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The Best American Newspaper Narratives of 2012

Description: This anthology collects the ten winners of the 2012 Best American Newspaper Narrative Writing Contest at the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference, which is hosted by the Frank W. Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism at the University of North Texas. The contest honors exemplary narrative work and encourages narrative nonfiction storytelling at newspapers across the United States.
Date: May 2014
Creator: Getschow, George

The Bridges of Vietnam: From the Journals of U. S. Marine Intelligence Officer

Description: As an intelligence officer during the Vietnam War, Fred L. Edwards, Jr., was instructed to visit every major ground unit in the country to search for intelligence sources—long range patrols, boats, electronic surveillance, and agent operations. “Edwards found time to keep a journal, an extremely well-written, sharply observed report of his adventures. Along with contemporary postscripts and a helpful historical chronology, that journal is a significant improvement on most Vietnam memoirs. It is the record of a Marine’s on-the-job education.”—Proceedings
Date: May 15, 2001
Creator: Edwards, Fred L., Jr.

A Bright Soothing Noise

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
Date: May 15, 2010
Creator: Brown, Peter

Cataclysm: General Hap Arnold and the Defeat of Japan

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 out important rationales and connections in doctrine, organization, and command not previously published. He also mines sources not previously exploited, including the author’s interviews with General LeMay, Hansell, and Eaker; Arnold’s wartime correspondence; documentation from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library; and postwar interrogations of Japanese officials and civilians. Cataclysm will prove an important addition to the history of the Pacific War, airpower, and the debate over the use of the atomic bomb against Japan.
Date: May 15, 2010
Creator: Wolk, Herman S.

Civil War General and Indian Fighter James M. Williams: Leader of the 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry and the 8th U.S. Cavalry

Description: The military career of General James Monroe Williams spanned both the Civil War and the Indian Wars in the West, yet no biography has been published to date on his important accomplishments, until now. From his birth on the northern frontier, westward movement in the Great Migration, rush into the violence of antebellum Kansas Territory, Civil War commands in the Trans-Mississippi, and as a cavalry officer in the Indian Wars, Williams was involved in key moments of American history. Like many who make a difference, Williams was a leader of strong convictions, sometimes impatient with heavy-handed and sluggish authority. Building upon his political opinions and experience as a Jayhawker, Williams raised and commanded the ground-breaking 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry Regiment in 1862. His new regiment of black soldiers was the first such organization to engage Confederate troops, and the first to win. He enjoyed victories in Missouri, Indian Territory (Oklahoma), and Arkansas, but also fought in the abortive Red River Campaign and endured defeat and the massacre of his captured black troops at Poison Spring. In 1865, as a brigadier general, Williams led his troops in consolidating control of northern Arkansas. Williams played a key role in taking Indian Territory from Confederate forces, which denied routes of advance into Kansas and east into Arkansas. His 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry Regiment helped turn the tide of Southern successes in the Trans-Mississippi, establishing credibility of black soldiers in the heat of battle. Following the Civil War, Williams secured a commission in the Regular Army’s 8th Cavalry Regiment, serving in Arizona and New Mexico. His victories over Indians in Arizona won accolades for having “settled the Indian question in that part of Arizona.” He finally left the military in 1873, debilitated from five wounds received at the hands of Confederates and ...
Date: May 15, 2013
Creator: Lull, Robert W.

