Thursday, July 5, 2012

Throwback Thursday: Best of the 90s

The 1990s: Oversized glasses, obnoxious sweat suits, episodes of Full House, furbies, beanie babies, VCRS...the list of fads could go on. What about the musical obsession with boy bands? Maybe your favorites include NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, or 98 Degrees. Another popular boy band was the British pop band Blur, created in the 1990s.This week Blur will be releasing their first new single in years via Twitter.

In honor of Blur and our love for the great decade of the 90s, we have compiled a staff-curated list of our top 5 favorite books, all originally published in the 1990s.

1.   Courthouses of Texas (Texas A&M University Press, 1993) by Mavis Kelsey and Don Dyal

Courthouses and the “squares” around many of them offer a bonanza for history buffs, antique collectors, genealogists, architecture enthusiasts, and photographers. Many of them house or are near local history museums, and many display historical markers that introduce the area to visitors. Especially in many smaller county seats, the courthouse square offers a genre scene of a special moment in Texas’ life.

2.    One Woman’s Army: A Black Officer Remembers the WAC (Texas A&M University Press, 1995) by Charity Adams Earley

Black members of the WAC had to fight the prejudices not only of males who did not want women in their "man's army," but also of those who could not accept blacks in positions of authority or responsibility, even in the segregated military. With unblinking candor, Charity Adams Earley tells of her struggles and successes as the WAC's first black officer and as commanding officer of the only organization of black women to serve overseas during World War II.

3.    Houston: The Unknown City by Marguerite Johnston.

It is a history marked by murder, mutiny, and the ironies of war, by comedy and high jinks, by heroism and a remarkable generosity. This fascinating social history grew out of Marguerite Johnston's forty years of friendship with the city and its people. It traces Houston's first families through interlinking marriages, charitable associations, and business partnerships.

“The author . . . gave me a delightful and deep insight into a city about which we continue to publish a great deal.  Because of her, I recognize the names and the drama of Houston’s unknown story in a way I could not have otherwise. It’s a great read and a great resource by a great woman.”--Mary Lenn Dixon, Texas A&M University Press editor-in-chief

 4.   Adios to the Brushlands (Texas A&M University Press, 1997) by Arturo Longoria

A trained biologist and one-time investigative reporter, Longoria brings his skills of observation and expression to sing the song of this vanishing habitat that once covered nearly four million acres of the Rio Grande Valley. In moving but understated prose he captures the wonder of the brushland and symbolically and emotionally links its loss, through rootplows and bulldozers, to the death of his grandfather, who had introduced him to that world.

“. . . a classic work of nature writing that gave voice to the South Texas landscape and the people who have watched it change irrevocably.”--Shannon Davies, Texas A&M University Press Lindsey Merrick Editor for the Natural Environment

5.   Twentieth-Century Doctor: House Calls to Space Medicine (Texas A&M University, 1999) by Mavis Kelsey

In understated but compelling prose, Kelsey brings to life this period of unparalleled challenge and growth in the pioneering Houston medical community. Through anecdotes and memories backed by careful notes he took at the time, he reminds readers of the human face of medicine.

“I gained great compassion and understanding about a gentleman who has done so much for the press. Working with Kelsey has been a privilege and an honor.”--Kevin Grossman, Texas A&M University Press Pre-press and Electronic Publishing Manager

You can still order these books from our website,

--Madeline Loving

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