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  Partner: UNT Press
 Decade: 2010-2019
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 ...
Contributing Partner: UNT Press
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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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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The Big Thicket Guidebook: Exploring the Backroads and History of Southeast Texas

The Big Thicket Guidebook: Exploring the Backroads and History of Southeast Texas

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Date: October 15, 2011
Creator: Bonney, Lorraine G.
Description: Start your engines and follow the backroads, the historical paths, and the scenic landscape that were fashioned by geologic Ice Ages and traveled by Big Thicket explorers as well as contemporary park advocates—all as diverse as the Big Thicket itself. From Spanish missionaries to Jayhawkers, and from timber barons to public officials, you will meet some unusual characters who inhabited an exceptional region. The Big Thicket and its National Preserve contain plants and animals from deserts and swamps and ecosystems in between, all together in one amazing Biological Crossroad. The fifteen tours included with maps will take you through them all. Visitors curious about a legendary area will find this book an essential companion in their cars. Libraries will use the book as a reference to locate information on ghost towns, historic events, and National Preserve features. “A result of a prodigious amount of local research as well as a great deal of driving and tramping around, this book might end up as a classic.”—Thad Sitton, author of Backwoodsmen: Stockmen and Hunters along a Big Thicket River Valley
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Birthing a Better Way: 12 Secrets for Natural Childbirth

Birthing a Better Way: 12 Secrets for Natural Childbirth

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Date: August 15, 2010
Creator: Cook, Kalena
Description: Birthing a Better Way: 12 Secrets for Natural Childbirth presents a fresh, proactive, and positive approach to why you may want to consider the safest and most satisfying kind of birth—natural childbirth—especially in these times of overused medical interventions. Kalena Cook, a mother who experienced natural childbirth, and Margaret Christensen, M.D., a board certified obstetrician-gynecologist, have written this much-needed book for expectant mothers and their caregivers, imparting proven safe or “evidence-based” information with compelling narratives. Think of What to Expect in Natural Childbirth meets Chicken Soup for the Natural Birthing Soul! Unlike other books that overwhelm with data, Birthing a Better Way simplifies the best key points. Going beyond actual birth accounts, the authors reveal 12 Secrets which bring confidence in the normal process of birth and inspire you to believe in what your body is beautifully designed to do—a far cry from what is portrayed in the media or from some fear-based conventional medical practices. More than fifty powerful testimonials include healthy mainstream women who answer why they chose natural birth (instead of Pitocin, inductions, epidurals and C-sections), what it was like, and even how it compared to a medicated birth. Six physicians share why they birthed their own ...
Contributing Partner: UNT Press
Bloody Bill Longley: the Mythology of a Gunfighter

Bloody Bill Longley: the Mythology of a Gunfighter

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Date: March 15, 2011
Creator: Miller, Rick
Description: William Preston “Bill” Longley (1851-1878), though born into a strong Christian family, turned bad during Reconstruction in Texas, much like other young boys of that time, including the deadly John Wesley Hardin. He went on a murderous rampage over the last few years of his life, shotgunning Wilson Anderson in retribution for Anderson’s killing of a relative; killing George Thomas in McLennan County; and shooting William “Lou” Shroyer in a running gunfight. Longley even killed the Reverend William R. Lay while Lay was milking a cow. Once he was arrested in 1877, and subsequently sentenced to hang, his name became known statewide as an outlaw and a murderer. Through a series of “autobiographical” letters written from jail while awaiting the hangman, Longley created and reveled in his self-centered image as a fearsome, deadly gunfighter—the equal, if not the superior, of the vaunted Hardin. Declaring himself the “worst outlaw” in Texas, the story that he created became the basis for his historical legacy, unfortunately relied on and repeated over and over by previous biographers, but all wrong. In truth, Bill Longley was not the daring figure that he attempted to paint. Rick Miller’s thorough research shows that he was, instead, a ...
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A Bright Soothing Noise

