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The Johnson-sims Feud: Romeo and Juliet, West Texas Style

The Johnson-sims Feud: Romeo and Juliet, West Texas Style

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Date: August 15, 2010
Creator: O'Neal, Bill
Description: In the early 1900s, two families in Scurry and Kent counties in West Texas united in a marriage of fourteen-year-old Gladys Johnson to twenty-one-year-old Ed Sims. Billy Johnson, the father, set up Gladys and Ed on a ranch, and the young couple had two daughters. But Gladys was headstrong and willful, and Ed drank too much, and both sought affection outside their marriage. A nasty divorce ensued, and Gladys moved with her girls to her father’s luxurious ranch house, where she soon fell in love with famed Texas Ranger Frank Hamer. When Ed tried to take his daughters for a prearranged Christmas visit in 1916, Gladys and her brother Sid shot him dead on the Snyder square teeming with shoppers. One of the best lawyers in West Texas, Judge Cullen Higgins (son of the old feudist Pink Higgins) managed to win acquittal for both Gladys and Sid. In the tradition of Texas feudists since the 1840s, the Sims family sought revenge. Sims’ son-in-law, Gee McMeans, led an attack in Sweetwater and shot Billy Johnson’s bodyguard, Frank Hamer, twice, while Gladys—by now Mrs. Hamer—fired at another assassin. Hamer shot back, killed McMeans, and was no-billed on the spot by a grand ...
Contributing Partner: UNT Press
Prairie Gothic: the Story of a West Texas Family

Prairie Gothic: the Story of a West Texas Family

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Date: September 15, 2005
Creator: Erickson, John R.
Description: Prairie Gothic is rich in Texas history. It is the story of Erickson s family, ordinary people who, through strength of character, found dignity in the challenges presented by nature and human nature. It is also the story of the place instrumental in shaping their lives the flatland prairie of northwestern Texas that has gone by various names (High Plains, South Plains, Staked Plains, and Llano Estacado), as well as the rugged country on its eastern boundary, often referred to as the caprock canyonlands. One branch of Erickson’s family arrived in Texas in 1858, settling in Parker County, west of Weatherford. Another helped establish the first community on the South Plains, the Quaker colony of Estacado. They crossed paths with numerous prominent people in Texas history: Sam Houston, Sul Ross, Charles Goodnight, Cynthia Ann and Quanah Parker, Jim Loving, and a famous outlaw, Tom Ross. Erickson’s research took him into the homes of well-known Texas authors, such as J. Evetts Haley and John Graves. Graves had written about the death of Erickson s great-great grandmother, Martha Sherman. The theme that runs throughout the book is that of family, of four generations’ efforts to nurture the values of civilized people: reverence ...
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Captain John H. Rogers, Texas Ranger

Captain John H. Rogers, Texas Ranger

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Date: March 15, 2003
Creator: Spellman, Paul N.
Description: John Harris Rogers (1863-1930) served in Texas law enforcement for more than four decades, as a Texas Ranger, Deputy and U.S. Marshal, city police chief, and in the private sector as a security agent. He is recognized in history as one of the legendary “Four Captains” of the Ranger force that helped make the transition from the Frontier Battalion days into the twentieth century, yet no one has fully researched and written about his life. Paul N. Spellman now presents the first full-length biography of this enigmatic man. During his years as a Ranger, Rogers observed and participated in the civilizing of West Texas. As the railroads moved out in the 1880s, towns grew up too quickly, lawlessness was the rule, and the Rangers were soon called in to establish order. Rogers was nearly always there. Likewise he participated in some of the most dramatic and significant events during the closing years of the Frontier Battalion: the Brown County fence cutting wars; the East Texas Conner Fight; the El Paso/Langtry Prizefight; the riots during the Laredo Quarantine; and the hunts for Hill Loftis and Gregorio Cortez. Rogers was the lawman who captured Cortez to close out one of the most ...
Contributing Partner: UNT Press
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 ...
Contributing Partner: UNT Press
Written in Blood: the History of Fort Worth's Fallen Lawmen

