Tuesday, December 20, 2011

TAMU Press author, Brandon Rottinghaus comments on Perry’s Ad

Governor Perry's latest ad, entitled "Strong," attracted roughly 750,000 views on YouTube in two days.

Brandon Rottinghaus, author of The Provisional Pulpit: Modern Presidential Leadership of Public Opinion (TAMU 2010) and Associate Professor of political science at UH commented on the controversial ad on KUHF Houston Public Radio. He says commenters who declared the ad promotes hatred and violence are more representative of the general electorate.

"His strategy right now is to ignore the general public at this stage, and focus in on the voters who are of very conservative stripe, but who are also very active. And that is going to be his strategy for trying to pry off some of the votes that have been siphoned by Newt Gingrich." — Rottinghaus

Rottinghaus also said that by hitting cultural issues so strongly, Perry has found a way to differentiate himself from the front-runners in Iowa.

Watch Perry’s ad here:

Rottinghaus’s The Provisional Pulpit: Modern Presidential Leadership of Public Opinion is for sale on the Press website and available in an edition. Read more about the book and get your own copy now!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Texas State students and staff launch Center for Texas Public History under TAMU Press author direction

The National Park Service needed help researching the history of a former Secret Service command outpost at the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park at Stonewall and turned to public history professors Lynn Denton and Dan Utley in the Department of History at Texas State University-San Marcos.

Under Denton and Utley’s guidance, graduate researched a wide variety of records to complete a detailed analysis of the nationally significant historic site and recommended ways to interpret the building’s historic significance to park visitors.

“The students collected many stories from Secret Service agents and others who served at the LBJ Ranch during Johnson’s presidency,” said Utley. “The stories show LBJ’s personal side and his family’s interaction with the Secret Service. Now, the Park Service will be able to relate these stories to the public through that little Secret Service building near the ‘Texas White House.’”

Because Texas State’s History Department receives so many
requests for help with historical research and interpretation, the Center for Texas Public History was created to respond to the requests.

Details on the Center for Texas Public History:
-to be staffed by faculty and students in the department’s graduate program in public history
- Will focus on museum work, oral history, and cultural resource management available to government agencies, museums, historical commissions, community organizations and others that need help in researching and interpreting historical information for the public

Dan Utley is also the co-author of History Ahead: Stories beyond the Texas Roadside Markers (TAMU 2010).
History Ahead offers a rich array of local stories that interweave with the broader regional and national context, touching on themes of culture, art, music, technology, the environment, oil, aviation, and folklore, among other topics. Utley and author Cynthia Beeman have located these forgotten gems, polished them up to a high shine, and offered them along with convenient maps and directions to the marker sites.

For more information on The Center for Texas Public History, read “Texas State establishes new Center for Texas Public History” by Ann Friou.

Visit the Press website to read more about History Ahead, Dan Utley and order your copy!

Author Tyler Priest comments on Halliburton's BP spill claims

Halliburton has been in the news in defense against accusations it intentionally destroyed evidence about the quality of cement slurry in an oil well that blew out in the Gulf of Mexico. The cement job on the Macondo well is expected to play a big role in
the court battle scheduled to start Feb. 27 in New Orleans of who should bear the blame for the blowout that killed 11 workers and led to the nation's worst offshore oil spill.

Tyler Priest, a University of Houston historian who specializes in the Gulf oil industry and author of The Offshore Imperative (TAMU 2007) confirms the cement failure will be a big issue in Cain Burdeau’s article “Halliburton defends itself against BP spill claims.”

"It seems like the big litigation is going to be between BP and its contractors," Priest said. "There's a lot of money at stake, and it's going to be decided in the courts."

Read the full article here.
Priest’s The Offshore Imperative gives a detailed account of the modern history of Shell Oil. Drawing on interviews with Shell retirees and many other sources, Priest relates how the imagination, talent, and hard work of personnel at all levels shaped the evolution of the company. The narrative also covers important aspects of Shell Oil’s corporate evolution, but the comp
any’s pioneering steps into the deep water fields of the Gulf of Mexico are its signature achievement. Priest’s study demonstrates that engineers did not suddenly create methods for finding and producing oil and gas from astounding water depths. Rather, they built on a half-century of accumulated knowledge and improvements to technical systems.
Read more about The Offshore Imperative and order your own copy here.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Author Steven Fenberg appears on KUHT-TV’s Science and Technology Night

Steven Fenberg, author of Unprecedented Power (TAMU 2011), recently appeared on KUHT-TV's Science and Technology night. He talked about Jesse Holman Jones and the Reconstruction Finance Corporation’s development of synthetic rubber, a perfect topic for Pearl Harbor Day. View the full interview below!

In Unprecedented Power, Fenberg tells the story of Jesse Holman Jones, the Houston businessman who went to Washington as an appointed official and provided the pragmatic leadership that salvaged capitalism during the Great Depression and militarized industry in time to fight and win World War II.

Jones—an entrepreneur with an eighth- grade education who built Houston’s tallest buildings of the time—was considered to be the most powerful person in the nation, next to President Roosevelt. As chairman of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, Jones saved farms, homes, banks and businesses; built infrastructure; set the price of gold with FDR each morning in the president’s bedroom; and in the process made a substantial profit for the government. Then Jones turned the RFC’s focus from domestic economics to global defense.

