Michael Sandlin

Michael Sandlin is a native Houstonian whose film and book reviews appear regularly in Film International and Cineaste. He has also been a contributor to the Village Voice, Los Angeles Review of Books, Bookforum, and Houston Press.
Country music singer. Charley Pride

Ken Burns’ New Documentary Builds a Bigger Tent for Country Music

Co-opted by whites, country music was largely shaped by black and immigrant musicians.

As a filmmaker, Ken Burns sees himself as a uniter and not a divider—an admirable endeavor in these polarized times, but not always a successful one. His 2017 Vietnam series was a flawed attempt at uniting anti-war dissenters and pro-war … Read More

Texas Rangers pose on a South Texas ranch in 1915 after one of their notorious "bandit raids."

A New History Tears Down the Myth of the Texas Rangers

Monica Muñoz Martinez’s new book paints a brutally clear picture of the Rangers’ complicity in crimes against minorities.

The popular image of the elite law-enforcement organization known as the Texas Rangers has long been derived from television fantasies and historical myth. The Rangers are often depicted as infallible noble guardians of public order. Take, for instance, the long-running … Read More

Guy Clark, Book
Books, Culture, Music, The Book Report, The Issue

In ‘Without Getting Killed or Caught,’ Guy Clark Defies Categorization

Clark’s acoustic, finger-picked Southwestern-flavored songs were too countrified for folk and too folky for country — and the Nashville hit factory never knew what the hell to do with him.

Honky-tonk musician Guy Clark defies categorization, argues a compelling new biography. Read More