Written in Blood: the History of Fort Worth's Fallen Lawmen

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Date: October 15, 2010
Creator: Selcer, Richard F.
Description: In 2009 Fort Worth unveiled an elaborate, million-dollar memorial to its fallen police and firefighters going all the way back to the city’s beginnings in 1873. Fifty-eight of the ninety-five names on the memorial were policemen. Written in Blood is a more inclusive version of that idea because it covers more than just members of the Fort Worth Police Department; it includes men from all branches of local law enforcement who died defending law and order in the early years: policemen, sheriffs, constables, “special officers,” and even a police commissioner. Richard F. Selcer and Kevin S. Foster tell the stories of thirteen of those early lawmen—an unlucky number to be sure. They range from Tarrant County Sheriff John B. York through Fort Worth Police Officer William “Ad” Campbell covering the years from 1861 to 1909. York was the first local lawman to die—in a street fight. Campbell was last in this era—shot-gunned in the back while walking his beat in Hell’s Half-Acre. Co-authors Selcer and Foster bring academic credentials and “street cred” to the story, explaining how policemen got (and kept) their jobs, what special officers were, and the working relationship between the city marshal’s boys and the sheriff’s boys.
Contributing Partner: UNT Press
Tonality As Drama: Closure and Interruption in Four Twentieth-century American Operas

Tonality As Drama: Closure and Interruption in Four Twentieth-century American Operas

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Date: September 15, 2008
Creator: Latham, Edward D.
Description: Whether you are “in the business,” or you are a music theorist, musicologist, or simply an opera fan—read on! This is an analytical monograph by a Schenkerian music theorist, but it is also written by one performer and enthusiast for another. Tonality as Drama draws on the fields of dramaturgy, music theory, and historical musicology to answer a fundamental question regarding twentieth-century music: why does the use of tonality persist in opera, even after it has been abandoned in other genres? Combining the analytical approaches of the leading music and dramatic theorists of the twentieth century—Austrian music theorist Heinrich Schenker (1868-1935) and Russian director Constantin Stanislavsky (1863-1938)—Edward D. Latham reveals insights into works by Scott Joplin, George Gershwin, Kurt Weill, and Aaron Copland that are relevant to analysts, opera directors, and performers alike. Tonality as Drama is not a textbook—rather, it is an innovative analytical study meant to inspire changes in the study and performance of tonal opera. By applying Schenker’s tonal analytical technique to a small segment (early twentieth-century American opera) of a repertoire typically regarded as non-tonal (modern opera), Latham reveals a strategic use of tonality in that repertoire as a means of amplifying or undercutting the success ...
Contributing Partner: UNT Press
Risk, Courage, and Women	Contemporary Voices in Prose and Poetry

Risk, Courage, and Women Contemporary Voices in Prose and Poetry

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Date: August 15, 2007
Creator: Waldron, Karen A.; Labatt, Laura M. & Brazil, Janice H.
Description: This unique collection of narratives, essays, and poems includes an original interview with Maya Angelou and pieces by Naomi Shihab Nye, Pat Mora, Rosemary Catacalos, and many others. Each work relates how women have demonstrated courage by taking a risk that has changed their lives. The Introduction explores courage not as a battlefield quality, but as the result of thoughtful choices demonstrating integrity and self-awareness. Each section opens with a description of its organization and the significance of individual pieces. Themes include sustenance for living, faith in the unknown, the courage of choice, the seams of our lives, and crossing borders. The book begins with a conversation with Dr. Maya Angelou, the embodiment of a courageous woman. She urges readers to "Envision" and concludes the book with the wish "Good morning," inviting all to join her in a new day reflecting "The Power of One." Voices of racial and ethnic diversity speak throughout the work, underscoring both difference and unity in the female experience. Including role models for university audiences and powerful reflections of life experiences for older readers, this work serves many purposes: a textbook in Literature or Women's/Gender Studies classes, a focus for book study groups, and a ...
Contributing Partner: UNT Press
Finish Forty and Home: the Untold World War II Story of B-24s in the Pacific

