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900 Miles on the Butterfield Trail

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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Date: November 15, 1994
Creator: Greene, A.C.

American Voudou: Journey Into a Hidden World

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 the voudou world also offer a radically different entree into a half-hidden, half-mythical South, and by extension into an alternate soul of America. Readers interested in the dynamic relationships between religion and society, and in the choices made by people caught in the flux of conflict, will be heartened by this unique story of survival and even renaissance of what may have been the most persecuted religion in American history.
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Date: November 15, 1999
Creator: Davis, Rod

Both Sides of the Border: a Scattering of Texas Folklore

Description: Texas has a large population who has lived on both sides of the border and created a folkloric mix that makes Texas unique. Both Sides of the Border gets its name from its emphasis on recently researched Tex-Mex folklore. But we recognize that Texas has other borders besides the Rio Grande. We use that title with the folklorist’s knowledge that all of this state’s songs, tales, and traditions have lived and prospered on the other sides of Texas borders at one time or another before they crossed the rivers and became “ours.” Chapters are organized thematically, and include favorite storytellers like James Ward Lee, Thad Sitton, and Jerry Lincecum. Lee’s beloved “Hell is for He-Men” appears here, along with Sitton’s informative essay on Texas freedman’s settlements. Both Sides of the Border contains something to delight everyone interested in Texas folklore.
Date: November 15, 2004
Creator: Abernethy, Francis Edward & Untiedt, Kenneth L.

A Different Face of War: Memories of a Medical Service Corps Officer in Vietnam

Description: Assigned as the senior medical advisor to the Army of the Republic of Vietnam in I Corps, an area close to the DMZ, James G. Van Straten traveled extensively and interacted with military officers and non-commissioned officers, peasant-class farmers, Buddhist bonzes, shopkeepers, scribes, physicians, nurses, the mentally ill, and even political operatives. He sent his wife daily letters from July 1966 through June 1967, describing in impressive detail his experiences, and those letters became the primary source for his memoir. The author is grateful that his wife retained all the letters he wrote to her and their children during the year they were apart. The author describes with great clarity and poignancy the anguish among the survivors when an American cargo plane in bad weather lands short of the Da Nang Air Base runway on Christmas Eve and crashes into a Vietnamese coastal village, killing more than 100 people and destroying their village; the heart-wrenching pleadings of a teenage girl that her shrapnel-ravaged leg not be amputated; and the anger of an American helicopter pilot who made repeated trips into a hot landing zone to evacuate the wounded, only to have the Vietnamese insist that the dead be given a higher priority.
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Date: November 2015
Creator: Van Straten, Jim

Donut Dolly: an American Red Cross Girl's War in Vietnam

Description: Donut Dolly puts you in the Vietnam War face down in the dirt under a sniper attack, inside a helicopter being struck by lightning, at dinner next to a commanding general, and slogging through the mud along a line of foxholes. You see the war through the eyes of one of the first women officially allowed in the combat zone. When Joann Puffer Kotcher left for Vietnam in 1966, she was fresh out of the University of Michigan with a year of teaching, and a year as an American Red Cross Donut Dolly in Korea. All she wanted was to go someplace exciting. In Vietnam, she visited troops from the Central Highlands to the Mekong Delta, from the South China Sea to the Cambodian border. At four duty stations, she set up recreation centers and made mobile visits wherever commanders requested. That included Special Forces Teams in remote combat zone jungles. She brought reminders of home, thoughts of a sister or the girl next door. Officers asked her to take risks because they believed her visits to the front lines were important to the men. Every Vietnam veteran who meets her thinks of her as a brother-at-arms. Donut Dolly is Kotcher’s personal view of the war, recorded in a journal kept during her tour, day by day as she experienced it. It is a faithful representation of the twists and turns of the turbulent, controversial time. While in Vietnam, Kotcher was once abducted; dodged an ambush in the Delta; talked with a true war hero in a hospital who had charged a machine gun; and had a conversation with a prostitute. A rare account of an American Red Cross volunteer in Vietnam, Donut Dolly will appeal to those interested in the Vietnam War, to those who have interest in the ...
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Date: November 15, 2011
Creator: Kotcher, Joann Puffer

