Monday, March 29, 2010

David Sedaris to Recommend Irish Girl!

In December, Playwright, NPR commentator, and bestselling author David Sedaris selected Irish Girl by Tim Johnston (University of North Texas Press, 2009) as one of his favorite books of the year.

Now, he has chosen the short story collection as the book he will be recommending on his 34-city, 2010 book tour, which he starts next week!

Bookslut recently called Johnston's stories "sharp and smart, infused with a small-town sensibility that renders them eerie and restless."

Read the review in its entirety here.

Also, be sure to catch Sedaris on his tour, which lands first in Wilmington, DE on April 6!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Houston Celebrates James Surls

The Houston Chronicle's Zest section Sunday featured a cover story on the arrival of seven pieces by artist James Surls to the Rice University campus, after their turn on New York's Park Avenue.

Surls will give a lecture at noon Tuesday in the university's Herring Hall, Room 100. His work will be on display through Aug. 31 as part of the exhibit, Magnificent Seven: Houston Celebrates Surls.

Surls's work is also featured in James Surls: In the Meadows and Beyond, edited by Jeanne Chvosta (Southern Methodist University Press, 2004). The book is the first full-length examination of Surls's life and art. It also includes an interview with the artist, a tribute by his wife, Charmaine Locke (also an artist), and commentary by Mark A. Roglán, curator of the exhibition In the Meadows: Recent Sculpture, Drawings, and Prints of James Surls (2003).

As part of the ongoing exhibit, three of Surls's bronze and steel scultures, featuring flower-, diamond-, vortex- and needle-like forms currently stand in a green space near Brochstein Pavilion, the Chronicle reported. Another three are located near the campus parking garage beneath McNair Hall, and the seventh stands in front of the BioScience Research Collaborative on University near Main.

For more on the exhibit, read the article in the Houston Chronicle.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Pacific Premiers!

Last night, millions of users tuned in to the first installment of HBO's new miniseries, The Pacific, which tracks the stories of three U.S. Marines in the Pacific Theater of World War II.

The series, executive produced by Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, and Gary Goetzman, "tracks the intertwined real-life stories of" U.S. Marines Robert Leckie, John Basilone, and Eugene Sledge from their first battle with the Japanese on Guadalcanal to their return home after V-J Day.

In conjunction with the premier, has posted an excellent historical video, "Anatomy of the Pacific War:"

Anatomy of the Pacific War

For history, memoirs, analysis, and more on the Pacific Theater, check out these great titles from Texas A&M University Press Consortium:

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Ghosts of Iwo Jima

The 5th Division hits the beach on D-Day, 19 February 1945. The dead and living mingle.

"I've lived with those memories all of my life and it was not something I ever wanted to go back to."─Jerry Yelin, World War II P-51 fighter pilot, to CNN

In a recent story on CNN, World War II veterans talked about their emotional pilgrimage to Iwo Jima for the Tour of Honor, an annual commemoration of the 35-day battle.

In February 1945, some 80,000 U.S. Marines attacked the heavily defended fortress thatt the Japanese had constructed on the tiny Pacific Island. About 22,000 Japanese soldiers died defending Iwo Jima, along with more than 6,000 Americans.

The article alludes to how the battle proved to be "longer and deadlier than planners had anticipated, depleding much of the U.S. military's resources."

In The Ghosts of Iwo Jima (Texas A&M University Press, 2006), Captain Robert S. Burrell reconsiders the costs of taking Iwo Jima and its role in the war effort. He asserts that the Air Forces' fighter operations on Iwo Jima subsequently proved both unproductive and unnecessary.

An excerpt:

"With the start of World War II, the U.S. armed services made enormous transitions. The size of the naval operations dwarfed anything witnessed in American history. At the same time, the Army and Navy were forced to work together as never before in ambitious joint operations. Since the pre-war military had distinctly divided Army and Navy responsibilities based upon geographical boundaries of land and sea, amphibious operations in the Pacific left much ambiguity over how best to integrate service efforts. The creation of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was a giant leap forward in unified command of the armed services. Still, the Army and Navy had great difficulty working together, both in Washington and abroad. Intense rivalry continued to influence problematic command arrangements and had tragic repercussions, especially in the Pacific.

Army/Navy division of the Pacific Theater, 1942

Considering Iwo Jima within the overall context of the Pacific war demonstrates that Operation Detachment was influenced by U.S. service interests. Plans to seize Iwo Jima began as a result of Army Air Forces strategy. The Army Air Forces sought to provide fighter escort from an intermediate air base between the Marianas and Japan in order to improve B-29 Superfortress performance. Although there were many small islands in the Nanpo Shoto, none had both the ideal terrain and the proper location to meet the Army Air Forces' requirements. Because General Arnold desperately sought to demonstrate the value of an independent air force through the performance of the B-29, he strongly urged the capture of the most suitable island anyway. Although Iwo Jima had an appropriate landscape for large airfields, distance from mainland Japan, adverse weather conditions, and limitations of the P-51 Mustang proved detrimental to effective U.S. fighter support. Planners from 1943 onward had expressed doubts that seizing Iwo Jima would justify its cost. They also doubted the ability of fighters to operate such long distances to mainland Japan. Admiral Spruance, ther leading Navy officer to adhere to the Army Air Forces' desires, retained deep reservations about the island's value throughout the planning and preparation process. In retrospect, one could certainly question whether the price was worth the gain─an approach that strongly contrasts with the embellished justifications given in most scholarship on the subject. . . "

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Texas State Historical Association Annual Meeting and Awards

Tejano Leadership in Mexican and Revolutionary Texas Editor Jesús F. de la Teja and contributors sign copies of the newly released book at the Texas State Historical Association annual meeting.