Finish Forty and Home: the Untold World War II Story of B-24s in the Pacific

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Date: August 15, 2011
Creator: Scearce, Phil
Description: During the early years of World War II in the Pacific theatre, against overwhelming odds, young American airmen flew the longest and most perilous bombing missions of the war. They faced determined Japanese fighters without fighter escort, relentless anti-aircraft fire with no deviations from target, and thousands of miles of over-water flying with no alternative landing sites. Finish Forty and Home is the true story of the men and missions of the 11th Bombardment Group as it fought alone and unheralded in the South Central Pacific, while America had its eyes on the war in Europe. After bombing Nauru, the squadron moves on to bomb Wake Island, Tarawa, and finally Iwo Jima. These missions bring American forces closer and closer to the Japanese home islands and precede the critical American invasions of Tarawa and Iwo Jima. The 42nd Squadron’s losses through 1943 were staggering: 50 out of 110 airmen killed. “Finish Forty and Home is a treasure: poignant, thrilling, and illuminating.”—Laura Hillenbrand, best-selling author of Unbroken and Seabiscuit
Contributing Partner: UNT Press
In These Times the Home Is a Tired Place: Stories

In These Times the Home Is a Tired Place: Stories

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Date: November 15, 2013
Creator: Hollander, Jessica
Description: When an unwed pregnant woman is pressured to get married by her boyfriend, parents, and the entire culture around her, she sees a feverish intensity emanating from the path to domesticity, a “paved path shaded by thick-trunked trees, lined with trim grass and manicured mansions, where miniature houses play mailboxes and animals play lawn ornaments and people play happiness.” Jessica Hollander’s debut collection exposes a culture that glorifies and disparages traditional domesticity, where people’s confusion, apathy, and anxiety about the institutions of marriage and family often drive them to self-destruction. The world in Hollander’s nineteen stories appears at once familiar and vividly unsettling, with undercurrents of anger and violence attached to everyday objects and spaces: a pink room is “a woman exploded,” home smells “of laundered clothes and gas from the grill,” and the sun “is so bright the sky fills with over-exposure, wilting the corners to orange, to red, to black.” Here people adopt extreme and erratic behavior: hack at furniture, have affairs with high school students, fantasize about sex with “monsters,” laden flower bouquets with messages of hate; but these self-destructive acts and fantasies feel strangely like a form of growth or enlightenment, or at least the only ...
Contributing Partner: UNT Press
A Life on Paper: the Drawings and Lithographs of John Thomas Biggers

A Life on Paper: the Drawings and Lithographs of John Thomas Biggers

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Date: November 15, 2006
Creator: Theisen, Olive Jensen
Description: John Thomas Biggers (1924–2001) was a major African American artist who inspired countless others through his teaching, murals, paintings, and drawings. After receiving conventional art training at Hampton Institute and Pennsylvania State, he had his personal and artistic breakthrough in 1957 when he spent six months in the newly independent country of Ghana. From this time forward, he integrated African abstract elements with his rural Southern images to create a personal iconography. His new approach made him famous, as his personal discovery of African heritage fit in well with the growing U.S. civil rights movement. He is best known for his murals at Hampton University, Winston-Salem University, and Texas Southern, but the drawings and lithographs that lie behind the murals have received scant attention—until now. Theisen interviewed Dr. Biggers during the last thirteen years of his life, and was welcomed into his studio innumerable times. Together, they selected representative works for this volume, some of which have not been previously published for a general audience. After his death in 2001, his widow continued to work closely with Theisen, resulting in a book that is intimate and informative for both the scholar and the student.
Contributing Partner: UNT Press