Read more about Unprecedented Power and order your own copy here.

Monday, December 12, 2011

New Rudder exhibit at Texas A&M University

James Earl Rudder. If you don’t already know the significance of his name, travel to Aggieland and you will find the decorated war hero-turned-transformational A&M president’s name is all over town. The building that houses the current university president, the main local freeway and the University visitor’s center are all named after the esteemed former TAMU president and war hero.

Appropriately, the newest exhibit at Texas A&M University’s Cushing Memorial Library & Archives spotlights the life of James Earl Rudder. The exhibit, "From Pointe du Hoc to College Station," opened with a lecture by Thomas M. Hatfield, author of Rudder: From Leader to Legend (TAMU 2011), a book about the life of Rudder. Rudder: From Leader to Legend pays full tribute to Rudder, a man who exemplified leadership, vision, and courage.

TAMU Times recently gave a detailed look into the exhibit’s features:

“The exhibit highlights correspondence, documents and memorabilia from the James Earl Rudder Collection donated by his wife Margaret E. Rudder in 2002. Items on display include a wooden map case with maps used for the D-Day invasion, a dress uniform, French Legion of Honour and Croix de Guerre medals and his historic speech delivered April 27, 1963, supporting the admittance of women to Texas A&M.”

Copyright: D.McDermand, The Eagle
The exhibit features a June 11, 1954, cover story in Collier's Magazine on how he brought his son, Earl "Bud" Rudder, back to Point du Hoc, France.

The exhibit will remain on display until Jan. 27, 2012.

Find more information on the exhibit, Rudder and Thomas Hatfield’s Rudder: From Leader to Legend here!

Steplings is a big hit!

Check out this book trailer for C.W. Smith’s new novel Steplings (TCU 2011). One of our favorite book blogs, Shelf-Awareness deemed it “Book Trailer for the Day!” Watch here!

What critics are saying:

“Texas novelist C.W. Smith has received just about every literary award the state and region bestow, and his latest work, the sprightly and wise Steplings, will no doubt add to his reputation as a Lone Star star.” —Dallas Morning News
“It's elegantly written, sometimes funny, often heartbreaking, and it never hits a false note.” —Fort Worth Star-Telegram

“…rich in psychological insight and lit by occasional flashes of humor.” —Kirkus Reviews

“It's a wonderful story for parents and should be required reading for teens to meet this ordinary family and share those three extraordinary days

with them. They will break your heart but you'll also want to hug them and welcome them home.” —San Antonio Express-News

“Set in 2002, Steplings has the feel of a traditional coming of age novel mixed with a road story, yet the characters are realistically grounded in the problems and anxieties of our early 21st century.”—Houston Culture Map

“If one were to highlight only one of Smith's talents as a writer, perhaps what stands as the best representation of his work and the clearest example of his artistic capacity is his ability to draw a reader so fully into his creative world that they are, at the concluding lines, loathe to leave it at all. Readers will find themselves worrying after Smith's p

rotagonists long after the last page is turned, restlessly concerned for the dear souls of the very real young people…who unknowingly and unintentionally inspired this all‐too realistic contemporary tale.” —Dallas Observer

“Smith's story rings true and never feels stale. A dash of international politics spices up the personal politics of Steplings in a way that isn't forced or incongrue
nt.”—Austin Chronicle.

“ The characters take on vivid personality and the relationships deepen in a delightfully believable way. We follow Jason as he desperately tries to contact Lisa and Emily discovers that her father is not the saint she had believed. The two make page-turning strides toward responsibility and maturity as they learn what an awesome task it is to take responsibility for each other.” —Texas Book Lover

Read more about Steplings and order your own copy now!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Remembering Pearl Harbor

On this day, 70 years ago, the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor killed more than 2,400 Americans, wounded 1,000 and almost wiped out an entire fleet. While the attack was designed to hurt the United States Navy, it instead drew Americans together, creating a spirit that Japanese leadership never expected.

TAMU Press remembers and reflects on the bravery and sacrifice that occurred at Pearl Harbor. In the spirit of remembrance, we encourage readers to check out William Bartsch’s December 8, 1941: MacArthur's Pearl Harbor.

Bartch’s detailed account of the Pearl Harbor attack received the Arthur Goodzeit Award, presented by the Board of New York Military Affairs Symposium in 2004. December 8, 1941: MacArthur's Pearl Harbor will be reprinted in paperback this spring.

In December 8, 1941: MacArthur's Pearl Harbor, Bartsch draws upon 25 years of research into American and Japanese records and interviews with many of the participants themselves, particularly survivors of the actual attack on Clark and Iba air bases. The dramatic and detailed coverage of the attack is preceded by an account of the harried American build-up of air power in the Philippines after July, 1941, and of Japanese planning and preparations for this opening assault of its Southern Operations. Bartsch juxtaposes the experiences of staff of the U.S. War Department in Washington and its Far East Air Force bomber, fighter, and radar personnel in the Philippines, who were affected by its decisions, with those of Japan’s Imperial General Headquarters in Tokyo and the 11th Air Fleet staff and pilots on Formosa, who were assigned the responsibility for carrying out the attack on the Philippines 500 miles to the south. In order to put the December 8th attack in broader context, Bartsch details micro-level personal experiences and presents the political and strategic aspects of American and Japanese planning for a war in the Pacific.

