distinctive feminist call to her colleagues. By forging one of the first professional networks and articulating a model for reform that was acceptable within the prescribed limits of her day, Blanton opened higher ranks of the education profession to women and made a lasting mark on the quality of education in the state of Texas. Cottrell is an assistant instructor and doctoral candidate at the University of Texas at Austin. Quanah Parker, Comanche Chief, by William T. Hagan, University of Oklahoma. “The best biography of Quanah Parker in print. Hagan does much to separate the man from the myth and put this Comanche leader in a proper historical perspective,” the publisher quoted R. David Edmunds of Indiana University of this biography. Sam Houston: A Biography of the Father of Texas, by John Hoyt Williams, Simon & Schuster. In addition to the public record, Williams explores the threads of conspiracies and secret deals that lay at the heart of the Republic of Texas’ role in American Manifest Destiny in a biography that is as much military history as a man’s life. See TO 7/16/93. Star of Destiny: The Private Life of Sam. and Margaret Houston, by Madge Thornall Roberts, University of North Texas. Roberts, great-great-granddaughter of the Houstons, draws upon private family letters and interviews with other Houston descendants to tell the story of their 23-year marriage, exposing the cares and concerns, hopes and dreams and the mundane facts of existence,in the 1850s that were not unlike those we experience in 1993. See TO 7/16/93. Worth It All, by Jim Wright, Brassey’s. The former Speaker of the House from Fort Worth presents his view of the events that led to his ouster. He blames President Reagan for inviting him into the peace process and then denouncing him when it began to work. He also blames a cabal of hardcore conservatives for coordinating the assault on his reputation by accusing him of unethical actions. Fiction Elvis, Jesus & Coca Cola, by Kinky Friedman, Simon & Schuster. When buddy Tom Baker dies of an apparent drug overdose, the fictional Friedman suspects foul play. To solve the case, Kinky must rummage through his own past, including simultaneous relationships with two women named Judy. The Kinkster never strays far from his schtick and it is not giving away too much to say that the title draws from Friedman’s Peace Corps experience in Borneo, where they were the only three English words that created any glint of recognition in a tribe of local pygmies. Empire of Bones: A Novel of Sam Houston and the Texas Revolution, by Jeff Long, William Morrow & Co. In Duel of Eagles, his 1990 retelling of the Battle of the Alamo, Long aimed blows at Texas icons such as Davey Crockett and William Barrett Travis. The Houston who emerges from Empire of Bones is tormented by demons from his difficult past and the ragtag mutinous troops spoiling for a fight despite Houston’s reluctance to engage the numerically superior enemy. When his troops catch the Mexican army asleep and without sentries, the Texans engage in a massacre Houston is powerless to stop. But in his demythologizing, Long does not just cut Houston and his contemporaries down to size; he humanizes them, and we can empathize. See TO 7/16/1993. Growing Up Chicana/o: An Anthology, edited by Tiffany Ana Lopez, Morrow. “When I was growing up Chicana, I never read anything in school by anyone who had a z in their last name,” Lopez notes in her introduction to these 20 stories. This anthology, she wrote, is her “public gift to that child who was always searching for herself within the pages of a book.” Anthologized tejanas include Marta Salinas, Sandra Cisneros, Thelma Reyna, Olivia Castellano and Denise Chavez. Like Water for Chocolate, by Laura Esquivel, Doubleday \(original Spanish-language edimovie of the same name is based, is a view of life on a border rancho early in this century as told from the point of view of a woman who must live her repressed sexuality through her cooking and magic. If the author can write convincingly that beans prepared during anger will stay hard, but will soften if they are sung to, then romance and dubious history mixed with matrilineal wisdom can become a classic survival book: See TO 6/4/93. The Magic of Blood, by Dagoberto Gilb, University of New Mexico. The collection of 26 short stories by Gilb, a journeyman carpenter, former Dobie Paisano Fellow and occasional Observer contributor, relate to experiences as diverse as finding employment as a tile setter in Dell City; unemployment as a laborer in Los Angeles; blowing up a car in Phoenix; falling in love with the prettiest girl in El Paso on the way to a music gig in Austin; and coming to life again at the glance of a stranger across a Las Vegas craps table. Eight of the stories previously appeared in Winners on the Pass Line The Raven’s Bride, by Elizabeth Crook, SMU. To read the biographic reconstructions of Sam Houston is to be reminded what a small part women played in the fighting land scape. Crook’s novel explores the -relationship between Houston and his first wife, Eliza Allen, whom he married in Tennessee and abruptly left when he headed west. Unlike biographers who supposed that the split was prompted by Eliza’s revulsion at an old suppurating wound, Crook speculates that she reacted to Houston’s obsession with covert dealings that eventually took him to Texas. Short Fiction by Hispanic Writers of the United States, edited by Nicolas Kanellos, Arte Palico. An excellent introduction to writers published by the press based at the University of Houston, this volume includes a healthy sampling of Texans among its 21 featured authors, including Max Martinez with an outrageous challenge of racial and sexist social strictures in rural Texas, Roberta Fernandez’s construction of literary models from women’s handicrafts, Lionel G. Garcia’s bittersweet “The Day They Took My Uncle,” Genaro Gonzalez’ “Too Much My Father’s Son,” excerpts from Rolando Hinojosa’s “Klail City Death Trip Series,” a humorous feminine portrait by Estela Portillo Trambley and Tomas Rivera’s examination of the ordering of the Chicano experience with stories such as “First Communion” and “The Salamanders.” Sign Languages, by James Hannah, University of Missouri. “An eclectic, bittersweet group of nine stories,” Kirkus Reviews said of Hannah’s second book of fiction, “mostly concerning men in exile who struggle desperately for human connection or who write off humankind. Some of Hannah’s plots are uneven, but his ear for mod and tone is nearly unerring and the collection, for that reason, has a cumulative power that the individual stories don’t have on their own.” Sister Carrie, by Lauren Fairbanks, Dalkey Archive. This Plano resident’s first novel asks what might have happened to Theodore Dreiser’s protagonist had she come of age in the 1990s rather than the 1890s. In Fairbanks’ novel, which recently made the Voice Literary Supplement’ s List of 25 Favorite Books of 1993, Chicago takes on an exotic hue close to William Burroughs’ Interzone than to Carl Sandburg’s City of the Big ShOulders. “Fairbanks struts her stuff through this satyricon of self-revelation in a world gone cynical,” according to Publishers Weekly. “Perhaps not to everyone’s taste, this is an exhilarating debut by an enormously gifted writer.” The Storm Season by William Hauptman, Bantam Books paperback. Originally published in 1992, The Storm Season is the story of Burl Drennan, a rock musician hopeful stuck in the small town of Nortex, who has been living in a motel and working for the railroad when a tornado almost flattened 20 DECEMBER 10, 1993
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