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Remembering Blaze Foley
Living in the Woods in a Tree is an intimate glimpse into the turbulent life of Texas music legend Blaze Foley (1949--1989), seen through the eyes of Sybil Rosen, the woman for whom he wrote his most widely known song, “If I Could Only Fly." It captures the exuberance of their fleeting idyll in a tree house in the Georgia woods during the countercultural 1970s. Rosen offers a firsthand witnessing of Foley’s transformation from a reticent hippie musician to the enigmatic singer/songwriter who would live and die outside society's rules. While Foley's own performances are only recently being released, his songs have been covered by Merle Haggard, Lyle Lovett, and John Prine. When he first encountered “If I Could Only Fly," Merle Haggard called it “the best country song I've heard in fifteen years." In a work that is part-memoir, part-biography, Rosen struggles to finally come to terms with Foley's myth and her role in its creation. Her tracing of his impact on her life navigates a lovers' roadmap along the permeable boundary between life and death. A must-read for all Blaze Foley and Texas music fans, as well as romantics of all ages, Living in the Woods in a Tree is an honest and compassionate portrait of the troubled artist and his reluctant muse.
Post-Reconstruction Texas in the mid-1870s was still relatively primitive, with communities isolated from each other in a largely open-range environment. Cattlemen owned herds of cattle in numerous counties while brand laws remained local. Friction arose when the nonresident stockmen attempted to gather their cattle, and mavericking was common. Law enforcement at the local level could cope with handling local drunks, collecting taxes, and attending the courts when in session, but when an outrageous crime occurred, or depredations in a community were at a level that severely taxed or overwhelmed the local sheriff, there was seldom any other recourse except a vigilante movement. With such a fragile hold on civilization in these communities, it is not difficult to understand how a “blood feud” could occur. During 1874 the Hoo Doo War erupted in the Texas Hill Country of Mason County, and for the remainder of the century violence and fear ruled the region in a rising tide of hatred and revenge. It is widely considered the most bitter feud in Texas history. Traditionally the feud is said to have begun with the intention of protecting the families, property and livelihood of the largely agrarian settlers in Mason and Llano counties. The truth is far more sinister. Evidence shows that the mob was contaminated from the outset by a criminal element, a fact the participants failed to recognize. They believed they were above the law. They were not above vengeance. The feud began in 1874 with the rise of the mob under Sheriff John Clark, but it was not until the premeditated murder of rancher Timothy Williamson in the spring of 1875, a murder orchestrated by Sheriff Clark, that the violence escalated out of control. His death drew former Texas Ranger Scott Cooley to the region seeking justice, and when the courts failed, he began a vendetta to avenge his friend. In the ensuing months, Sheriff Clark used the mob to secure his political position by ambushing ranchers George Gladden and Moses Baird, which drew gunfighters such as John Ringo into the violence. As more men were killed, new forces joined the spiral of death. Local and state officials proved powerless, and it was not until the early 1900s that the feud burned itself out. Johnson has proven a diligent researcher in locating information concerning the Hoo Doo War. Using contemporary newspaper accounts, letters, diaries, and official reports, he analyzes the myths and legends surrounding the feud and presents the unvarnished truth of what happened in Mason County. This book is the definitive account of the Hoo Doo War, as well as a case study in frontier violence of the bloodiest kind.
An O.K. Corral Obituary
On a chilly October afternoon in 1881, two brothers named Tom and Frank McLaury were gunned down on the streets of Tombstone, Arizona, by the Earp brothers and Doc Holliday. The deadly event became known as the gunfight at the O.K. Corral, and in a quirk of fate, the brothers’ names became well-known, but only as bad men and outlaws. Did they deserve that reputation? The McLaurys in Tombstone, Arizona: An O.K. Corral Obituary explores this question, revealing details of their family background and the context of their lives on the frontier. Paul Lee Johnson begins their story with the McLaury brothers’ decision to go into the cattle business with an ambition to have their own ranch. When they moved to Arizona, they finally achieved that goal, but along the way they became enmeshed with the cross-border black market that was thriving there. As “honest ranchers” they were in business with both the criminal element as well as the legitimate businesses in Tombstone. Another principal in this story was an older brother, William, who set aside his law practice in Fort Worth to settle his brothers’ affairs, and associated himself with the prosecution of the Earp brothers and Doc Holliday. Despite his efforts, the Earps and Holliday were exonerated, and the “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral” became the opening salvo of a feud that took several more lives. Johnson has interviewed family descendants and mined their sources, government correspondence, and letters that have never before been published to reveal the human lives behind the storied events. For the first time the events of the O.K. Corral gunfight are presented from the viewpoint of the McLaurys, two brothers who lost their lives and reputations, and a family who tried in vain to find restitution.