Confessions of a Horseshoer

Description: Confessions of a Horseshoer offers a close and personal look at the mind-set of a professional horseshoer (farrier) who also happens to be a college professor. The book, an ironic and playful view of the many unusual animals (and people) Ron Tatum has encountered over thirty-seven years, is nicely balanced between straightforward presentation, self-effacing humor, and lightly seasoned wisdom. It captures the day-to-day life of a somewhat cantankerous old guy, who has attitude and strong opinions. Throughout the book, Tatum ponders the causes that led him into the apparently opposing worlds of horseshoeing, with its mud, pain, and danger, and the bookish life of a college professor. He tells the reader that it is his hope that writing the book will help him understand this apparent paradox between the physical and the mental. Tatum provides a detailed description of the horseshoeing process, its history, and why horses need shoes in the first place. The reader will learn about the dangers of shoeing horses in “Injuries I Have Known,” in which Tatum describes one particular self-inflicted injury that he claims no other horseshoer has ever, or will ever, experience. “Eight Week Syndrome” demonstrates the close, often therapeutic, relationship between the horseshoer and his or her customers. Tatum relates the story of an old Wyoming cowboy who could talk with horses, and consistently cure their injuries, lameness, and other physical problems after the veterinarians had given up. The humor in the chapters on chickens and rabbits will entertain any reader, as well as the sections on various dogs, ducks, llamas, goats, flies, and a sexually disoriented pig. Readers of western life and lovers of horses will find Confessions of a Horseshoer an informative, quirky, and delightful work full of humor, attitude, and off-beat insight.
Date: May 15, 2012
Creator: Tatum, Ron

Death on Base: The Fort Hood Massacre

Description: When Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan walked into the Fort Hood Soldier Readiness Processing Center and opened fire on soldiers within, he perpetrated the worst mass shooting on a United States military base in our country’s history. Death on Base is an in-depth look at the events surrounding the tragic mass murder that took place on November 5, 2009, and an investigation into the causes and influences that factored into the attack. The story begins with Hasan's early life in Virginia, continues with his time at Fort Hood, Texas, covers the events of the shooting, and concludes with his trial. The authors analyze Hasan's connections to radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and demonstrate how radical Islam fueled Hasan’s hatred of both the American military and the soldiers he treated. Hasan's mass shooting is compared with others, such as George Hennard's shooting rampage at Luby's in Killeen in 1991, Charles Whitman at the University of Texas, and Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho. The authors explore the strange paradox that the shooting at Fort Hood was classified as workplace violence rather than a terrorist act. This classification has major implications for the victims of the shooting who have been denied health benefits and compensation. The Contents include: Station Thirteen -- King of the hill -- American dream -- The great place -- Rage against the machine -- A kick in the gut -- Judgment day -- Ticking time bombs -- Playing with fire -- One nation's terrorist is another nation's freedom fighter -- Hide and seek -- The system -- Epilogue -- Afterword -- Acknowledgments -- In Memoriam -- Trial witnesses -- Acronyms and abbreviations.
Date: May 2015
Creator: Porterfield, Anita Belles

Dennis Brain: a Life in Music

Description: The British horn player Dennis Brain (1921–1957) is commonly described by such statements as “the greatest horn player of the 20th Century,” “a genius,” and “a legend.” He was both a prodigy and popularizer, famously performing a concerto on a garden hose in perfect pitch. On his usual concert instrument his tone was of unsurpassed beauty and clarity, complemented by a flawless technique. The recordings he made with Herbert von Karajan of Mozart’s horn concerti are considered the definitive interpretations. Brain enlisted in the English armed forces during World War II for seven years, joining the National Symphony Orchestra in wartime in 1942. After the war he filled the principal horn positions in both the Philharmonia and Royal Philharmonic Orchestras. He later formed his own wind quintet and began conducting. Composers including Benjamin Britten and Paul Hindemith lined up to write music for him. Even fifty years after his tragic death at the age of 36 in an auto accident in 1957, Peter Maxwell Davies was commissioned to write a piece in his honor. Stephen Gamble and William Lynch have conducted numerous interviews with family, friends, and colleagues and uncovered information in the BBC archives and other lesser known sources about recordings that were previously unknown. This volume describes Brain’s life and analyzes in depth his musical career. Its appendices of information on performances will appeal to music historians, and its details on Brain’s instruments and equipment will be useful to horn players. “A pleasure to read: serious but personable, unaffected, unpretentious—conversational in tone. The character of the prose can be said to reflect the character of the book’s subject. Eminently satisfying.”—Robert Marshall, author of Dennis Brain on Record
Date: May 15, 2011
Creator: Gamble, Stephen & Lynch, William C.