The Expense of a View

Description: The stories in The Expense of a View explore the psyches of characters under extreme duress. In the title story, a woman who has moved across the country in an attempt to leave her past behind dumps an empty suitcase into the Columbia River over and over again. In another story, a woman who wakes up mornings only to discover she's been shooting heroin in a night trance, meets her doppelganger on a rainy Oregon beach. Most of the characters are displaced and disturbed; they suffer from dissociative disorders, denial, and delusions. The settings—Florida, eastern Washington, Seattle, and the Oregon coast—mirror their lunacies. While refusing to look at what’s right in front of themselves might destroy them, it’s equally likely to be just what they need.The contents include: Honey -- Night train -- Void of course -- The expense of a view -- Three of swords -- Thinking about Carson -- Compliance -- My old man -- My doppelganger's arms -- Festival -- How to make an island -- Blue plastic shades -- The grandmother's vision -- The island of cats.
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Date: November 2016
Creator: Buckingham, Polly

Hell in an Loc: the 1972 Easter Invasion and the Battle That Saved South Viet Nam

Description: In 1972 a North Vietnamese offensive of more than 30,000 men and 100 tanks smashed into South Vietnam and raced to capture Saigon. All that stood in their way was a small band of 6,800 South Vietnamese (ARVN) soldiers and militiamen, and a handful of American advisors with U.S. air support, guarding An Loc, a town sixty miles north of Saigon and on the main highway to it. This depleted army, outnumbered and outgunned, stood its ground and fought to the end and succeeded. Against all expectations, the ARVN beat back furious assaults from three North Vietnamese divisions, supported by artillery and armored regiments, during three months of savage fighting. This victory was largely unreported in the U.S. media, which had effectively lost interest in the war after the disengagement of most U.S. forces. Thi believes that it is time to set the record straight. Without denying the tremendous contribution of the U.S. advisors and pilots, this book is written primarily to tell the South Vietnamese side of the story and, more importantly, to render justice to the South Vietnamese soldier.
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Date: November 15, 2009
Creator: Lâm, Quang Thi

A History of Fort Worth in Black & White 165 Years of African-American Life

Description: A History of Fort Worth in Black & White fills a long-empty niche on the Fort Worth bookshelf: a scholarly history of the city's black community that starts at the beginning with Ripley Arnold and the early settlers, and comes down to today with our current battles over education, housing, and representation in city affairs. The book's sidebars on some noted and some not-so-noted African Americans make it appealing as a school text as well as a book for the general reader. Using a wealth of primary sources, Richard Selcer dispels several enduring myths, for instance the mistaken belief that Camp Bowie trained only white soldiers, and the spurious claim that Fort Worth managed to avoid the racial violence that plagued other American cities in the twentieth century. Selcer arrives at some surprisingly frank conclusions that will challenge current politically correct notions. "Selcer does a great job of exploring little-known history about the military, education, sports and even some social life and organizations."--Bob Ray Sanders, author of Calvin Littlejohn: Portrait of a Community in Black and White.
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Date: November 2015
Creator: Selcer, Richard F.

Houston Blue: The Story of the Houston Police Department

Description: Houston Blue offers the first comprehensive history of one of the nation’s largest police forces, the Houston Police Department. Through extensive archival research and more than one hundred interviews with prominent Houston police figures, politicians, news reporters, attorneys, and others, authors Mitchel P. Roth and Tom Kennedy chronicle the development of policing in the Bayou City from its days as a grimy trading post in the 1830s to its current status as the nation’s fourth largest city. Prominent historical figures who have brushed shoulders with Houston’s Finest over the past 175 years include Houdini, Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders, O. Henry, former Texas Ranger Frank Hamer, hatchet wielding temperance leader Carrie Nation, the Hilton Siamese Twins, blues musician Leadbelly, oilman Silver Dollar Jim West, and many others. The Houston Police Department was one of the first cities in the South to adopt fingerprinting as an identification system and use the polygraph test, and under the leadership of its first African American police chief, Lee Brown, put the theory of neighborhood oriented policing into practice in the 1980s. The force has been embroiled in controversy and high profile criminal cases as well. Among the cases chronicled in the book are the Dean Corll, Dr. John Hill, and Sanford Radinsky murders; controversial cases involving the department’s crime lab; the killings of Randy Webster and Joe Campos Torres; and the Camp Logan, Texas Southern University, and Moody Park Riots.
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Date: November 15, 2012
Creator: Roth, Mitchel P.