“‘There is never a good sale for Neiman Marcus unless it’s a good buy for the customer.’ That was one of the first declarations of business philosophy I heard my father, Herbert Marcus, make soon after I came to work at Neiman Marcus in 1926.” Thus began the 1974 edition of Minding the Store. Reprinted in hardcover in 1997 to celebrate the 90th anniversary of Neiman Marcus, it is now available for the first time in paperback and ebook. Mr. Marcus has spent most of his life not only in helping to create a retailing enterprise renowned throughout the world as the epitome of quality, but also in setting high standards for the level of taste of all who desire "the better things in life." In doing so he has played a key role in making Dallas itself a success. "Mr. Stanley," as he is affectionately called by all his Neiman Marcus friends and associates, has made The Store a legendary success. Although he retired from active involvement in Neiman Marcus in 1977, the influences of the philosophies of business he developed remain an important part of the training of Neiman Marcus personnel. Those basic principles—best exemplified by his belief in his father’s business philosophy—are the reasons Neiman Marcus is today recognized as the taste leader of American retailing. Minding the Store is a warm portrait of a man and an exuberant celebration of the store that has become the best-known landmark in Texas since the Alamo.
Ecotourism with a Hand Lens
In the humid forests of Cape Horn, a single tree can host more than 100 species of little epiphyte plants. The floor of the forest and the rocks are also covered by numerous species of liverworts, mosses, and lichens. The decision to stop at a tree or rock and explore these “miniature forests” generates an authentic ecotourism experience. In a small area we can spend several minutes or hours with a magnifying glass or camera discovering the colors, shapes, and textures of the most diverse organisms of Cape Horn. This guidebook enhances exploration by providing information to understand the architecture, life cycles, and identification of taxonomic groups of the organisms that form them. For example, when viewing a yellow orange organism, the full color pictures and text in the guidebook illustrate that what you are viewing on the inter-tidal rocks is a crustose lichen, with a well-defined circular structure belonging to the genus Caloplaca that enjoys a broad distribution in inter-tidal zones of Arctic and Antarctic areas. The authors of this guidebook also provide a novel twist on other, more traditional field guides to bryophytes and lichens by introducing the innovative, sustainable tourism activity of “ecotourism with a hand lens.” They present a strong natural history narrative and an ecological and ethical orientation for the appreciation of wonders of the miniature forests of Cape Horn.
Spare yet evocative, the poems in Mister Martini pair explorations of a father-son relationship with haiku-like martini recipes. The martini becomes a daring metaphor for this relationship as it moves from the son’s childhood to the father’s death. Each poem is a strong drink in its own right, and together they form a potent narrative of alienation and love between a father and son struggling to communicate. “This is a truly original book. There’s nothing extra: sharp and clear and astonishing. Viva!” —Naomi Shihab Nye, judge and author of 19 Varieties of Gazelle
“The American cowboy is a mythical character who refuses to die,” says author John R. Erickson. On the one hand he is a common man: a laborer, a hired hand who works for wages. Yet in his lonely struggle against nature and animal cunning, he becomes larger than life. Who is this cowboy? Where did he come from and where is he today? Erickson addresses these questions based on firsthand observation and experience in Texas and Oklahoma. And in the process of describing and defining the modern working cowboy—his work, his tools and equipment, his horse, his roping technique, his style of dress, his relationships with his wife and his employer—Erickson gives a thorough description of modern ranching, the economic milieu in which the cowboy operates. The first edition of this book was published in 1981. For this second edition Erickson has thoroughly revised and expanded the book to discuss recent developments in cowboy culture, making The Modern Cowboy the most up-to-date source on cowboy and ranch life today. “We meet the modern cowboy (his dress depends on weather, chores, and vanity) and follow him through the year: spring roundup, branding and ‘working’ the calves; spotting problem animals and cutting them from the herd; repairing windmills and mending fences; fall roundup, and feeding animals in winter. . . . This is a lively portrait, sure to appeal to all Western buffs.”— Publishers Weekly
Dispatches from the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge
Organized as a series of monthly journal entries, Morning Comes to Elk Mountain is Lantz’s response to ten years of exploring the rough and unexpected beauty of the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. A combination of memoir, natural history, Native American history, and geology, this book is enriched by 20 color photos and a map to appeal to the seasoned visitor as well as the newcomer to the refuge. The national wildlife refuge that’s the focus of the book was among the first established by President Theodore Roosevelt. He helped save the Wichitas from miners and land speculators, and instead the harsh yet scenic area became the nation’s first bison refuge, established to keep this American icon from slipping into extinction. Today the refuge hosts more than a million visitors a year, most of them coming to hike the trails, climb the rocks, photograph bison and prairie dogs, or simply commune with a beautiful, wild area that remains a spiritual landscape for the Kiowa and Comanche Indians who call it home.