Despite the significance of this subject matter, it has never before been given full book-length treatment. This book represents the culmination of decades-long efforts of the author to fill this historical gap. Read more about December 8, 1941: MacArthur's Pearl Harbor and order your own copy here.

Interested in World War II? The TAMU Press Consortium has published 80+ books covering the details of the war events. Whether you are a World War II scholar or reader searching for a great read, you are guaranteed to find a book that fits your interests. See our wide selection of World War II books here.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Congratulations Loflins!

Brian and Shirley Loflin accepted the 2011 Carroll Abbott Memorial Award at the fall meeting of the Native Plant Society of Texas for their book Grasses of the Texas Hill Country. Named for the society's founder, the award is given to books on Texas plants written for a popular audience.

Their photographic guide to grasses gives all who have been frustrated trying to identify these difficult plants an easy-to-use, visually precise, and information-packed field guide to seventy-seven native and introduced species that grow in the Texas Hill Country and beyond.

With a blade of grass in hand, open this book and find:
- Handy thumb guides to seedhead type, the most visible distinguishing characteristic to begin identification
- Color photographs of stands of grasses and detailed close-ups
- Concise information about economic uses, habitat, range, and flowering season
- Quick-reference icons for native status, toxicity, growing season, and grazing response

Read more about Grasses of the Texas Hill Country and order your own copy here!

Friday, November 18, 2011

The First Lady

One of our favorite book blogs, Shelf Awareness recently featured books about the country’s First Ladies. However, they missed a must read! MaryAnne Borrelli’s The Politics of the President's Wife (TAMU 2011) gives both theoretical and substantive insight into behind-the-scenes developments from the time of Lou Henry Hoover to the unfolding tenure of Michelle Robinson Obama.

Borrelli offers compelling counter-perspective: that the president’s wife exercises power intrinsic to her role within the administration. Like others within the presidency, she has sometimes presented the president’s views to constituentsand sometimes presented constituents’ views to the president, thus taking on a representative function within the system. In mediating president-constituent relationships, she has given a historical and social frame to the presidency that has enhanced its symbolic representation; she has served as a gender role model, enriching descriptive representation in the executive branch; and she has participated in policy initiatives to strengthen an administration’s substantive representation.

Read more about The Politics of the President's Wife (TAMU 2011) and order your own copy, now available in cloth, paper and electronic versions, here.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Texas Task Force 1 Conquers Fires

Check out this video, which contains actual footage from the battle to gain control of the most devastating fires!

Over three and a half million acres were completely scorched. When the worst wildfire in Texas history erupted, the governor enlisted the help of the Texas Forest Service, Texas Task Force 1, the Texas Engineering Extension Service, and the College of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M.

Learn more about the Texas Task Force 1 in Bud Force’s Texas Task Force 1: Urban Search and Rescue (TAMU 2011). Force gives readers an intimate picture of Texas Task Force 1 at work, as he follows the team on their major deployments and documents their specialized equipment and training, including time spent at the unique facility known as Disaster City. The result is a lively mix of history, interviews, and photographs that paint a fascinating portrait of these courageous people—and their canine partners—who place themselves in danger in order to save others.

Order your own copy here!

MSC Reopening Quickly Approaches

The Texas A&M Memorial Student Center, referred to by students and staff as the “MSC” is more than just a building. For more than fifty years, the MSC served Aggies as sort of the “living room” of the Texas A&M University campus. Equipped with lounges, dining, and recreational facilities, the MSC played a vital role in the transformation of Texas A&M from an all-male, all-military, rural college to a university internationally recognized for excellence in a variety of fields.

For most current students at A&M, the MSC is more of an idea and a road block than a place of life, activity and honor. Because of the renovations, since 2009 the MSC currently serves the students and staff of A&M as a massive construction site to navigate around to and from classes. Fortunately, the reopening and re-dedication of the MSC is quickly approaching. On April 21, 2012 the new and improved facility will finally serve the Texas A&M campus again. This is a special time because the MSC was originally dedicated on Muster in 1951.

“. . . I am really looking forward to honoring that piece of our history while allowing the Muster events of 2012 to shine and utilize this amazing new space," said Elizabeth Andrasi ’11, President/CEO for the 62nd Memorial Student Center Council. Andrasi, who has been involved in many aspects of the MSC since she was a freshman, shares her insight on what it is like to make important decisions regarding the MSC on behalf of the student body. Read more here!

Once it’s completed the renovated Memorial Student Center will once again become the campus gathering place featuring: state-of-the-art meeting rooms, grand ballroom on the second floor, new lounge and visual arts spaces, new/revamped dining and retail Spaces, redesigned Hall of Honor, 12th Man Hall, an exterior reminiscent of the original MSC, inviting new entrances and beautiful interior decor promoting Texas A&M’s history.

You can view photos of what the MSC has looked like over the years here.

For more information on the progress of the MSC renovations, visit the MSC website. You can find a service or office relocation, look at construction photos and read progress reports.

Author Amy Bacon, Building Leaders, Living Traditions: The Memorial Student Center at Texas A&M University (TAMU 2009) surveys the development of two functions that quickly became vital to the mission of the Memorial Student Center: its role as a leadership laboratory for students—especially those not in the Corps of Cadets—and its centerpiece location as a place of extracurricular cultural and intellectual enrichment. Bacon demonstrates how the MSC and the traditions that have developed around it blend with the national student union movement in a unique way that enhances the institutional heritage and aspirations of Texas A&M University.