In These Times the Home Is a Tired Place: Stories

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 form that’s available to them. As characters become girlfriends, wives, husbands, and mothers, they struggle within their roles, either fighting to escape them or struggling to “play” them correctly, but always concerned with the loss of individuality, of being swallowed up by society’s expectations and becoming “a mother” or “a wife” instead of remaining themselves.
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Date: November 15, 2013
Creator: Hollander, Jessica

Inside the Classroom (And Out): How We Learn Through Folklore

Description: Inside the Classroom (and Out) examines folklore and its many roles in education. Several articles explore teaching in rural school houses in the early twentieth century, while others provide insight into more serious academic scholarship in the field of folklore itself. One chapter looks at the “early years,” including works about day care centers, scout programs, children’s books, and the basic definition of what we mean by "folklore." Another chapter covers high school: cheerleading, football, yearbooks, and beliefs of Hispanic students. There is a chapter dedicated to Paul Patterson and his contribution to teaching; a chapter that covers college experiences, with stories about early Aggies, ghosts on university campuses, and collegiate cowgirls; and a chapter involving scholarly works, such as ways to help improve our memories, a linguistic study of cowboy poetry, and a comprehensive look at folklore studies.
Date: November 15, 2005
Creator: Untiedt, Kenneth L.

Irish Girl: Stories

Description: Inside Tim Johnston's Irish Girl, readers will find spellbinding stories of loss, absence, and the devastating effects of chance—of what happens when the unthinkable bad luck of other people, of other towns, becomes our bad luck, our town. The contents include: Dirt men -- Water -- Things go missing -- Antlerless hunt -- Jumping man -- Lucky gorseman -- Up there -- Irish girl.
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Date: November 2009
Creator: Johnston, Tim, 1962-

Last Known Position

Description: Most of the nine stories in Last Known Position were written upon James Mathews’ return from combat deployment to the Middle East with the D.C. Air National Guard. Life under fire provided the author with both dramatic events and a heightened sense of observation, allowing him to suggest the stress of combat as the driving factor behind extreme yet believable characterization and action. Military experiences and settings cause certain human elements and truisms to emerge more profoundly and dramatically. These stories portray desperate characters driven to make desperate choices. Always on the edge of a dark and unpleasant reality, Mathews’ characters survive by embracing fantasy, humor, violence, and sometimes redemption. Each story bears its own brand of hopeless quirkiness. Four teenagers on an army base steal a grenade and are stalked by a parade horse. A drifter returns home to rob the grandparents who raised him. A national guardsman faces a homicidal superior officer in Iraq on the eve of war. An elderly man worries that his wife’s new house guests are unrepentant cannibals. Always tense, sometimes ridiculous, and never dull, Last Known Position brings the reader to places unknown before and unforgettable after.
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Date: November 15, 2008
Creator: Mathews, James

Last Words of the Holy Ghost

Description: Funny, heartbreaking, and real--these twelve stories showcase a dynamic range of voices belonging to characters who can't stop confessing. They are obsessive storytellers, disturbed professors, depressed auctioneers, gambling clergy. A fourteen-year-old boy gets baptized and speaks in tongues to win the love of a girl who ushers him into adulthood; a troubled insomniac searches the woods behind his mother's house for the "awful pretty" singing that begins each midnight; a school-system employee plans a year-end party at the site of a child's drowning; a burned-out health-care administrator retires from New England to coastal Georgia and stumbles upon a life-changing moment inside Walmart. These big-hearted people--tethered to the places that shape them--survive their daily sorrows and absurdities with well-timed laughter; they slouch toward forgiveness, and they point their ears toward the Holy Ghost's last words. "In its precise prose and spooky intelligence and sharp-eyed examination of the condemned kind we are, Last Words of the Holy Ghost is an original. Listen: if you can find a collection of stories more cohesive, more ambitious in reach, more generous in its passion, and fancier in its footwork, I will buy it for you and deliver it in person. In the meantime, put some Matt Cashion between your ears and then try to resist the temptation to dash into the street and shout ‘hallelujah' at your neighbors."--Lee K. Abbott, author of All Things, All at Once: New and Selected Stories and judge
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Date: November 2015
Creator: Cashion, Matthew Deshe

