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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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The Garden of Eden

The Story of a Freedmen's Community in Texas

Drew Sanders

Tucked in a bend of the Trinity River a few minutes from downtown Fort Worth, the Garden of Eden neighborhood has endured for well over a century as a homeplace for freed African American slaves and their descendants.

Among the earliest inhabitants in the Garden, Major and Malinda Cheney assembled over 200 acres of productive farmland on which they raised crops and cattle, built a substantial home for their children, and weathered a series of family crises that ranged from a false accusation of rape and attempted lynching to the murder of their eldest son.

Major and Malinda Cheney’s great-great-grandson, Drew Sanders, recounts engaging tales of the family’s life against the backdrop of Fort Worth and Tarrant County history—among them stories about the famous family Sunday dinners (recipes included).

Though some family members, including writer Bob Ray Sanders and transplant specialist Dollie Gentry, no longer live in this special place, life in the Garden of Eden still shapes the family’s character and binds them to the homeplace.

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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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