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900 Miles on the Butterfield Trail

900 Miles on the Butterfield Trail

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Date: November 15, 1994
Creator: Greene, A.C.
Description: “Remember, boys, nothing on God's earth must stop the United States mail!” said John Butterfield to his drivers. Short as the life of the Southern Overland Mail turned out to be (1858 to 1861), the saga of the Butterfield Trail remains a high point in the westward movement. A. C. Greene offers a history and guide to retrace that historic and romantic Trail, which stretches 2800 miles from the Mississippi River to the Pacific coast. “A fine mix of past and present to appeal to scholar and lay reader alike.”—Robert M. Utley, author of The Lance and the Shield: The Life and Times of Sitting Bull
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Along the Texas Forts Trail

Along the Texas Forts Trail

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Date: October 15, 1997
Creator: Aston, B. W.
Description: The task of providing military defense for the Texas Frontier was never an easy one because the territory was claimed by some of the greatest querrilla fighters of all times—the Comanches, Kiowas, Apaches, and Lipans. Protecting a line running from the Red River southwest to El Paso was an impossible task, but following the Mexican War the federal government attempted to do so by establishing a line of forts. During the Civil War the forts were virtually abandoned and the Indians once again ruled the area. Following the war when the military began to restore the old forts, they found that the Indians no longer fought with bows and arrows but shouldered the latest firearms. With their new weapons the Indians were able to inflict tremendous destruction, bringing demands from settlers for more protection. In the summer of 1866 a new line of forts appeared through central Texas under the leadership of General Philip H. Sheridan, commander of federal forces in Louisiana and Texas. Guardians of a raw young land and focal points of high adventure, the old forts were indispensable in their day of service and it is fitting that they be preserved. In and around the forts and ...
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Always for the Underdog: Leather Britches Smith and the Grabow War

Always for the Underdog: Leather Britches Smith and the Grabow War

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Date: December 15, 2010
Creator: LeJeune, Keagan
Description: Louisiana’s Neutral Strip, an area of pine forests, squats between the Calcasieu and Sabine Rivers on the border of East Texas. Originally a lawless buffer zone between Spain and the United States, its hardy residents formed tight-knit communities for protection and developed a reliance on self, kin, and neighbor. In the early 1900s, the timber boom sliced through the forests and disrupted these dense communities. Mill towns sprang up, and the promise of money lured land speculators, timber workers, unionists, and a host of other characters, such as the outlaw Leather Britches Smith. That moment continues to shape the place’s cultural consciousness, and people today fashion a lore connected to this time. In a fascinating exploration of the region, Keagan LeJeune unveils the legend of Leather Britches, paralleling the stages of the outlaw’s life to the Neutral Strip’s formation. LeJeune retells each stage of Smith’s life: his notorious past, his audacious deeds of robbery and even generosity, his rumored connection to a local union strike—the Grabow War—significant in the annals of labor history, and his eventual death. As the outlaw’s life vividly unfolds, Always for the Underdog also reveals the area’s history and cultural landscape. Often using the particulars of ...
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American Voudou: Journey Into a Hidden World

American Voudou: Journey Into a Hidden World

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Date: November 15, 1999
Creator: Davis, Rod
Description: Voudou (an older spelling of voodoo)—a pantheistic belief system developed in West Africa and transported to the Americas during the diaspora of the slave trade—is the generic term for a number of similar African religions which mutated in the Americas, including santeria, candomble, macumbe, obeah, Shango Baptist, etc. Since its violent introduction in the Caribbean islands, it has been the least understood and most feared religion of the New World—suppressed, out-lawed or ridiculed from Haiti to Hattiesburg. Yet with the exception of Zora Neale Hurston's accounts more than a half-century ago and a smattering of lurid, often racist paperbacks, studies of this potent West African theology have focused almost exclusively on Haiti, Cuba and the Caribbean basin. American Voudou turns our gaze back to American shores, principally towards the South, the most important and enduring stronghold of the voudou faith in America and site of its historic yet rarely recounted war with Christianity. This chronicle of Davis' determined search for the true legacy of voudou in America reveals a spirit-world from New Orleans to Miami which will shatter long-held stereotypes about the religion and its role in our culture. The real-life dramas of the practitioners, true believers and skeptics of ...
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Américo Paredes: in His Own Words, an Authorized Biography

Américo Paredes: in His Own Words, an Authorized Biography

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Date: April 15, 2010
Creator: Medrano, Manuel F.
Description: Américo Paredes (1915-1999) was a folklorist, scholar, and professor at the University of Texas at Austin who is widely acknowledged as one of the founding scholars of Chicano Studies. Born in Brownsville, Texas, along the southern U.S.-Mexico Border, Paredes grew up between two worlds—one written about in books, the other sung about in ballads and narrated in folktales. After service in World War II, Paredes entered the University of Texas at Austin, where he completed his Ph.D. in 1956. With the publication of his dissertation, “With His Pistol in His Hand”: A Border Ballad and Its Hero in 1958, Paredes soon emerged as a challenger to the status quo. His book questioned the mythic nature of the Texas Rangers and provided an alternative counter-cultural narrative to the existing traditional narratives of Walter Prescott Webb and J. Frank Dobie. For the next forty years Paredes was a brilliant teacher and prolific writer who championed the preservation of border culture and history. He was a soft-spoken, at times temperamental, yet fearless professor. In 1970 he co-founded the Center for Mexican American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin and is credited with introducing the concept of Greater Mexico, decades before its ...
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Andersonvilles of the North: the Myths and Realities of Northern Treatment of Civil War Confederate Prisoners

