Contributing writer Savanah Burns wrote this post in celebration of Texas History this month.
This month is filled with Texas history. Last Friday, March 2, was Texas Independence Day. Two days ago, March 6, was spent commemorating the Battle of the Alamo. This month, we encourage you to celebrate Texas by reading a book relate to Texas history, or inspired by it. Here’s a list our staff put together for you:
Love Give Us One: Bonnie and Clyde in the Last Days by Jeff P. Jones.
Follow the tale of Bonnie and Clyde’s union and their bloody escapades that stretch from Dallas, Texas, across the Southwest, the Southern Plains, and the Midwest until they reach their final stop on a dusty back road in Louisiana. The dusty back road is where Texas Ranger, Frank Hamer, tracks the illicit lovers down. This novel focuses on the death of our antiheros, their short life together, as well as America as it faces the consequences of environmental degradation, injustice, and greed. http://www.tamupress.com/product/Love-Give-Us-One-Death,8626.aspx
The Death of Bonnie and Clyde and Other Stories by Michael Gills.
Another story on the bittersweet death of Bonnie and Clyde is told by Michael Gills. He paints the passionate decisions Bonnie and Clyde made and some friends they met along the way. His novel shows Bonnie and Clyde in their nostalgic memory, which is as wild, young, and carefree lovers. http://www.tamupress.com/product/The-Death-of-Bonnie-and-Clyde-and-Other-Stories,7005.aspx
Have a Seat, Please by Don Reid with John Gurwell.
Don Reid, with the aid of John Gurwell, shares an insightful look at over 189 electrocutions. Reid’s 35 years of experience at the Wall’s Unit (as its warden), offers a unique and transformed perspective on capital punishment. He goes from being a death penalty supporter to being an avid opponent. All around, Reid shares insightful account of self-discovery as well as inmate accounts. http://www.tamupress.com/product/Have-a-Seat-Please,3754.aspx
Upon this Chess Board of Nights and Days: Voices from Texas Death Row edited by Dana Allen, Regina Bouley, Raul Khalaf, James Ridgway, Haley Stoner, Daniel Stryker, and Cami Whitehead.
The prisoners on Texas Death Row share their inner thoughts and feelings with the reader. Read about their hopes and fears, as well as their memories and art. http://www.tamupress.com/product/Upon-this-Chessboard-of-Nights-and-Days,5304.aspx
Texas in the World War II Era
The Enemy Within Never Did Without: German and Japanese Prisoners of War at Camp Huntsville, 1942-1945 edited by Jeffery L. Littlejohn and Charles H. Ford.
An influential POW camp is located 8 miles east of Huntsville, Texas. It was used to incarcerate Germans POWs, both Nazi and anti-Nazi factions, and later it was used as an undercover re-education center for Japanese POWs. Follow the historical narrative to find out what happened in the camps and its lasting effects. http://www.tamupress.com/product/Enemy-Within-Never-Did-Without,8111.aspx
Raiders and Horse Thieves: Memoir of a Central Texas Baby Boomer by Jackie Ellis Stewart.
Jackie Ellis Steward shares her early childhood in Cedar Creek, Texas, which is located in Bastrop County). The setting takes place during the final days of World War II and the aftermath of the war. The reconstruction and great depression left Texas economically limited. As a result was little change in the residents’ pioneer values and lifestyle. The story explores the human spirit that is willing to persevere despite opposition against nature and its neighbors. http://www.tamupress.com/product/Raiders-and-Horse-Thieves,8298.aspx
Local History (History of Huntsville)
The Wynne Home: Then and Now by Gary Zeller and Linda Pease
This short book discusses the Gustavas A Wynne Family and their home. The home was a wedding gift from Mr. Wynne to his wife in 1883. The couple lived in Huntsville, Texas, and over the years the Wynne Home has served its community in many ways. Read about the house’s evolution from a honeymoon gift to a landmark today still used today. http://www.tamupress.com/product/Wynne-Home,3855.aspx
Resurrecting Trash: Dan Phillips and the Phoenix Commotion by Donald R. Bates, Amanda Dellett, Christina Fernandez, Jake Gebhardt, Doug Haines, Anna R. Jennings, Dustin Levien, Lauren McAuliffe, and Margaret miller Sellers.
Discover the motivation and inspiration of Dan Phillip’s artistry, and discover signature houses and art located all over Huntsville. http://www.tamupress.com/product/Resurrecting-Trash-Dan-Phillips-and-the-Phoenix-C,7194.aspx
A Frontier Texas Mercantile: The History of Gibbs Brothers and Company, Huntsville, 1841-1940 by Donald R. Walker.
Thomas Gibbs and Gardner Coffin traveled to the Texas Frontier and started a business together in the newly founded settlement of Huntsville, Texas in August of 1841. Since Gibbs and Coffin, the Gibbs family has since continued a long line of businesses, which are located around the Huntsville Courthouse square. From their land holdings, timber industry, and real estate investments, this book accounts for the Gibbs family’s example of a business benefiting from being committed to its location for over 177 years. http://www.tamupress.com/product/Frontier-Texas-Mercantile,3712.aspx
Mystic Sails, Texas Trails by Robert Davant with Mickey Herskowitz.
A sea captain and his son, Bradford, are from the north. They travel south and end up building a cattle empire in Texas’s open range. The dual get roped into a range war, where they must fight Shanghai Pierce. All the while, they have to also manage to survive the Civil War and manage to herd thousands of cattle along a trail to the railhead located in Dodge City. http://www.tamupress.com/product/Mystic-Sails-Texas-Trails,8643.aspx
Faithful Shep: The Story of a Hero Dog and the Nine Texas Rangers Who Saved Him by Don DeNevi
This novel is inspired by the Texas frontier; a time when El Paso was becoming industrious. The town was also bold and desperate because Victorio threatened both sides of the Rio Grande despite opposition from a trinity of troops (the US Army, the Texas Rangers, and the Mexican territorial militia). This story is about Shep, a beloved pet, who is saved by his owner and nine Texas Rangers. Shep, in a unexpected way, returns the favor. http://www.tamupress.com/product/Faithful-Shep,8779.aspx
Shep in the Victorio War by Don DeNevi
Continue Shep’s story in Shep in the Victorio War, as he and the Texas Rangers maneuver the Texas Plains, face Victorio, and endure the Victorio War.
Whether you want a historical narrative set on the plains, or a story centered Texas Prisoners, or you really just want to read about a Texas Pup, we got you covered.
TRP hopes enjoy these reads.
SAVANAH BURNS is a young poet from Huntsville. She studied English and History at Sam Houston State University, where she completed a short novella for her honors thesis. Her writing has been featured in Beacon, an undergraduate magazine, and HistoricalMX, an online historical journal. Her poem, “Starry Night,” won first prize in 2016 for a college and university contest held by The Academy of American Poets, which included an online publication. She is currently pursuing an M. F. A. in Creative Writing with an emphasis in Poetry at SHSU. She is a new addition to the Texas Review Press as a graduate assistant, as well as a new addition to the Gordian Review as its poetry editor. She is excited for what lies ahead.