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

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 whom McDuff killed and how—but why. This is classic crime reporting.”—Dan Rather, CBS News
Date: July 15, 1999
Creator: Lavergne, Gary M.

Bad Company and Burnt Powder: Justice and Injustice in the Old Southwest

Description: Bad Company and Burnt Powder is a collection of twelve stories of when things turned "Western" in the nineteenth-century Southwest. Each chapter deals with a different character or episode in the Wild West involving various lawmen, Texas Rangers, outlaws, feudists, vigilantes, lawyers, and judges. Covered herein are the stories of Cal Aten, John Hittson, the Millican boys, Gid Taylor and Jim and Tom Murphy, Alf Rushing, Bob Meldrum and Noah Wilkerson, P. C. Baird, Gus Chenowth, Jim Dunaway, John Kinney, Elbert Hanks and Boyd White, and Eddie Aten. Within these pages the reader will meet a nineteen-year-old Texas Ranger figuratively dying to shoot his gun. He does get to shoot at people, but soon realizes what he thought was a bargain exacted a steep price. Another tale is of an old-school cowman who shut down illicit traffic in stolen livestock that had existed for years on the Llano Estacado. He was tough, salty, and had no quarter for cow-thieves or sympathy for any mealy-mouthed politicians. He cleaned house, maybe not too nicely, but unarguably successful he was. Then there is the tale of an accomplished and unbeaten fugitive, well known and identified for murder of a Texas peace officer. But the Texas Rangers couldn't find him. County sheriffs wouldn't hold him. Slipping away from bounty hunters, he hit Owlhoot Trail.
Date: July 2014
Creator: Alexander, Bob

Convict Cowboys: The Untold History of the Texas Prison Rodeo

Description: Convict Cowboys is the first book on the nation’s first prison rodeo, which ran from 1931 to 1986. At its apogee the Texas Prison Rodeo drew 30,000 spectators on October Sundays. Mitchel P. Roth portrays the Texas Prison Rodeo against a backdrop of Texas history, covering the history of rodeo, the prison system, and convict leasing, as well as important figures in Texas penology including Marshall Lee Simmons, O.B. Ellis, and George J. Beto, and the changing prison demimonde. Over the years the rodeo arena not only boasted death-defying entertainment that would make professional cowboys think twice, but featured a virtual who’s who of American popular culture. Readers will be treated to stories about numerous American and Texas folk heroes, including Western film stars ranging from Tom Mix to John Wayne, and music legends such as Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson. Through extensive archival research Roth introduces readers to the convict cowboys in both the rodeo arena and behind prison walls, giving voice to a legion of previously forgotten inmate cowboys who risked life and limb for a few dollars and the applause of free-world crowds. The contents include: Texas prisons: a pattern of neglect -- A cowboy's a man with guts and a hoss -- The Simmons years (1930-1935) -- The only show of its kind in the United States (1936-1939) -- The war years (1940-1946) -- A sad state of affairs (1947-1949) -- The West as it ought to have been (1950-1953) -- Outlaw vs. outlaw (1954-1959) -- The fund just appeared footloose and fancy free (1954-1960) -- The Texas Prison.
Date: July 2016
Creator: Roth, Mitchel P.

Forging the Star: The Official Modern History of the United States Marshals Service

Description: What do diverse events such as the integration of the University of Mississippi, the federal trials of Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa, the confrontation at Ruby Ridge, and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina have in common? The U.S. Marshals were instrumental in all of them. Whether pursuing dangerous felons in each of the 94 judicial districts or extraditing them from other countries; protecting federal judges, prosecutors, and witnesses from threats; transporting and maintaining prisoners and detainees; or administering the sale of assets obtained from criminal activity, the U.S. Marshals Service has adapted and overcome a mountain of barriers since their founding (on September 24, 1789) as the oldest federal law enforcement organization. In Forging the Star, historian David S. Turk lifts the fog around the agency’s complex modern period. From the inside, he allows a look within the storied organization. The research and writing of this singular account took over a decade, drawn from fresh primary source material with interviews from active or retired management, deputy U.S. marshals who witnessed major events, and the administrative personnel who supported them. Forging the Star is a comprehensive official history that will answer many questions about this legendary agency. The contents include: Origins of a modern agency -- The thirties and forties: roots of disparate duties -- The fifties: signs of a coming era -- Walking in fire: the 1960s in America -- Catalysts of change -- Focal points -- End of an era -- The seventies: moving beyond civil disturbance -- The new director -- The resurgence of protective operations -- Facing protest and peril -- Regionalization, Patty Hearst and Guam -- An evolution of leadership -- The eighties: redefinition -- Strike teams and high-profile prisoners -- The development of a golden age -- Unique enforcement operations -- The U.S. Marshals improvement revolution ...
Date: July 2016
Creator: Turk, David S.

Life with a Superhero: Raising Michael Who Has Down Syndrome

Description: Over twenty years ago, in a small Israeli town, a desperate mother told a remarkable lie. She told her friends and family that her newborn child had died. That lie became the catalyst for the unfolding truth of the adoption of that same baby—Michael —who is, in fact, very much alive and now twenty-two years old. He also has Down syndrome. When Kathryn Hulings adopted Michael as an infant, she could not have known that he would save her life when she became gravely ill and was left forever physically compromised. Her story delights in how Michael’s life and hers, while both marked by difference and challenge, are forever intertwined in celebration and laughter. With candor and a sense of humor, Life With a Superhero wraps itself around the raucous joy of Michael’s existence with his four older siblings who play hard and love big; how Kathryn and her husband, Jim, utilize unconventional techniques in raising kids; the romance between Michael and his fiancée, Casey; the power of dance in Michael's life as an equalizing and enthralling force; the staggering potential and creativity of those who are differently-abled; and the mind-blowing politics of how Kathryn navigated school systems and societal attitudes that at times fought to keep Michael excluded from the lives of kids deemed “normal.” No other books about the parenting experience outline what to do when, say, a child runs across the roof of a tri-level house pretending he can fly, or shows up in a 7th grade social studies class dressed like Spiderman, or calls 911 when his girlfriend breaks his heart. But, as Michael’s mom, Kathryn has been trying to figure how to be a mother in just such circumstances—sometimes with success, sometimes with dismal failure—for over two decades.
Date: July 15, 2013
Creator: Hulings, Kathryn U.