Her attractively illustrated book draws heavily on recorded oral histories, archives, and extensive interviews with key administrative leaders and students, both former and current.
Building Leaders, Living Traditions narrates the story of an institution that has transformed and enriched the lives of thousands of Aggie students and is poised to continue its vital mission for decades to come.

Read more about Bacon, Building Leaders, Living Traditions: The Memorial Student Center at Texas A&M University and order your own copy here, just in time for the reopening!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

"Cut, Balance, and Grow"

Governor Rick Perry’s proposed economic plan “Cut, Balance and Grow” would replace the current income tax with a 20-percent flat tax for everyone. His plan also includes changes to Social Security and Medicare.

University of Houston Political Science Professor Brandon Rottinghaus says the idea of a flat tax is becoming increasingly popular. “This has been something that presidential candidates have batted around for the last few election cycles, so I do think it's likely that he's going to pick up a lot of support by doing something like that,” Rottinghaus told KUHF Houston Public Radio News, “Now of course, the details may present more complicated effects, so that some of the things may be less desirable to the more moderate wing of the party to independent voters."

"His positioning in the race gives him a kind of national credibility that every other candidate is also vying for. If you consider Mitt Romney to be the frontrunner and largely to be the kind of moderate voice of the party, then you'd have to think about who is going to be the conservative alternative to that. And so as long as Rick Perry is articulating these sorts of conservative ideals, he's certainly going to be talked about."

Rottinghaus added that voters often have short memories, and Perry's economic plan could be what it takes to overcome the fallout from what many consider his poor debate performances.

Rottinghaus , author of The Provisional Pulpit (Texas A&M University Press), explores concepts such as the important layer of understanding to the issue of how and under what conditions presidents lead public opinion. All modern presidents clearly attempt to lead public opinion; often, due to factors outside their control, they fail. In his book, Rottinghaus explains how and when they succeed.

The Manis Site Produces New Findings

In the late 1970s, an adult male mastodon, a large tusked and extinct mammal, was excavated from a pond at a two acre archaeological dig called the ‘Manis site’ near Sequim, Washington. The distribution of the bones and the discovery that some of the bones were broken suggested that the elephant had been killed and butchered by human hunters. However, no stone tools or weapons were found at the site. The key artifact that was found was what appeared to be a bone point sticking out of one of the ribs, but the artifact and the age of the site were disputed because the technology available today to date and identify the bone did not yet exist.

Today with high-resolution CT scanning and three-dimensional modeling, it was confirmed that the embedded bone was a spear point, and DNA and bone protein analysis indicated the bone point was made of mastodon bone. Michael Waters, director of the Center for the Study of the First Americans in the Department of Anthropology at Texas A&M, and colleagues from Colorado, Washington and Denmark believe the find at the Manis site demonstrates that humans were in the area 13,800 years ago ─ or 800 years earlier than was originally believed. Their work is published in the current issue of Science magazine.

Waters, the author of Clovis Lithic Technology (Texas A&M University Press, 2011), notes “there are at least two other pre-Clovis kill sites where hunters killed mammoths.” ‘Clovis’ is the name given to the distinctive tools made by people starting around 13,000 years ago. The Clovis people invented the ‘Clovis point’, a spear-shaped weapon made of stone that is found in Texas and across the United States and northern Mexico. These weapons were used to hunt animals, including mammoths and mastodons, from 13,000 to 12,700 years ago.

Waters says “the evidence from the Manis site is helping to reshape our understanding of the earliest inhabitants of the Americas, the last continent to be occupied by modern humans.”

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Silver King

In 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt traveled from Washington, D.C. down to the Texas waters of Port Aransas to try his hand at catching a Silver King. The “Silver King” or the Tarpon fish is infamous for its ability to grow to “king” size (the Texas record is 210 pounds, 86 ½ inches). Once caught, these fish are notorious for putting up a fight, jumping in the air, rattling their gills, twisting their massive bodies, and occasionally, even spitting out the offending hook.

Like Roosevelt, Hart Stillwell, a South Texas newspaperman, was also successful in catching a Silver King. Stillwell spent years becoming a skilled Tarpon fisherman. Over the years, Stillwell released most of the Tarpon he caught in order to preserve the sport. Unfortunately, others were not as willing. In the 1970s, Stillwell decided to write a book on tarpon fishing, but the angler pressure, pollution, increased bay water salinity from the damming of rivers, and commercial fishing and shrimping, along with other factors, had just about made the species extinct in Texas.

Though Stillwell passed away before his book could be published, a longtime fisherman and doctoral student at Texas Tech University, Brandon Shuler rediscovered and edited the Stillwell manuscripts. Shuler worked with Texas A&M University Press to get Glory of the Silver King: The Golden Age of Tarpon Fishing published in the spring of 2011. Today, due to conservation efforts and better treatment of the environment, the Silver King once again occupies Texas' coast.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Texas Book Festival Recap!

Austin, Texas was packed with readers, publishers and authors the weekend of the 22nd at the Texas Book Festival. More than 35,000 book lovers attended the various author events and panels. Featured authors included eight Texas A&M University Press authors:

Tom Hatfield, Rudder
Steven Fenberg, Unprecedented Power
T. Lindsay Baker, Gangster Tour of Texas
Susie Kalil, Alexandre Hogue
William (Bill) Welch, Heirloom Gardening in the South
Cynthia Beeman and Dan Utley, History Ahead
John Whorff, Kayaking the Texas Coast

TAMU Press had a HUGE tent full of books and other TAMU authors that came out to support.