The Texas State Historical Association's annual meeting is always a huge event for the Texas A&M University Press Consortium. And, this past weekend in Dallas was no exception.

Authors for most of our imprints ─ Texas A&M University Press, TSHA Press, University of North Texas Press, Texas Christian University Press, Southern Methodist University Press, Texas Review Press, and State House/McWhiney Foundation Press ─ attended in force to sign books, and at least a dozen authors received awards or other recognition.

The highlights:

Drs. James E. Crisp of North Carolina State University and Emilio Zamora of the University of Texas were named 2009 Fellows of the association with Donaly E. Brice of the Texas State Library.

Crisp is co-author of How Did Davy Die? And Why Do We Care So Much? (TAMU Press, 2010) and an author of the expanded edition of With Santa Anna in Texas: A Personal Narrative of the Revoluation (TAMU Press, 1997).

Zamora is author of Claiming Rights and Righting Wrongs in Texas: Mexican Workers and Job Politics in World War II (TAMU Press, 2009), Mexican Americans in Texas History, Selected Essays (TSHA Press, 2000), and The World of the Mexican Worker in Texas (TAMU Press, 2000).

Zamora also picked up the Coral Horton Tullis Memorial Prize for Claiming Rights and Righting Wrongs in Texas, for the best book on Texas published during the calendar year.

Emilio Zamora, author of Claiming Rights and Righting Wrongs in Texas, accepts the Tullis Memorial Prize.

Dr. Kyle G. Wilkison, author of Yeomen, Sharecroppers, and Socialists: Plain Folk Protest in Texas, 1870-1914 (TAMU Press, 2008),received the Kate Broocks Bates Award for Historical Research for a signigicant piece of historical research dealing with any phase of Texas history prior to 1900. Wilkison, a professor of history at Collin College, is also co-author of the newly released The Texas Left: The Radical Roots of Lone Star Liberalism (TAMU Press, 2010).

Kyle Wilkison, author of Yeomen, Sharecroppers, and Socialists, accepts the Kate Broocks Bates Award.

Congrats to Dr. Michael Botson of Houston Community College received the Mary M. Hughes Research Fellowship in Texas History for the best research proposal on twentieth-century Texas History. He is author of Labor, Civil Rights, and the Hughes Tool Company (TAMU Press, 2005).

Dr. Elizabeth Hayes Turner of the University of North Texas received the John H. Jenkins Research Fellowship in Texas History for the best research proposal having to do with Texas history. Hayes Turner was an editor of Lone Star Pasts: Memory and History in Texas (TAMU Press, 2006).

Also, the Texas A&M University Department of History and Texas A&M University Press presented the 2010 Robert A. Calvert Book Prize to The Texas Left, by Wilkison and Dr. David Cullen of Collin College, during the annual meeting.

Congratulations to our award-winning authors!

The Texas A&M University Press Consortium team at the Texas State Historical Association annual meeting. Photo includes Ron Chrisman (UNT), Paula Oates (UNT), Karen DeVinney (UNT), Melinda Esco (TCU), Sharon Mills (TAMU), Kent Calder (TSHA), Stephen Hardin (State House/McWhiney Foundation Press), Don Frazier (SHMFP), George Ann Ratchford (SMU), Kathie Lang (SMU), Beth Alvarez (TSHA), Amy Smith (SHMW), Susan Petty (TCU), Gayla Christiansen (TAMU), Holli Estridge (TAMU), Keith Gregory (SMU), and Paul Ruffin (TRP)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Rolando Briseño in San Antonio Express-News

As the twentieth century drew to a close, renowned Mexican American artist Rolando Briseño mounted an exhibition of work titled "La Mesa de Moctezuma/Moctezuma's Table."

A number of artists, writers, poets, and scholars who know his work will soon be featured as part of a forthcoming book on the exhibit, Moctezuma's Table: Rolando Briseño's Mexican and Chicano Tablescapes, edited by Norma Cantú. The book is currently scheduled for a Fall 2010 release.

The San Antonio Express-News recently featured a seven-course dinner Briseño hosted for ten family members at his home, commemorating a meal his ancestors held in Mexico on Jan. 27, 1910, for his grandparents after they returned home from their honeymoon.

The Express-News describes the dinner party, which Briseño calls "Ancestral Tablescape" as "part gourmet meal, part art project and part memorial to family members who died long ago."

Read the article in its entirety here, and follow this link to see a slideshow of photos from the dinner.