The Diaries of John Gregory Bourke: Volume 4, July 3, 1880-May 22, 1881

Description: John Gregory Bourke kept a monumental set of diaries beginning as a young cavalry lieutenant in Arizona in 1872, and ending the evening before his death in 1896. As aide-de-camp to Brigadier General George Crook, he had an insider's view of the early Apache campaigns, the Great Sioux War, the Cheyenne Outbreak, and the Geronimo War. Bourke's writings reveal much about military life on the western frontier, but he also was a noted ethnologist, writing extensive descriptions of American Indian civilization and illustrating his diaries with sketches and photographs. Previously, researchers could consult only a small part of Bourke’s diary material in various publications, or else take a research trip to the archive and microfilm housed at West Point. Now, for the first time, the 124 manuscript volumes of the Bourke diaries are being compiled, edited, and annotated by Charles M. Robinson III, in a planned set of eight books easily accessible to the modern researcher. Volume 4 chronicles the political and managerial affairs in Crook’s Department of the Platte. A large portion centers on the continuing controversy concerning the forced relocation of the Ponca Indians from their ancient homeland along the Dakota-Nebraska line to a new reservation in the Indian Territory. An equally large portion concerns Bourke’s ethnological work under official sanction from the army and the Bureau of Ethnology, work which would make a profound change in his life and his place in history. Aside from a summary of the entire Ponca affair in approximately two pages, virtually none of this material appears in Bourke’s classic On the Border with Crook. Bourke’s staff duties bring him into contact with many prominent individuals. He is particularly unimpressed with the commander of the army, General W.T. Sherman, who, he wrote, “is largely made up of the demagogue and will not ...
Date: May 15, 2009
Creator: Bourke, John Gregory

Ground Pounder: a Marine's Journey Through South Vietnam, 1968-1969

Description: In early February of 1968, at the beginning of the Tet Offensive, Private First Class Gregory V. Short arrived in Vietnam as an eighteen-year-old U.S. Marine. Amid all of the confusion and destruction, he began his tour of duty as an 81mm mortarman with the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, which was stationed at Con Thien near the DMZ. While living in horrendous conditions reminiscent of the trenches in World War I, his unit was cut off and constantly being bombarded by the North Vietnamese heavy artillery, rockets, and mortars. Soon thereafter Short left his mortar crew and became an 81mm’s Forward Observer for Hotel Company. Working with the U.S. Army’s 1st Air Cavalry Division and other units, he helped relieve the siege at Khe Sanh by reopening Route 9. Short participated in several different operations close to the Laotian border, where contact with the enemy was often heavy and always chaotic. On May 19, Ho Chi Minh’s birthday, the NVA attempted to overrun the combat base in the early morning hours. Tragically, during a two-month period, one of the companies (Foxtrot Company) within his battalion would sustain more than 70 percent casualties. By September Short was transferred to the 1st Battalion 9th Marines (the Walking Dead). Assigned as an infantryman (grunt) with Bravo Company and operating along the DMZ and near the A Shau Valley, he would spend the next five months patrolling the mountainous terrain and enduring the harsh elements. At the end of his first tour, he re-upped for a second and was assigned to the 1st Marine Air Wing in Da Nang, where he had an opportunity to become familiar with the Vietnamese culture. Direct, honest, and brutal in his observations, Short holds nothing back in describing the hardships of modern warfare and our leaders’ illusions ...
Date: May 15, 2012
Creator: Short, Gregory V.

Making JFK Matter: Popular Memory and the 35th President

Description: In Making JFK Matter, Paul Santa Cruz examines how popular memory of John F. Kennedy has been used politically by various interest groups, primarily the city of Dallas, Lyndon Johnson, and Robert Kennedy, as well as how the memory of Kennedy has been portrayed in various museums. Santa Cruz argues that we have memorialized JFK not simply out of love for him or admiration for the ideals he embodied, but because invoking his name carries legitimacy and power. Memory can be employed to accomplish particular ends: for example, the passage of long overdue civil rights legislation, or even successfully running for political office. Santa Cruz demonstrates the presence and use of popular memory in an extensive analysis of what was being said, and by whom, about the late president through White House memoranda and speech material, museum exhibits (such as the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas and the JFK Presidential Library and Museum in Boston), public correspondence, newspapers and periodicals of the time, memoirs, and archival research. He also explores how JFK has been memorialized in films such as Bobby, JFK, and Thirteen Days. Written in an accessible manner to appeal to both historians and the general public, Making JFK Matter tells us much of how we have memorialized Kennedy over the years. The contents include: The case of Dallas: constructing a memorial and creating a new city -- The case of Lyndon B. Johnson: taking care of his own presidency by taking care of John Kennedy's -- The case of Robert F. Kennedy: the once and future king and the great expectations of a Kennedy restoration -- Other sites of memory: creating Camelot and the meaning of conspiracy theories -- Observations -- Conclusion.
Date: May 2015
Creator: Cruz, Paul H. Santa

