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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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In Their Shoes Cover

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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.

Inside Texas Cover

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Inside Texas

Culture, Identity and Houses, 1878–1920

Cynthia Brandimarte

“Inside Texas: Culture, Identity and Houses, 1878–1920” is a 464 page book with 296 photos that tests and rejects the notion that Texas homes, like all things Texan, were unique and different.  Over the 40 year time span covered by the book, decorating ideas nationally and in Texas went from the era of Victorianism with “all that stuff” to the spare, clean lines of the arts and crafts movement. By 1920, like Americans across the country, many Texans, especially the wealthier, were taking their decorating ideas from the new professionals – architects and designers – and their homes reflected less their own identity than the taste and eye of the decorator.

In seven years of research, Brandimarte traveled the state, collecting photographs of interiors of Texas homes – rare in comparison to exterior views.  The images reprinted here are arranged neither in chronological order nor according to decorating style but by identities –occupation, family, ethnicity, social group, region, culture and refinement, class and style.  Brief biographical information about the homeowners is incorporated into the text.

“Inside Texas” is about people and houses.  It is social history, a significant contribution to scholarship, an invaluable resource for preservationist, docents, architects and designers as well as a book to be treasured by anyone who loves old houses. 


Karla K. Morton Cover

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Karla K. Morton

New and Selected Poems

Karla K. Morton

As the 2010 Texas Poet Laureate, Karla K. Morton believes that poetry is every man’s art, and has carved her place in Texas Letters with this stunning collection. Her poems take you on a journey; her flowing, storytelling style sparks memories and stirs emotions.  This beautiful, linen hardbound book is a word-lover’s dream.

Killing Cynthia Ann Cover

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Killing Cynthia Ann

Charles Brashear

The saga of Cynthia Ann Parker is well known to historians of the Texas frontier and readers of historical fiction. Kidnapped from Parker's Fort near Mexia by raiding Comanches in 1836, she was completely assimilated into the Noconi band. She married tribal leader Peta Nocona and bore him two sons, Quanah and Pecos, and a daughter, Toh-Tsee-Ah. Late in 1860, she and toddler Topsannah (as the whites called her) were recaptured by Texas Rangers and returned to "civilization" and the extended Parker clan.

Cynthia Ann never adapted to white culture. She was shunted from one Parker family to another, living in constant grief and doubt—about herself and her daughter and about the fate of her Comanche family still on the prairies. Convinced she was a captive of the Texans, Cynthia Ann was determined to escape to the high plains and the Comanche way. The Parkers neither cared for nor understood Cynthia Ann's obsession with returning to her homeland and her people.
Charles Brashear's thoroughly researched and vividly realistic novel, Killing Cynthia Ann, tells the story as it might have happened and turns it into a compelling and unforgettable drama.

“Basing his fictional speculation on a careful reading of the historical record, Brashear chronicles the heartbreaking descent into despair of a proud woman who could not forget her warrior husband and two sons. . . [The public] will appreciate this engrossing novel, which can also supply a personal perspective to supplement history texts.”--Library Journal

Lay Bare the Heart Cover

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Lay Bare the Heart

An Autobiography of the Civil Rights Movement

James Farmer

Texas native James Farmer is one of the “Big Four” of the turbulent 1960s civil rights movement, along with Martin Luther King Jr., Roy Wilkins, and Whitney Young. Farmer might be called the forgotten man of the movement, overshadowed by Martin Luther King Jr., who was deeply influenced by Farmer’s interpretation of Gandhi’s concept of nonviolent protest.

Born in Marshall, Texas, in 1920, the son of a preacher, Farmer grew up with segregated movie theaters and “White Only” drinking fountains. This background impelled him to found the Congress of Racial Equality in 1942. That same year he mobilized the first sit-in in an all-white restaurant near the University of Chicago. Under Farmer’s direction, CORE set the pattern for the civil rights movement by peaceful protests which eventually led to the dramatic “Freedom Rides” of the 1960s.

In Lay Bare the Heart Farmer tells the story of the heroic civil rights struggle of the 1950s and 1960s. This moving and unsparing personal account captures both the inspiring strengths and human weaknesses of a movement beset by rivalries, conflicts and betrayals. Farmer recalls meetings with Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, Jack and Bobby Kennedy, Adlai Stevenson (for whom he had great respect), and Lyndon Johnson (who, according to Farmer, used Adam Clayton Powell Jr., to thwart a major phase of the movement).

James Farmer has courageously worked for dignity for all people in the United States. In this book, he tells his story with forthright honesty.

First published in 1985 by Arbor House, this edition contains a new foreword by Don Carleton, director of the Dolph BriscoeCenter for American History at the University of Texas at Austin, and a new preface.

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Legacy of the Sacred Harp

Chloe Webb

Brought to this continent by the settlers of Jamestown, the sacred harp, which refers to the human voice, is known as “fasola.” In Legacy of the Sacred Harp, author Chloe Webb follows the history of this musical form back four hundred years, and in the process uncovers the harrowing legacy of her Dumas family line.