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

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.
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Date: November 15, 2006
Creator: Theisen, Olive Jensen

Mexican Light: Healthy Cuisine for Today's Cook

Description: Did you know that Pre-Columbian Mexican cuisine was low in fat and high in fiber and vitamins? Based on corn, squash, tomatoes, beans, and lean meats, the everyday diet of the first Americans was remarkably close to the recommendations for healthy eating we hear about every day. Now for the first time, cooks can use the secrets of the Aztecs in today’s kitchen, thanks to Kris Rudolph’s thoroughly researched cookbook. And because cooks from both sides of the border will be eager to try these recipes, Rudolph presents the recipes and text in Spanish on facing pages. The book opens with a short introduction outlining the history of Mexican cooking, followed by an overview of healthy eating habits, a description of the most common ingredients, and a useful guide to planning for parties. The fifty recipes cover everything from appetizers to after-dinner refreshers and each includes the number of calories, amounts of total fat and saturated fat, grams of carbohydrates, and amount of fiber. Rudolph suggests low-fat and low-carbohydrate alternatives, as well as ways to vary the spiciness.
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Date: November 15, 2006
Creator: Rudolph, Kris

Out of Time: Stories

Description: A sweet slipstream stew, a call and response to Hemingway’s In Our Time, Geoff Schmidt’s debut collection Out of Time is a meditation on meaning and mortality, and the ways that story and the imagined life can sustain us. In these stories, vengeful infants destroy and rebuild the world, rivalrous siblings and their mother encounter witches and ghosts and the possessed, Barack Obama and Keith Richards smoke their last cigarettes, men and women with cancer variously don gorilla suits or experience all time simultaneously. Time is running out for all of the people in these stories, yet the power of language, the human ability to tell, to imagine and invent, is a redemptive force. “The stories in Out of Time chase after the secrets and sorrows of families, revealing the lengths people will go, and the harm they will do, to keep their worlds together. These characters are not crazy, they are in love and afraid. Geoff Schmidt writes a lucid, new mythology in prose that's limned with fear and awe. To read these stories is to feel the force and urgency of a new and vital literary voice.”—Ben Marcus, author of Age of Wire and String, and judge
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Date: November 15, 2011
Creator: Schmidt, Geoff

Proof: Photographs from Four Generations of a Texas Family

Description: "The Byrd Williams Collection at the University of North Texas contains more than 10,000 prints and 300,000 negatives, accumulated by four generations of Texas photographers, all named Byrd Moore Williams. Beginning in the 1880s in Gainesville, the four Byrds photographed customers in their studios, urban landscapes, crime scenes, Pancho Villa's soldiers, televangelists, and whatever aroused their unpredictable and wide-ranging curiosity. When Byrd IV sat down to choose a selection from this dizzying array, he came face to face with the nature of mortality and memory, his own and his family's. In some cases these photos are the only evidence remaining that someone lived and breathed on this earth"--Amazon. The contents include: Foreword : One bright thread / Roy Flukinger -- Photographs : The family album -- Landscape -- Postcard -- The Great Depression -- Studio -- People -- Non-people -- Violence and religion in Texas -- Night -- Afterword : Palimpsest / Anne Wilkes Tucker.
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Date: November 2016
Creator: Williams, Byrd M., IV

The Road to Safwan: the 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry in the 1991 Persian Gulf War