Alan Govenar, author of Texas Blues and Kaleta Doolin, author of Fritos Pie

Judy Barrett, author of What Can I Do with My Herbs?, What's so Great about Heirloom Plants? and the forthcoming Recipes For and From the Garden and Alan Govenar, author of Texas Blues

Texas Book Festival also featured a brand new event: “Saturday Night Lit Crawl.” Authors read and signed books at nontraditional literary venues along the stretch of East Austin bars. The Lit Crawl was a huge success. "We thought it was a cool idea, but we didn't expect that many people,” Clay Smith, Literary Director of the Texas Book Festival said.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

River Music Podcast

Louisiana’s Atchafalaya River Basin, the heart and soul of Acadiana, or Cajun country, is the focus of the compelling narrative River Music: An Atchafalaya Story by Ann McCutchan. A masterful weaving of cultural and environmental history, River Music also tells the life story of Louisiana musician, naturalist, and sound documentarian Earl Robicheaux.

KRVS Public Radio, a listener-supported, public radio station, located in Lafayette, Louisiana, recently interviewed author Ann McCutchan. Listen to the hour-long interview here!

Read more about River Music and order your own copy on the TAMU Press website.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Congratulations Holy Ground, Healing Water: Cultural Landscapes at Waconda Lake, Kansas (TAMU 2010) by Donald J. Blakeslee, winner of the 2011 Ferguson Kansas History Book Award!

“In this engaging narrative, Blakeslee, who has written extensively on Kansas ecology, focuses on the multiple uses of the area around present-day Waconda Lake in the north-central portion of the state. ...[Blakeslee] presents a multi-faceted study . . . thoughtful contributions from the perspective of both scientific fields (especially anthropology, archaeology, geography, and geography) and those of the humanities (particularly environmental, social, and ethno-history), such synthesis being no mean feat. Furthermore, he has produced a volume which is appealing and approachable to both an academic and general audience; those intrigued by American Indians, the ‘sod and stubble’ days of homesteaders, utopian movements in Kansas, and broad patterns of economic, cultural, and ethnographic tumult will find much to like here.”—Eric Anderson, Ph.D., Professor of American Indian Studies, Haskell Indian Nations University

Read more about Holy Ground, Healing Water, Blakeslee and order your own copy here!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Just in time for Halloween- Bats in Texas!

Halloween season has arrived and people are putting out their cobwebs, carving pumpkins and buying decor to achieve the ultimate spooky decor for trick-or-treaters. Texans, however, don't need to invest in any rubber bats to set the mood. Bats- dead and alive are showing up earlier and more frequently across the state. With possibly the worst drought in 80 years, bat behaviors across Texas are changing.

Lack of rain creates a depletion in insects, forcing millions of bats to emerge before nightfall for food runs, hungry. The bats usually emerge around 8:30 at night fall, but they are now forced to "go out to dinner" around 6:30. While the earlier dinner makes for more bat sightings, it also puts the bats at risk, making them more susceptible to natural predators.

"Some experts have already noticed fewer bats emerging from caves and have seen evidence that more infant bats are showing up dead, hinting at a looming population decline," reported Michael Graczyk, Associated Press.

However, Texas A&M biologist Mike Smotherman isn't so sure the behavioral changes are dire. Smotherman said his studies show if bats don't like the food or water, they just move somewhere else.

Read more of Graczyk's article and check out a detailed video featuring the Bracken Bat Cave in Bracken, Texas.

For more information regarding bats, make sure to check out Loren K. Ammerman, Christine L. Hice, and David J. Schmidly's Bats of Texas (TAMU 2011), available in November. With all new illustrations, color photographs, revised species accounts, updated maps, and a sturdy flexible binding, this new edition of the authoritative guide to bats in Texas will serve as the field guide to anyone interested (or afraid) of bats. Order an advance copy and read more about the book here!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Looking ahead to Fall 2012

Next fall, Texas A&M University Press will publish Miguel A. Levario’s Militarizing the Border: When Mexicans Became the Enemy. The book addresses a bi-national experience that sheds light on other border regions of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, such as South Texas, and to a lesser degree southern New Mexico and Arizona. Militarizing the Border establishes a historical precedent to current border issues such as undocumented immigration, violence, and racial antagonism on both sides of the border. An evaluation of early militarization and its effect on racial and social relations between Anglos and Mexicans allows for a better understanding of current policy and its potential failure.

Levario’s book covers a controversial and important topic that is at the center of public policy. Texas lawmakers Rick Perry and U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin have both suggested modifications to how the U.S. might fight Mexico’s cartels and answer questions of immigration/border laws.

Last April, McCaul, introduced a resolution that would designate Mexico’s seven cartels as Foreign Terrorist Organizations. The “resolution would freeze funds tied to the cartels and qualifies persons found guilty of aiding them for 15 additional years of prison time,” Julian Aguilar of the Texas Tribune reported. Perry suggests sending the U.S. military into Mexico to help with the violence. Perry plans to do what it takes in Mexico to keep Americans safe.