A Bright Soothing Noise

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Date: May 15, 2010
Creator: Brown, Peter
Description: Stan Kenton (1911–1979) formed his first full orchestra in 1940 and soon drew record-breaking crowds to hear and dance to his exciting sound. He continued to tour and record unrelentingly for the next four decades. Stan Kenton: This Is an Orchestra! sums up the mesmerizing bandleader at the height of his powers, arms waving energetically, his face a study of concentration as he cajoled, coaxed, strained, and obtained the last ounce of energy from every musician under his control. Michael Sparke’s narrative captures that enthusiasm in words: a lucid account of the evolution of the Kenton Sound, and the first book to offer a critical evaluation of the role that Stan played in its creation. “Michael Sparke’s book, the first general history of the Kenton Orchestra, is the best evaluation yet of Kenton’s 40-year musical development.”—The Wall Street Journal
Contributing Partner: UNT Press
Captain John R. Hughes: Lone Star Ranger

Captain John R. Hughes: Lone Star Ranger

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Date: February 15, 2011
Creator: Parsons, Chuck
Description: Captain John R. Hughes, Lone Star Ranger is the first full and complete modern biography of a man who served as a Texas Ranger from 1887 until early 1915. He came to the attention of the Rangers after doggedly trailing horse thieves for nearly a year and recovering his stolen stock. After helping Ranger Ira Aten track down another fugitive from justice, Hughes then joined Company D of the Texas Rangers on Aten’s recommendation, intending to stay for only a few months; he remained in the service for nearly thirty years. When Sgt. Charles Fusselman was killed by bandits, Hughes took his place. When Captain Frank Jones was killed by bandits in 1893, Hughes was named captain of Company D. As captain, Hughes and his men searched the border and identified every bandit involved in the killing of Jones. They all received justice. Toward the end of his career Hughes became a senior captain based in Austin, and in 1915, having served as a captain and ranger longer than any other man, he retired from the force. His later years were happy ones, with traveling and visiting friends and relatives. He became a Texas icon and national celebrity, receiving more ...
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Cataclysm: General Hap Arnold and the Defeat of Japan

Cataclysm: General Hap Arnold and the Defeat of Japan

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Date: May 15, 2010
Creator: Wolk, Herman S.
Description: In Cataclysm, Herman S. Wolk examines the thinking and leadership of General Henry H. (Hap) Arnold, Commanding General, Army Air Forces (AAF), during World War II. Specifically, Wolk concentrates on Arnold’s role in crafting the weapons, organization, and command of the strategic bombing offensive against Japan. The B-29 long-range bombing campaign against the Japanese home islands dictated unprecedented organization and command; hence, Arnold established the Twentieth Air Force, commanded by himself from Washington and reporting directly to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Arnold excelled in his command of the AAF, relieving a long-time colleague (Hansell) in favor of a hard-nosed operator (LeMay). This crucial move was a turning point in the Pacific War. In the spring and summer of 1945, Arnold was a driven leader, almost willing the B-29 campaign and the air and sea blockade to collapse Japan before the scheduled massive invasion of Kyushu on November 1st. Arnold agreed that politically the atomic bomb shocked the Japanese to capitulation, but as the architect of the bombing offensive, he emphasized that Japan was already defeated in the summer of 1945 by the bombing and blockade, and that it was not militarily necessary to drop the atomic bomb. Wolk brings ...
Contributing Partner: UNT Press
Chicano Education in the Era of Segregation

Chicano Education in the Era of Segregation

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Date: March 15, 2013
Creator: Gonzalez, Gilbert G.
Description: Chicano Education in the Era of Segregation analyzes the socioeconomic origins of the theory and practice of segregated schooling for Mexican-Americans from 1910 to 1950. Gilbert G. Gonzalez links the various aspects of the segregated school experience, discussing Americanization, testing, tracking, industrial education, and migrant education as parts of a single system designed for the processing of the Mexican child as a source of cheap labor. The movement for integration began slowly, reaching a peak in the 1940s and 1950s. The 1947 Mendez v. Westminster case was the first federal court decision and the first application of the Fourteenth Amendment to overturn segregation based on the “separate but equal” doctrine. This paperback features an extensive new Preface by the author discussing new developments in the history of segregated schooling. “[Gonzalez] successfully identifies the socioeconomic and political roots of the inequality of education of Chicanos. . . . It is an important historical and policy source for understanding current and future issues affecting the education of Chicanos.”—Dennis J. Bixler-Marquez, International Migration Review
Contributing Partner: UNT Press
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