The subantarctic forests of South America are the world’s southernmost forested ecosystems. The birds have sung in these austral forests for millions of years; the Yahgan and Mapuche peoples have handed down their bird stories from generation to generation for hundreds of years. In Multi-ethnic Bird Guide of the Subantarctic Forests of South America, Ricardo Rozzi and his collaborators present a unique combination of bird guide and cultural ethnography. The book includes entries on fifty bird species of southern Chile and Argentina, among them the Magellanic Woodpecker, Rufous-Legged Owl, Ringed Kingfisher, Buff-Necked Ibis, Giant Hummingbird, and Andean Condor. Each bird is named in Yahgan, Mapudungun, Spanish, English, and scientific nomenclature, followed by a description, full color photographs, the bird’s distribution map, habitat and lifestyle, and its history in the region. Each entry is augmented further with indigenous accounts of the bird in history and folklore. “Highly original in its approach of combining information on natural history and biodiversity with information on the region’s human cultural and linguistic diversity.”—Chris Elphick, coauthor of The Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior
The Disappearance of Albert and Henry Fountain
On a cold February evening in 1896, prominent attorney Col. Albert Jennings Fountain and his eight-year-old son Henry rode home across the White Sands of New Mexico. It was a trip the father and son would not complete—they both disappeared in a suspected ambush and murder at the hands of cattle thieves Fountain was prosecuting. The disappearance of Colonel Fountain and his young son resulted in outrage throughout the territory, yet another example of lawlessness that was delaying New Mexico’s progress toward statehood. The sheriff, whose deputies were quickly becoming the prime suspects, did little to solve the mystery. Governor Thornton, eager for action, appointed Pat Garrett as the new sheriff, the man famous for killing Billy the Kid fifteen years earlier. Thornton also called on the Pinkerton National Detective Agency, who assigned top operative John Fraser to assist Garrett with the case. The evidence pointed at three men, former deputies William McNew, James Gililland, and Oliver Lee. These three men, however, were very close with powerful ex-judge, lawyer, and politician Albert B. Fall. It was even said by some that Fall was the mastermind behind the plot to kill Fountain. Forced to wait two years for a change in the political landscape, Garrett finally presented his evidence to the court and secured indictments against the three suspects. Garrett quickly arrested McNew, but Lee and Gililland went into hiding. Lee claimed that Garrett merely wanted to kill him with a warrant for his arrest as an excuse. When both men were tracked down at one of Lee's ranches, Lee and Gililland got the best of the sheriff's posse in the ensuing gun battle, killing one deputy and forcing Garrett and his two remaining deputies to retreat. Lee and Gililland would finally surrender months later, under the condition that they would never be in the custody of Sheriff Garrett. The trial took place in the secluded town of Hillsboro. The murders of the Fountains became an afterthought as the accused men, defended by their attorney Fall, pleaded innocence. Missing witnesses plagued the prosecution, and armed supporters of the defendants, who packed the courtroom, intimidated others. The verdict: not guilty. The bodies of Albert Fountain and his young son Henry still lie in an unmarked grave, the location of which remains a mystery. Corey Recko tells for the first time the complete story of the Fountain case and, through extensive research, reconstructs what really happened to them and who the likely killers were.