Keep a lookout for the Fall 2012 release of Miguel A. Levario’s Militarizing the Border. Read more about Perry’s remarks on Mexico involvement in Julian Aguilar’s article “Perry's Remarks on Mexico Are Praised, Dismissed” here.

James Earl Rudder: Influencing authors, military and even Presidential candidates

Last spring, the first comprehensive biography of James Earl Rudder was published by the Texas A&M University Press. Author Thomas M. Hatfield went far beyond the usual focus on Rudder’s heroism in World War II to recreate with rich detail exciting events on battlefields and in boardrooms. Rudder: From Leader to Legend paints a full portrait that allows a wider appreciation for every phase of Rudder’s early life, from childhood, to his storied military exploits, to his remarkable postwar achievements and far-reaching public service. Utilizing access to previously unavailable family papers, memoirs, and interviews, Hatfield crafted an insightful and unsparing view of the man that applauds his accomplishments and reveals his weaknesses.

Whether scaling the seemingly insurmountable cliffs of Pointe du Hoc with his advance assault troops during the Normandy invasion, restoring integrity to the Texas Land Office, or overseeing transitions in an academic institution with hallowed traditions during a time of contentious cultural change, James Earl Rudder (1910–1970) forged a legacy of wartime gallantry and peacetime leadership that commands continuing respect. Rudder: From Leader to Legend pays tribute to a man who exemplified leadership, vision, and courage. Months after the initial book release, Rudder: From Leader to Legend is still a hit.

Now that Texas Governor Rick Perry is a presidential contender, Americans are trying to figure out what spurs his “personal mix of aw-shucks conservatism and swashbuckling anti-Washington rhetoric.” In this Wall Street Journal article, Perry’s unique personality is explored and explained through his Aggie roots. A former yell-leader and member of the corps of cadets, Perry was Mr. Popularity on the A&M campus in the early seventies.

“Former classmates said Mr. Perry's popularity was boosted by several daring pranks he pulled on upperclassmen, including one his campaign recently confirmed: The young Mr. Perry placed live blackbirds in a student's closet to create a putrid stink during a vacation break,” reported Miguel Bustillo, Wall Street Journal.

Copyright: Texas A&M University, courtesy of Wall Street Journal.
Perry while a student at Texas A&M.

While Perry attended Texas A&M, Rudder served as president of the university. Rudder slowly rooted out these shenanigans and successfully pushed to modernize the school, leading to an increase in attendance rates. Hatfield, who is quoted in the Wall Street Journal article explains that "all male, all military' was the motto of the old Army Aggies, who exercised a great influence.”

Read more about Thomas Hatfield, Rudder: From Leader to Legend and order your own copy here.

For more explanation on Perry’s “Aggieisms” and what the Aggie campus was like during Rudder’s presidency, read the full Wall Street Journal article.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Alexandre Hogue Exhibit

The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History is featuring the Alexandre Hogue: An American Visionary exhibit through November 27. The exhibit accounts the 75-year career of Alexandre Hogue. Hogue, a self-taught artist has work featured in many museums around the country and internationally, as well as in numerous private collections.

The museum is offering two learning labs, providing entertainment for people of all ages. The learning labs offer children a hands-on way to process the art they have just seen. One lab is catered to studying rocks and animals that appear in Hogue's paintings and the other has tables set up with paints, crayons, colored pencils and markers for re-creating Hogue-like art.

The exhibit is the largest Hogue showing to ever be displayed. The 150-plus pieces were collected for the exhibit by independent curator Susie Kalil. Kalil is also the author of Alexandre Hogue: Paingings and Works on Paper (TAMU Press, 2010). Kalil grew close to Hogue from 1986 to 1994, a time during which she interviewed him, considered his oeuvre with him, and came to share his vision of the nature and purposes of art. In Alexandre Hogue she reveals Hogue as he presented himself and his work to her. The book features more than 60 color plates and black and white drawings.

Read more about Susie Kalil’s Alexandre Hogue (TAMU Press 2010) and order your own copy here.

On the opening night of the Alexandre Hogue: An American Visionary exhibit, a young child lost his balance and accidentally damaged a portrait of J. Frank Dobie by Hogue. Chris Vaughn of the Star-Telegram reported that the child lost his balance, reached out and grabbed the frame, and his finger touched the painting and took some of the paint off.

Deborah Fullerton, curator of exhibitions at the Art Museum of South Texas, said she views the incident “as a complete accident” and wants the work to remain on view. Another museum official stated that conservation costs for restoration will come back to the museum.

Read more about the accident here.

Alexandre Hogue: An American Visionary - Paintings and Works on Paper will be open to the public through Nov. 27 at Fort Worth Museum of Science and History located at 1600 Gendy St. in Fort Worth, Texas. Tickets range between $10-$14. For more information on the exhibit, call 817-255-9300 or visit the museum website.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

US-Mexico Borderlands

The primaries and 2012 presidential race are quickly approaching, and hot button issues like immigration are at the center of the discussion. The Texas Tribune’s Ross Ramsey compiled “Inside Intelligence: Bordering on...” depicting insiders’ predictions regarding how Rick Perry might do in the primaries and/or presidential race, focusing on the controversial subject of immigration.

Read Ramsey’s collection of verbatim comments regarding Perry’s support for in-state college tuition for the children of illegal immigrants, Perry's call for a ban on sanctuary cities and his opposition to a border fence here.