Andersonvilles of the North: the Myths and Realities of Northern Treatment of Civil War Confederate Prisoners

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Date: October 15, 2008
Creator: Gillispie, James M.
Description: Soon after the close of military operations in the American Civil War, another war began over how it would be remembered by future generations. The prisoner-of-war issue has figured prominently in Northern and Southern writing about the conflict. Northerners used tales of Andersonville to demonize the Confederacy, while Southerners vilified Northern prison policies to show the depths to which Yankees had sunk to attain victory. Over the years the postwar Northern portrayal of Andersonville as fiendishly designed to kill prisoners in mass quantities has largely been dismissed. The Lost Cause characterization of Union prison policies as criminally negligent and inhumane, however, has shown remarkable durability. Northern officials have been portrayed as turning their military prisons into concentration camps where Southern prisoners were poorly fed, clothed, and sheltered, resulting in inexcusably high numbers of deaths. Andersonvilles of the North, by James M. Gillispie, represents the first broad study to argue that the image of Union prison officials as negligent and cruel to Confederate prisoners is severely flawed. This study is not an attempt to “whitewash” Union prison policies or make light of Confederate prisoner mortality. But once the careful reader disregards unreliable postwar polemics, and focuses exclusively on the more reliable ...
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Antebellum Jefferson, Texas: Everyday Life in an East Texas Town

Antebellum Jefferson, Texas: Everyday Life in an East Texas Town

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Date: March 15, 2012
Creator: Bagur, Jacques D.
Description: Founded in 1845 as a steamboat port at the entryway to western markets from the Red River, Jefferson was a thriving center of trade until the steamboat traffic dried up in the 1870s. During its heyday, the town monopolized the shipping of cotton from all points west for 150 miles. Jefferson was the unofficial capital of East Texas, but it was also typical of boom towns in general. For this topical examination of a frontier town, Bagur draws from many government documents, but also from newspaper ads and plats. These sources provide intimate details of the lives of the early citizens of Jefferson, Texas. Their story is of interest to both local and state historians as well as to the many readers interested in capturing the flavor of life in old-time East Texas. “Astoundingly complete and a model for local history research, with appeal far beyond readers who have specific interests in Jefferson.”—Fred Tarpley, author of Jefferson: Riverport to the Southwest
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Bad Boy From Rosebud: the Murderous Life of Kenneth Allen Mcduff

Bad Boy From Rosebud: the Murderous Life of Kenneth Allen Mcduff

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Date: July 15, 1999
Creator: Lavergne, Gary M.
Description: In October of 1989, the State of Texas set Kenneth Allen McDuff, the Broomstick Murderer, free on parole. By choosing to murder again, McDuff became the architect of an extraordinarily intolerant atmosphere in Texas. The spasm of prison construction and parole reforms—collectively called the “McDuff Rules”—resulted from an enormous display of anger vented towards a system that allowed McDuff to kill, and kill again. Bad Boy from Rosebud is a chilling account of the life of one of the most heartless and brutal serial killers in American history. Gary M. Lavergne goes beyond horror into an analysis of the unbelievable subculture in which McDuff lived. Equally compelling are the lives of remarkable law enforcement officers determined to bring McDuff to justice, and their seven-year search for his victims. “Texas still feels the pain inflicted by Kenneth Allen McDuff, despite the relentless efforts of law enforcement officials to solve his crimes and bind up its wounds. Bad Boy from Rosebud is an impeccably researched, compellingly detailed account of the crimes and the long search for justice. Gary Lavergne takes us directly to the scenes of the crimes, deep inside the mind of a killer, and in the process learns not only ...
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Behind Every Choice Is a Story

Behind Every Choice Is a Story

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Date: February 15, 2003
Creator: Gloria Feldt & Jennings, Carol Trickett
Description: Gloria Feldt, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America since 1996, has served the organization for almost thirty years. She is the recipient of numerous honors, including America's Top 200 Women Leaders, Legends, and Trailblazers, awarded by Vanity Fair in 1998. Born in Temple, Texas, she now lives in New York City with her husband, Alex Barbanell. Their leisure time is spent primarily with their combined family of six children, nine grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
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Behind the Walls: a Guide for Family and Friends of Texas Prison Inmates

Behind the Walls: a Guide for Family and Friends of Texas Prison Inmates

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Date: December 15, 2002
Creator: Renaud, Jorge Antonio
Description: Texas holds one in every nine U.S. inmates. Behind the Walls is a detailed description of one of the world's largest prison systems by a long-time convict trained as an observer and reporter. It spotlights the day-to-day workings of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice-what's good, what's bad, which programs work and which ones do not, and examines if practice really follows official policy. Written to inform about the processes, services, activities, issues, and problems of being incarcerated, this book is invaluable to anyone who has a relative or friend incarcerated in Texas, or for those who want to understand how prisoners live, eat, work, play, and die in a contemporary U.S. prison. Containing a short history of Texas prisons and advice on how to help inmates get out and stay out of prison, this book is the only one of its kind-written by a convict still incarcerated and dedicated to dispelling the ignorance and fear that shroud Texas prisons. Renaud discusses living quarters, food, and clothing, along with how prisoners handle money, mail, visits, and phone calls. He explores the issues of drugs, racism, gangs, and violence as well as what an inmate can learn about his parole, custody ...
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