Murder on the White Sands: the Disappearance of Albert and Henry Fountain

Description: 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 ...
Date: May 15, 2007
Creator: Recko, Corey

One Long Tune: the Life and Music of Lenny Breau

Description: From book jacket: “Mr. Guitar” Chet Atkins called Lenny Breau (1941-1984) “the greatest guitarist who ever walked the face of the earth.” Breau began playing the instrument at age seven, and went on to master many styles, especially jazz. Between 1968 and 1983 he made a series of recordings that are among the most influential guitar albums of the century. Breau’s astonishing virtuosity influenced countless performers, but unfortunately it came at the expense of his personal relationships. Despite Breau’s fascinating life story and his musical importance, no full-length biography has been published until now. Forbes-Roberts has interviewed more than 175 people and closely analyzed Breau’s recordings to reveal an enormously gifted man and the inner workings of his music. “Lenny Breau was, and will always be, a great treasure. We need him today more than ever.” —Mundell Lowe
Date: May 15, 2006
Creator: Forbes-Roberts, Ron

Queen of the Confederacy: the Innocent Deceits of Lucy Holcombe Pickens

Description: From book jacket: "Submissiveness is not my role, but certain platitudes on certain occasions are among the innocent deceits of the sex." A strong character with a fervent belief in woman's changing place, Lucy Holcombe Pickens (1832-1899) was not content to live the life of a typical nineteenth-century Southern belle. Wife of Francis Wilkinson Pickens, the secessionist governor of South Carolina on the eve of the Civil War, Lucy was determined to make her mark in the world. She married "the right man," feeling that "a woman with wealth or prestige garnered from her husband's position could attain great power." She urged Pickens to accept a diplomatic mission to the court of Tsar Alexander II of Russia, and in St. Petersburg Lucy captivated the Tsar and his retinue with her beauty and charm. Upon returning to the states, she became First Lady of South Carolina just in time to encourage a Confederate unit named in her honor (The Holcombe Legion) off to war. She was the only woman to have her image engraved on Confederacy paper currency, the uncrowned "Queen of the Confederacy."
Date: May 15, 2002
Creator: Lewis, Elizabeth Wittenmyer

Reflections on the Neches: a Naturalist's Odyssey Along the Big Thicket's Snow River

Description: When Geraldine Watson’s father was a teenager around the turn of the last century, he spent a summer floating down the Neches River, called Snow River by the Indians. Watson grew up hearing his tales of the steamboats, log rafts, and the flora and fauna of East Texas. So when she was sixty-three years old, she decided to repeat his odyssey in her own backwater boat. Reflections on the Neches is both the story of her journey retracing her father’s steps and a natural and social history of the Neches region of the Big Thicket. The Neches, one of the last “wild” rivers in Texas, is now being subjected to dams. Watson’s story captures the wildness of the river and imparts a detailed history of its people and wildlife. Profusely illustrated with drawings by the author and including maps of her journey, Reflections on the Neches will appeal to all those interested in the Big Thicket region and those indulging a feeling of wanderlust–and float trips–down the river.
Date: May 15, 2003
Creator: Watson, Geraldine Ellis