If you are interested in borderlands history and natural history; immigration and environmental policy and politics; and conservation of wildlife and natural resources Krista Schlyer’s Continental Divide: Borderlands Wildlife, People, and the Wall (TAMU 2012) belongs on your bookshelf.

Writer and photographer Krista Schlyer contends that the remoteness of the borderlands of the United States and Mexico from most U.S. citizens’ lives, coupled with a news media focus on illegal activity and drug violence, has left many people with an incomplete picture of the southern reaches of four states as well as the northern states of Mexico. Yet, as she shows in Continental Divide, a largely unknown natural area stretching from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico provides safe haven for many wild species of plants and animals.

Documenting the changes to the ecosystems and human communities along the border as the wall was built, Schlyer realized that the impacts of immigration policy on wildlife, on landowners, and on border towns were not fully understood by either policy makers or the general public. The wall destroyed the ancestral routes of wildlife at the same time it re-routed human traffic through the most pristine and sensitive of wildlands, causing more destruction, conflict, and death without solving the original problem.

In her photo essay, Schlyer helps readers understand the full impact and consequences of a policy debated and formed far from the site of its implementation. Her photographs and experiences bring home how much is at stake, whatever one thinks of the efficacy of building walls between nations.

Copyright: Krista Schlyer

Look for Krista Schlyer’s Continental Divide: Borderlands Wildlife, People, and the Wall in Fall 2012 from Texas A&M University Press.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

October brings award-winning books!

Congratulations to two Texas A&M University Press authors!

Holy Ground, Healing Water (TAMU 2010) by Donald J. Blakeslee is the recipient of this year’s Ferguson Kansas History Book Award. The award is from the Kansas Authors Club, for the best book on Kansas history by an author who is a resident of Kansas. Blakeslee will be presented the award at the 2011 Annual Convention and Writers Conference in Coffeyville on Saturday, October 8, 2011.

In Holy Ground, Healing Water: Cultural Landscapes at Waconda Springs, Kansas, anthropologist Blakeslee traces the usage and attendant meanings of this area, beginning with prehistoric sites dating between AD 1000 and 1250 and continuing to the present day. Addressing all the sites at Waconda Lake, regardless of age or cultural affiliation, Blakeslee tells a dramatic story that looks back from the humdrum present through the romantic haze of the nineteenth century to an older landscape, one that is more wonderful by far than what the modern imagination can conceive.

Read more about Holy Ground, Healing Water and order your own copy here!

Tejanos in Gray (TAMU 2011) by Jerry Thompson is the recipient of this year’s Clotilde P. García Tejano Book Prize. The Clotilde P. García Tejano Book Prize is awarded to books about Tejano heritage that bring attention to the history and contributions of Tejanos. Thompson will receive the award at this year’s Texas State Hispanic Genealogy and Historical Conference, hosted by Los Bexarenos Genealogical Society, Thursday, Sept. 29 – Saturday, Oct. 1 in San Antonio, Texas.

Gathered for the first time in this book, the forty-one letters and letter fragments written by two Mexican Texans, Captains Manuel Yturri and Joseph Rafael de la Garza, reveal the intricate and intertwined relationships that characterized the lives of Texan citizens of Mexican descent in the years leading up to and including the Civil War. The letters, translated by José Roberto Juárez and with meticulous annotation and commentary by Thompson, deepen and provide nuance to our understanding of the Civil War and its combatants, especially with regard to the Tejano experience. Historians, students, and general readers interested in the Civil War will appreciate Tejanos in Gray for its substantial contribution to borderlands studies, military history, and the often-overlooked interplay of region, ethnicity, and class in the Texas of the mid-nineteenth century.

Read more about Tejanos in Gray and order your own copy here!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Texas Task Force 1 sent to help Bastrop wildfires

Four deaths, more than 1,000 ruined homes and thousands of forced evacuations. The fires across Texas are some of the most devastating wildfire outbreaks in state history. Two deaths occurred just about an hour south of the Press’s office and warehouse in Bastrop, Texas.

As firefighters become stretched to their limits, Texas Governor Rick Perry decided to deploy the elite Texas Task Force 1 to help locate more victims of the wildfires in Bastrop.

Read more about their deployment in this ABC News article. In an ABC News segment, Diane Sawyer commented “one family is losing their home every four minutes to the fire.” Watch the full segment, featuring interviews with victims of the Bastrop fires.

With blazes still continuing to move, the presence of Texas Task Force 1 in Bastrop is crucial.

Texas Task Force 1 is made up of a dozen search dogs and over 100 members. Their previous deployments include New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and New York after the attacks of September 11.

Bud Force, a commercial and editorial photographer specializing in search and rescue, is author of Texas Task Force 1: Urban Search and Rescue (TAMU 2011). His new book gives readers an intimate picture of Texas Task Force 1 through photographs, interviews and history.

Read more about Texas Task Force 1: Urban Search and Rescue and order your own copy here.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

TAMU Press author comments on new Texas laws

Guns, speed limits and respectful language were just some of the issues being covered in over a hundred new Texas laws that were enacted last Thursday. Brandon Rottinghaus, author of The Provisional Pulpit: Modern Presidential Leadership of Public Opinion (TAMU 2010) commented on the immense number of new laws in the Star-Telegram: “These laws are a lot of small things that might add up to be something big." Rottinghaus,assistant political science professor at the University of Houston, sees a “fairly conservative agenda that manifested in the grouping of these laws.”

