Prensa.

Halsell has seen the Big Buddha, the Taj Mahal, the pyramids and the Machu Micchu, has interviewed presidents, movie stars, kinds, and prime ministers. Her newspaper dispatches for the New York Herald Tribune, the New York Post, and the Christian Science Monitor have datelined war zones in Korea, Vietnam, and Bosnia, as well as Russia, China, Macedonia, and Albania.

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