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Literary El Paso

Marcia Hatfield Daudistel

The fourth in the successful literary cities series by TCU Press, Literary El Paso brings attention to the often overlooked extraordinary literary heritage of this city in far West Texas. El Paso is the largest metropolitan area along the U.S.-Mexico border and geographically isolated from the rest of Texas. It is in this splendid isolation surrounded by mountains in the midst of the beautiful Chihuahuan Desert that many award-winning writers found their literary voices. Daudistel uses her years of publishing experience in El Paso to gather the works of past, present and emerging writers of the Borderlands. Historical essays, fiction, journalism and poetry portray the colorful history and vibrant present of this city on the border through the works of sixty-three writers. Once a backdrop to the Mexican Revolution, El Paso was also home to infamous outlaws. Historians C.L. Sonnichsen, and Leon Metz write on the gunmen and lawmen of El Paso such as John Wesley Hardin, Dallas Stoudenmire and Bass Outlaw. There are feature stories from award-winning journalists Ruben Salazar early in his newspaper career, Ramon Renteria with the last interview of poet Ricardo Sanchez and Bryan Woolley on the 1966 UTEP Miners and lively South El Paso Street. Many groundbreaking Chicano writers who began their work in El Paso, such as Jose Antonio Burciaga, Abelardo Delgado, Estela Portillo Trambley and Arturo Islas are featured. The works of Tom Lea, the stories of Amado Muro, Dagoberto Gilb, Rick DeMarinis, Pat Littledog, the inimitable word sketches of Elroy Bode and the poetry of Benjamin Alire Saenz, Pat Mora, and Bernice Love Wiggins, one of the first African-American female poets published in Texas, explore the experience of life in El Paso. In addition, previously unpublished works from John Rechy, Ray Gonzalez and Robert Seltzer are included. Literary El Paso features bilingual selections for the first time in the series to reflect the bicultural environment of the region and the state.

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Many Rivers to Cross

Tom Zigal

Hurricane Katrina struck the Louisiana Gulf Coast in late August of 2005. In the aftermath of the category-three hurricane, the churning waters of Lake Pontchartrain tore through the levee system of New Orleans, causing unprecedented flooding and stranding those who had failed to evacuate in time. Images of desperate men and women clinging to rooftops and praying for rescue filled every news station. It is in this setting that Thomas Zigal’s new novel unfolds.

With water rapidly rising to alarming heights and contaminated by filth, the only way in or out of New Orleans is by boat. Hodges Grant, a veteran of Vietnam, must ply the fetid waters in a homemade craft in order to reach his stranded daughter and two grandchildren. Accompanied by his grandchildren’s good-for-nothing father Duval, Hodges enters into the treacherous wreckage left by the storm. The city appears to be deserted except for a few police out to commandeer civilian boats—by force, if necessary.

Deirdra, or Dee as she is known, was hardly daunted by the idea of a hurricane. There had been too many false alarms in the past from government officials. Still, for the sake of her two children, Dee had attempted to evacuate, only to turn back as gangs of armed highjackers pulled hapless drivers from their cars in gridlocked traffic. Now she and her children are stranded in their attic as the water laps at the hatch. They can only hope for Hodges’s swift arrival.

Hodges’s son PJ and eight thousand other inmates remain incarcerated in the Orleans Parish Jail as the waters begin to rise. Abandoned by the guards, the inmates must break through the bars of their cells or drown. They discover armed guards calmly waiting in boats outside; they pull a few inmates to safety and threaten to shoot those who rush for the fence.

As the waters advance through the city of New Orleans, so does Zigal’s story. Told through the eyes of each member of the Grant family, Zigal weaves a tale bound by terror, loss, perseverance, and survival.

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Memoirs of an Obscure Professor

Paul F. Boller

During the heyday of McCarthyism, the Chicago Tribune, offended by something he had written, contemptuously dismissed Paul Boller as "an obscure professor" - he was then teaching at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Some forty-five years later, reflecting on the incident, Boller wrote an essay on what it was like to be an obscure professor at one of America's less publicized campuses in a conservative community during the late 1950s and early 1960s. That essay became the foundation for this collection of autobiographical selections reflecting the interests and pursuits of a man who gained national recognition, both inside the academic community and beyond, but still values his obscurity. Whether it is a study of the much-maligned Calvin Coolidge or an account of his Navy service as a translator of Japanese during World War II, Boller brings to his writing a fresh approach and a lively and wry wit.

Moving Serafina Cover

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Moving Serafina

Bob Cherry

Late in life, Clayton Elliot faces long-deferred, hard choices. Circumstances force him to bury his recently deceased wife, Adelita, in the little West Texas border town of Solitario instead of next to their three-year old daughter on their hardpan ranch. To pay for Adelita’s cancer treatments, Clayton sold this marginal ranchland to water developers.

By reuniting Serafina with her mother in Solitario, Clayton hopes to assuage his guilt about her death twenty-five years earlier. However, whether Clayton moves Serafina immediately or ignores the contracted deadline, either act will trigger drilling into the aquifer for water. His lifelong friends are vehemently opposed to drilling.

When a young Mexican woman mysteriously enters his life, Clayton must delay his efforts to move Serafina and surreptitiously help this woman who has illegally crossed into Texas. This decision also raises the ire of Clayton’s friends.

Throughout the novel, Clayton struggles with both the internal and external borders of his life. And the eccentric characters of Solitario find they, too, must confront their own geographical, psychological, and racial boundaries.

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