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.
Following up Texas, My Texas: Musings of the Rambling Boy with a second collection of essays, Lonn Taylor’s Texas People, Texas Places again explores the very best of Texas geography, Texas history, and Texas personalities. In a state so famous for its pride, Taylor manages to write an exceptionally honest, witty, and wise book about Texas past and Texas present.
Texas People, Texas Places is a story of men and women and places that have made this state great. From a small-town radio host to tight-fisted West Texas ranchers, and even to Taylor’s own family members, Taylor’s subjects paint a profound and dynamic picture.
Lonn Taylor shares anecdotes that will appeal to any Texan, in a voice that is as personal as it is unique.
Janis Stout tackles the memoir with a new and inventive approach—she organizes her memories around the houses she’s lived in. ““I picture my life as a long row of houses.” Houses are metaphors for the structures of our lives, and Stout’s houses twine their way along with reflections on work and retirement, marriage, and quietness for engaging in the important last work of life.
Part travelogue, part natural history, and part documentary, A Walk across Texas is the record of three friends’ journey from the Panhandle to Granbury—a 450-mile walk across West Texas. Jon McConal and his two friends, Eddie Lane and Norm Snyder, hiked for twenty-eight days through the less traveled byways of the Texas outlands, and in the process they encountered a world that is now as foreign to most Americans as the Taj Mahal.
Researching places they wanted to see in advance, the trio selected a route that crossed as many creeks and rivers as possible and offered amenable campsites. Not young men, McConal, Lane, and Snyder conquered the harsh environment of West Texas, dealing with blisters and backaches, severe weather and low blood sugar while still remaining friends. Along the way they met unique local characters and visited out-of-the-ordinary sites. With his seasoned journalist’s eye, McConal blends personal interviews and keen descriptions of the countryside they trekked. As he spins the narrative of their journey, local legends, histories, flora, and fauna unfold.
Wanderer Springs is a dying town in Northwest Texas, one of that string of dusty towns left to wither away when the highway from Fort Worth to Amarillo bypassed them. For travelers on that highway, the harsh and unforgiving countryside passes as no more than a blur. For Will Callaghan, that country and the town of Wanderer Springs are carved into memory, indelible in their clarity.
Called home from San Antonio by a funeral, Will begins a journey, both physical and imaginative, that crosses not only geographic and cultural boundaries but darts back and forth in time, mixing stories of the town's frontier past with episodes of Will's high school days. In sometimes hilarious and sometimes painful detail, Will relives the football game where he dropped the pass that lost the championship for Wanderer Springs forever, the time he got his gum stuck in his girlfriend's hair, the strangely distant but close relationship of a motherless boy and his taciturn father. Equally clear are the tales from the past--the Turrill family's desperate wagon ride to find a doctor for their daughter, dying of appendicitus, or Lulu Byars who danced and danced in town and caught pneumonia riding back to her dugout in a norther. Wanderer Springs said she died of frivolity.
Through it all, the clear voice of Will Callaghan, a good old boy grown into an intellectual, gives meaning to the chaos, seeks sense out of the past, recognizes our inextricable link to the past.
Wanderer Springs is a wonderfully witty, sensitive novel that will stand out as one of the more serious, thoughtful, and memorable novels to come out of recent Texas writing.
His wife dead, Elisa Green Pennington gathered up his brood of twelve young children in 1857 and left Texas for California, the promised land. The Penningtons could not have imagined what the untamed frontier had in store for them. After a difficult trek across West Texas and New Mexico, they were forced by sicknesses and circumstances to settle in the newly claimed Gadsden Purchase - present-day southern Arizona - where members of the clan and their descendants would remain into Arizona's statehood years.
At the heart of this saga is Larcena Pennington Page Scott, who is witness as her loved ones are killed and her family's livelihood and property stolen. Larcena lived well into the twentieth century to tell the story of her captivity by Apaches and her miraculous escape from the captors, of outlawry and murder along the Mexican border, of disease, hunger, and isolation, and of the unceasing depredations by hostile Apaches during the 1860s and '70s.
Using family letters, papers, and primary documents from all over the Southwest, Virginia Culin Roberts traces the lives of Larcena and her family. Roberts presents a real-life story of the rigors of surviving in a hostile and unforgiving land, transcending family history to provide a framework for telling the tale of the western frontier in the bloody Civil War and antebellum years.
A Woman of the People is one of Texas’ best-known and most-respected novels. In this story of the Texas frontier, Capps dramatizes the capture by a Comanche band of a ten-year-old white girl and her five-year-old sister from the upper reaches of the Brazos River a decade before the Civil War.
As the narrative progresses, Helen Morrison slowly—and almost unbeknownst to herself—goes from being a frightened, rebellious white girl to becoming “a woman of the people.” Like many of the people who figure in true-life Indian captivity narratives, Helen adopts the ways of the Comanches, marries a member of her small band, and becomes a major figure in tribal life.
A Woman of the People parallels in some ways the real story of Cynthia Ann Parker, who was taken by Comanches, married Peta Nocona, and became the mother of the celebrated Quanah Parker, the last great chief of the Comanches. But unlike the real-life Cynthia Ann Parker story, where many mysteries abound, the novel takes the reader inside the mind of the main character, and we are allowed to grow with her as she forgets her white heritage and Helen and becomes Tehanita (Little Girl Texan).
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