Read the rest of the Star-Telegram article featuring more comments from Rottinghaus and brief samplings of many of the new laws here.

Interested in what else Rottinghaus has to say? Check out his book The Provisional Pulpit:Modern Presidential Leadership of Public Opinion (TAMU 2010). He focuses on the ability of the White House to influence, shape, and even manipulate public opinion. Rottinghaus develops a simple theory of presidential leadership, arguing that presidential messages are more likely to be received if there are fewer countervailing agents or messages to contradict the president’s message. Order your own copy and find reviews, summaries and pricing here!

Texas Legacy Project

A city dweller’s vacant lot . . . A rancher's back forty . . . A hiker's favorite park . . . When the places that we love are threatened, we can be stirred to action. In Texas, people of all stripes and backgrounds have fought hard to safeguard the places they hold dear.

To find and preserve these stories of courage and perseverance, the Conservation History Association of Texas launched the Texas Legacy Project in 1998, traveling thousands of miles to conduct hundreds of interviews with people from all over the state. These remarkable oral histories now reside in an incomparable online and physical archive of video, audio, text, and other materials that record these extraordinary efforts by veteran conservationists and ordinary citizens to preserve the natural legacy of Texas. These stories have been combined to create the extraordinary book, The Texas Legacy Project: Stories of Courage and Conservation (TAMU 2010) edited by David Todd and David Weisman.

Louie Bond of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine summarizes the special diversity of the book in her recent article in the September issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine: “Where else can you find enlightenment from ornithologists and grocers, musicians and ranchers, game wardens and politicians, writers and clergy?”

Read more of Bond’s article in the September issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife.

For more details about The Texas Legacy Project visit the Press’s website. Order your own copy now!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Check out the trailer for TCU Press’s upcoming novel Steplings by CW Smith.

Order your own copy of Steplings here!

Bats of Texas A&M?

Health and safety officials recently reminded Texas A&M students, faculty, and staff to watch out for the significant number of bats on campus.

Did you know the state of Texas is actually home to more than 30 species of bats -- the most diverse fauna of any other state in the U.S.?

In November, the TAMU Press will release its publication of Bats of Texas by Loren K. Ammerman, Christine L. Hice, and David J. Schmidly.

With all new illustrations, color photographs, revised species accounts, updated maps, and a sturdy flexible binding, this new edition of the authoritative guide to bats in Texas will serve as the field guide and all-around reference of choice for amateur naturalists as well as mammalogists, wildlife biologists, and professional conservationists.

The introductory chapter of this new edition of Bats of Texas surveys bats in general—their appearance, distribution, classification, evolution, biology, and life history—and discusses public health and bat conservation. An updated account for each species follows, with pictures by an outstanding nature photographer, distribution maps, and a thorough bibliography. Bats of Texas also features revised and illustrated dichotomous keys accompanied by gracefully detailed line drawings to aid in identification.

Looking to survive the "bat take-over" at Texas A&M? Want to learn more about this unique mammal? Trying to identify the furry creature lurking in your classroom? Reserve your copy of Bats of Texas now!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Pan Am and Flying Down to Rio

ABC Television is launching a new show at the end of September called "Pan Am."

The series centers on the exploitation of Pan American Airways stewardesses. The show is said to follow the iconic airline Pan American World Airways during the 1960s. The period drama will focus on the pilots and flight attendants working for the world-famous airline in 1963. Watch the trailer here!

In 2004, TAMU Press author, Rosalie Schwartz recounted the exciting early years of Pan American Airways, its launching of routes to Latin America, and the airline's importance to FDR's Good Neighbor policy in her book Flying Down to Rio.

Schwartz uses the 1933 RKORadio Pictures production “Flying Down to Rio” to examine the interplay of technology and popular culture that shaped a distinctive twentieth century sensibility. The musical comedy connected airplanes, movies, and tourism, ending spectacularly with chorus girls dancing on the wings of airplanes high above Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The Hollywood fantasy capped three decades during which airplanes and movies engendered new expectations and redefined people's sense of wellbeing, their personal satisfactions, and their interpersonal relations. Wilbur and Orville Wright flew their airplane in 1903, at the same time filmmakers began to project edited, filmed stories onto large screens. Spectators found entertainment value in both airplane competitions and motion pictures, and movie producers brought the thrill of aviators antics to a rapidly expanding audience. Meanwhile, air shows and competitions attracted large crowds of tourists. Mass tourism grew as a leisure time activity, stimulated in part by travelogues and feature films. By 1930, the businessmen who envisioned transporting tourists to their destinations by airplane struggled to overcome the movie-exaggerated association of flight with danger.

Schwartz weaves these threads into a story of human daring and persistence, political intrigue, and international competition. From Wilbur and Orville to Fred and Ginger, Schwartz’s narrative follows the fortunes of aviation and movie pioneers and the foundations and growth of Pan American Airways and RKORadio Pictures, the two companies that came together in Flying Down to Rio.

By the end of the twentieth century, aviation, movies, and mass tourism had become powerful global industries, contributing to an internationally-connected, entertainment-oriented culture. What was once unthinkable had now become expected.

Order your own copy of Flying Down to Rio by Rosalie Schwartz here!