Riding Lucifer's Line: Ranger Deaths Along the Texas-mexico Border

Description: The Texas-Mexico border is trouble. Haphazardly splashing across the meandering Rio Grande into Mexico is—or at least can be—risky business, hazardous to one’s health and well-being. Kirby W. Dendy, the Chief of Texas Rangers, corroborates the sobering reality: “As their predecessors for over one hundred forty years before them did, today’s Texas Rangers continue to battle violence and transnational criminals along the Texas-Mexico border.” In Riding Lucifer’s Line, Bob Alexander, in his characteristic storytelling style, surveys the personal tragedies of twenty-five Texas Rangers who made the ultimate sacrifice as they scouted and enforced laws throughout borderland counties adjacent to the Rio Grande. The timeframe commences in 1874 with formation of the Frontier Battalion, which is when the Texas Rangers were actually institutionalized as a law enforcing entity, and concludes with the last known Texas Ranger death along the border in 1921. Alexander also discusses the transition of the Rangers in two introductory sections: “The Frontier Battalion Era, 1874-1901” and “The Ranger Force Era, 1901-1935,” wherein he follows Texas Rangers moving from an epochal narrative of the Old West to more modern, technological times. Written absent a preprogrammed agenda, Riding Lucifer’s Line is legitimate history. Adhering to facts, the author is not hesitant to challenge and shatter stale Texas Ranger mythology. Likewise, Alexander confronts head-on many of those critical Texas Ranger histories relying on innuendo and gossip and anecdotal accounts, at the expense of sustainable evidence—writings often plagued with a deficiency of rational thinking and common sense. Riding Lucifer’s Line is illustrated with sixty remarkable old-time photographs. Relying heavily on archived Texas Ranger documents, the lively text is authenticated with more than one thousand comprehensive endnotes.
Date: May 15, 2013
Creator: Alexander, Bob

See Sam Run: a Mother's Story of Autism

Description: Thousands of children are diagnosed with autism each year, with a rate of occurrence of 1 in 150 births, compared to 5 per 10,000 just two decades ago. This astounding escalation has professionals scrambling to explain why the devastating neurological disorder, which profoundly affects a person’s language and social development, is on the rise. Are we simply getting better at diagnosing autism, or is a modern health crisis unfolding before us?
Date: May 15, 2008
Creator: Heinkel-Wolfe, Peggy

Special Needs, Special Horses: a Guide to the Benefits of Therapeutic Riding

Description: A growing number of individuals with special needs are discovering the benefits of therapies and activities involving horseback riding. Special Needs, Special Horses , by Naomi Scott, offers information about the amazing results possible with therapeutic riding, or hippotherapy. From recreational riding for individuals with disabilities, to the competitions some riders enter (and win), Scott describes the various techniques of the process and its benefits to the physically and mentally challenged. The book explores the roles of the instructors, physical therapists, volunteers, and the horses, and explains carriage driving, vaulting, and educational interactions with horses. Scott profiles individuals involved in the therapy, including clients whose special needs arose from intrauterine stroke, cerebral palsy, transverse myelitis, Parkinson’s disease, paralysis, sensory integration dysfunction, multiple sclerosis, shaken baby syndrome, sensory damage, stroke, seizures, infantile spasms, Down syndrome, and autism. Special Needs, Special Horses is an excellent guide for the families of the many who do—or could—enjoy improved lives from therapeutic riding. It will also appeal to practitioners of therapeutic riding as an overview of their profession.
Date: May 15, 2005
Creator: Scott, Naomi

Stan Kenton: This is an Orchestra!

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
Date: May 15, 2010
Creator: Sparke, Michael

Zen of the Plains: Experiencing Wild Western Places

Description: Although spare, sweeping landscapes may appear “empty,” plains and prairies afford a rich, unique aesthetic experience—one of quiet sunrises and dramatic storms, hidden treasures and abundant wildlife, infinite horizons and omnipresent wind, all worthy of contemplation and celebration. In this series of narratives, photographs, and hand-drawn maps, Tyra Olstad blends scholarly research with first-hand observation to explore topics such as wildness and wilderness, travel and tourism, preservation and conservation, expectations and acceptance, and even dreams and reality in the context of parks, prairies, and wild, open places. In so doing, she invites readers to reconsider the meaning of “emptiness” and ask larger, deeper questions such as: how do people experience the world? How do we shape places and how do places shape us? Above all, what does it mean to experience that exhilarating effect known as Zen of the plains?
Date: May 2014
Creator: Olstad, Tyra A.