Description: The Road to Safwan is a complete history of the 1st Infantry Divisions cavalry unit fighting in Operation Desert Storm. Stephen A. Bourque and John W. Burdan III served in the 1st Infantry--Bourque in Division Headquarters, Burdan as the Operations Officer of the 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry. Based on extensive interviews and primary sources, Bourque and Burdan provide the most in-depth coverage to date of a battalion-level unit in the 1991 war, showing how the unit deployed, went into combat, and adapted to changing circumstances. The authors describe how the officers and men moved from the routine of cold war training to leading the Big Red One in battle through the Iraqi defenses and against the Iraqi Republican Guard. The 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry participated in the 1st Brigade attack on G-Day, the large tank battle for Objective Norfolk, the cutting of Basra Road, and the capture of Safwan Airfield, the site where General H. Norman Schwartzkopf conducted cease-fire negotiations with the Iraqis. The squadrons activities are placed squarely within the context of both division and corps activities, which illustrates the fog of war, the chain of command, and the uncertainty of information affecting command decisions. The Road to Safwan challenges the myth that technology won the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Contrary to popular view, it was a soldiers war not much different from previous conflicts in its general nature. What was different was the quality and intensity of the units training, which resulted, repeatedly, in successful engagements and objectives secured. It is the story of the people, not the machines, which ultimately led this squadron to the small town of Safwan. “The Road to Safwan is a magnificent story about one of the oldest and most decorated Cavalry Squadrons in the US Army. It is a most accurate description ...
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Date: November 15, 2007
Creator: Bourque, Stephen A. & Burdan, John

The Roots of Latino Urban Agency

Description: The 2010 U.S. Census data showed that over the last decade the Latino population grew from 35.3 million to 50.5 million, accounting for more than half of the nation’s population growth. The editors of The Roots of Latino Urban Agency, Sharon Navarro and Rodolfo Rosales, have collected essays that examine this phenomenal growth. The greatest demographic expansion of communities of Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, and Cuban Americans seeking political inclusion and access has been observed in Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, and San Antonio. Three premises guide this study. The first premise holds that in order to understand the Latino community in all its diversity, the analysis has to begin at the grassroots level. The second premise maintains that the political future of the Latino community in the United States in the twenty-first century will be largely determined by the various roles they have played in the major urban centers across the nation. The third premise argues that across the urban political landscape the Latino community has experienced different political formations, strategies and ultimately political outcomes in their various urban settings. These essays collectively suggest that political agency can encompass everything from voting, lobbying, networking, grassroots organizing, and mobilization, to dramatic protest. Latinos are in fact gaining access to the same political institutions that worked so hard to marginalize them.
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Date: November 15, 2013
Creator: Navarro, Sharon A. & Rosales, Rodolfo

A Texas Baptist Power Struggle: the Hayden Controversy

Description: The Hayden Controversy was one of the most bitter feuds in Baptist history. In the nineteenth century, Protestant denominations in Texas endured difficult transitions from a loosely organized frontier people to a more cooperative and organized body capable of meeting the needs of growing denominations. The Methodists, Churches of Christ, and Baptists all endured major splits before their survival was certain. Of all the Protestant bodies, however, the Hayden Controversy was the fiercest and most widespread, with repercussions that continue to affect current Baptist life. Joseph E. Early, Jr., tells the story of how one man, Samuel Augustus Hayden, almost destroyed the newly organized Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT) before it could take root. In the final decades of the nineteenth century, Hayden caused such unrest among Texas Baptists that after a failed attempt to take over the BGCT, he was expelled from the state body. In turn, he created a rival organization, the Baptist Missionary Association (BMA), which continued to fight perceived oppression by the BGCT. While trying to take over the BGCT, Hayden, through his newspaper, accused his enemies of embezzlement, heresy, arson, and strong-arm tactics. Haydens high-profile opponents included some of the most powerful and well-known Baptists in Texas: George Washington Truett, Benajah Harvey Carroll, and James Britton Cranfill. Through their newspapers they asserted that Hayden was insane, a liar, and a heretic. Baptists in Texas were forced to take sides in the struggle. After more than twenty years of turmoil, the controversy came to a dramatic conclusion on a train bound for the Southern Baptist Convention, where Cranfill and Hayden scuffled over a pistol. Two shots were fired; miraculously, no one was hurt. Though the main events of the Hayden Controversy occurred more than one hundred years ago, history appears to be repeating itself. On ...
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Date: November 15, 2005
Creator: Early, Joseph E. Jr.

