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.