Rawhide Ranger, Ira Aten: Enforcing Law on the Texas Frontier

Description: Ira Aten (1862-1953) was the epitome of a frontier lawman. At age twenty he enrolled in Company D during the transition of the Rangers from Indian fighters to topnotch peace officers. This unit—and Aten—would have a lively time making their mark in nineteenth-century Texas. The preponderance of Texas Ranger treatments center on the outfit as an institution or spotlight the narratives of specific captains. Bob Alexander aptly demonstrated in Winchester Warriors: Texas Rangers of Company D, 1874-1901 that there is merit in probing the lives of everyday working Rangers. Aten is an ideal example. The years Ira spent as a Ranger are jam-packed with adventure, border troubles, shoot-outs, solving major crimes—a quadruple homicide—and manhunts. Aten’s role in these and epochal Texas events such as the racially insensitive Jaybird/Woodpecker Feud and the bloody Fence Cutting Wars earned Ira’s spot in the Ranger Hall of Fame. His law enforcing deeds transcend days with the Rangers. Ira served two counties as sheriff, terms spiked with excitement. Afterward, for ten years on the XIT, he was tasked with clearing the ranch’s Escarbada Division of cattle thieves. Aten’s story spins on an axis of spine-tingling Texas history. Moving to California, Ira was active in transforming the Imperial Valley from raw desert into an agricultural oasis. Unmistakably he was public spirited and committed to community betterment. Relying on primary source documents to build a platform for this meticulously researched and comprehensive biography with 1000 endnotes and 100 remarkable old-time photographs, Alexander gives us Ira Aten in the round—evenhandedly—the true story of a Ranger tough as rawhide.
Date: July 15, 2011
Creator: Alexander, Bob

Shoot the Conductor: Too Close to Monteux, Szell, and Ormandy

Description: Anshel Brusilow was born in 1928 and raised in Philadelphia by musical Russian Jewish parents in a neighborhood where practicing your instrument was as normal as hanging out the laundry. By the time he was sixteen, he was appearing as soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra. He also met Pierre Monteux at sixteen, when Monteux accepted him into his summer conducting school. Under George Szell, Brusilow was associate concertmaster at the Cleveland Orchestra until Ormandy snatched him away to make him concertmaster in Philadelphia, where he remained from 1959 to 1966. Ormandy and Brusilow had a father-son relationship, but Brusilow could not resist conducting, to Ormandy's great displeasure. By the time he was forty, Brusilow had sold his violin and formed his own chamber orchestra in Philadelphia with more than a hundred performances per year. For three years he was conductor of the Dallas Symphony, until he went on to shape the orchestral programs at Southern Methodist University and the University of North Texas. Brusilow played with or conducted many top-tier classical musicians, and he has opinions about each and every one. He also made many recordings. Co-written with Robin Underdahl, his memoir is a fascinating and unique view of American classical music during an important era, as well as an inspiring story of a working-class immigrant child making good in a tough arena.
Date: July 2015
Creator: Brusilow, Anshel & Underdahl, Robin

Vengeance Is Mine: the Scandalous Love Triangle That Triggered the Boyce-sneed Feud

Description: The 1912 Boyce-Sneed feud in West Texas began with a torrid sex scandal at the core of a love triangle, featuring Lena Snyder Sneed, the high-spirited, headstrong wife; Al Boyce, Jr., Lena’s reckless, romantic lover; and John Beal Sneed, Lena’s arrogant, grim, and vindictive husband, who responded to Lena’s plea for a divorce by having her locked up in an insane asylum on grounds of “moral insanity.” The chase was on after Al rescued Lena from the asylum and the lovers fled to Canada. That’s when the killings began. No one who knew the vengeful John Beal Sneed doubted for a moment that he would go after his wife’s lover with lethal intent. Frustrated by Al’s escape to Canada, Sneed assassinated Al’s aged and unarmed father, Colonel Albert Boyce, a wealthy Amarillo banker and former manager of the huge XIT Ranch in the Panhandle during the late nineteenth century, who had been defending his son against Sneed’s legal machinations. Newspaper headlines predicted the upcoming murder trial would be the “greatest legal battle ever fought in Texas Courts.” Sneed’s well-paid legal team first earned him a mistrial. While awaiting his second trial, Sneed ambushed and killed Al Boyce, Jr., who had foolishly returned to Amarillo and was shot in the back, with witnesses present, while walking the main street. Sneed was acquitted in his second trial for killing the father, and later acquitted for the killing of son Al Boyce, Jr., as well—his legal team skillfully invoking the self-help justice of the unwritten law defending one’s marital home. Bill Neal, attorney and writer, tells the full story of this sordid affair with special analysis of the trial tactics that were so carefully crafted to resonate with the jurors of this era and ensure Sneed’s acquittal.
Date: July 15, 2011
Creator: Neal, Bill