The Upshaws of County Line: An American Family

Description: Guss, Felix, and Jim Upshaw founded the community of County Line in the 1870s in northwest Nacogdoches County, in deep East Texas. As with hundreds of other relatively autonomous black communities created at that time, the Upshaws sought a safe place to raise their children and create a livelihood during Reconstruction and Jim Crow Texas. In the late 1980s photographer Richard Orton visited County Line for the first time and became aware of a world he did not know existed as a white man. He went down the rabbit hole, so to speak, and met some remarkable people there who changed his life. The more than 50 duotone photographs and text convey the contemporary experience of growing up in a "freedom colony." Covering a period of twenty-five years, photographer Richard Orton juxtaposes his images with text from people who grew up in and have remained connected to their birthplace. Thad Sitton's foreword sets the community in historical context and Roy Flukinger points out the beauty of the documentary photographs. This book should appeal to anyone interested in American or Texas history, particularly the history of African Americans in the South in the aftermath of the Civil War. The book should also be of interest to anyone with an appreciation for documentary photography, including students and teachers of photography.
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Date: November 2014
Creator: Orton, Richard S.; Sitton, Thad & Flukinger, Roy

Venus in the Afternoon: Stories

Description: The short stories in this rich debut collection embody in their complexity Alice Munro’s description of the short story as “a world seen in a quick, glancing light.” In chiseled and elegant prose, Lieberman conjures wildly disparate worlds. A middle aged window washer, mourning his wife and an estranged daughter, begins to grow attached to a young woman he sees through the glass; a writer, against his better judgment, pursues a new relationship with a femme fatale who years ago broke his heart; and the daughter of a Holocaust survivor struggles with the delicate decision of whether to finally ask her aging mother how it was that she survived. It is all here—the exigencies of love, of lust, the raw, unlit terrain of grief. Whether plumbing the darker depths or casting a humorous eye on a doomed relationship, these stories never force a choice between tragedy and redemption, but rather invite us into the private moments and crucibles of lives as hungry and flawed as our own. “Quiet, moving, masterfully crafted. Such are the nine stories in Venus in the Afternoon. Tehila Lieberman writes with precision, restraint, with a compassionate heart. She inhabits her characters, young or old, men or women, honestly, but without judgment, until they rise off the page and stand before us breathing and alive. New York, the Atacama desert, Amsterdam or Cuzco in Peru, the settings in Venus in the Afternoon are just as varied as the lives which they contain. A wonderful collection, one that will stay in your mind long after you have bid it goodbye.” —Miroslav Penkov, author of East of the West and judge
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Date: November 15, 2012
Creator: Lieberman, Tehila

Walls That Speak: the Murals of John Thomas Biggers

Description: John Thomas Biggers (1924–2001) was one of the most significant African American artists of the twentieth century. He was known for his murals, but also for his drawings, paintings, and lithographs, and was honored by a major traveling retrospective exhibition from 1995 to 1997. He created archetypal imagery that spoke positively to the rich and varied ethnic heritage of African Americans, long before the Civil Rights era drew attention to their African cultural roots. His influence upon other artists was profound, both for the power of his art and as professor and elder statesman to younger generations. Olive Jensen Theisen’s long-time commitment to the art of John Biggers resulted from the serendipitous discovery of an early Biggers mural in a school storeroom in the mid-1980s. Theisen immediately recognized the artist, the work, and its significance. She then set about returning The History of Negro Education in Morris County, Texas to a place of honor and found herself becoming a friend and recorder of John Biggers’s stories and experiences relating to the creation of his other murals too, including Family Unity at Texas Southern University. Containing more than eighty color and black-and-white illustrations, Walls That Speak is a richly illustrated update of an earlier edition published in 1996. The artist completed new murals between its publication and his death in 2001. In addition to the inclusion of the new murals, Theisen has added a chapter on Biggers’s African art collection. The only work exclusively dedicated to his murals, this book will appeal to all those interested in murals or African American art.
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Date: November 15, 2010
Creator: Theisen, Olive Jensen