The Bookshelf, Young Texas Reader, Blog Notes, & Texana Youtube Channel

The Texas Bookshelf is for single, specific books' reviews and author interviews . The Texas Parlor ranges more broadly than my other websites. The Young Texas Reader focuses on the youngest through teenagers. Texas Blog Notes surveys blogs of historical and literary interest. I've started a Will's Texana Youtube collecting channel where 1,000 videos are collected in 100 playlists . Find Will in Houston or at willstexana {at} yahoodotcom

Friday, March 14, 2008

A Few Good Horses by Pierce Burns

A Few Good Horses, by Pierce Burns. Austin: Gap Creek Press (12109 Shetland Chase, 78727), 2008. Well designed back hardback and excellent cover. ISBN 9780615164892. Notes, index, many photos. $24.95, 174 pp.

Pierce Burns, who now lives in Austin and visits the ranch, offers more than a few good chapters on his family’s heritage through smooth, readable prose, and the reader’s sense of being there pervade the social life and customs of many folks, not just those in about Brown County and the Hill Country.

Burns' great-grandfather fled Ohio due to something they don't talk about much and came to Texas in 1847. There, he established a flourishing family and a then came a fine ranch.

Although the recounting reaches back to the 1840’s and forward to the 1940’s, the best and main focus is his life during the Teens, Twenties and Depression. He begins the tome as a five-year-old boy, Christmas 1939, in the presence of “heroes, giants, and saints” at his grandfather’s knee. And there’re blue northers, a secret marriage (“We gotta tell Daddy we’re married. We can’t go on like this”), careful food calculating (people and livestock), circuses in Brownwood, swimming in the mountain creek, the school bus incident, Sunday Best, building the fence (“Needs to go another six inches”), and Papa and Uncle Billy’s building of the ranch and distant expeditions despite hard times.
It was a time of Tall women, going about birthing, clothing, rounding up cattle and sheep. They made ends meet. As a stereotype, think of them as somebody you'd want in your family.
By the way, they did find the lump of silver left after the grandparents’ house burned.
As for the cover photo, I'd almost swear they took one of my family's photos and put their kids in it. But they don't a hole in their t-shirt, at the navel, like I did.
The chapter, “Killing Hogs and Canning Food,” takes me back to my father’s killing chickens and my mother’s preserving figs. The grace and precision of the descriptions there, and throughout the volume, suggest the author’s keen memory and technical bend (he holds patents).
And the volume is patently good. It touches the heart, mind, and a documentary testament to real life.

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Texas Escapes is as comfortable as sitting at a gimham-cloth table or a cracker barrel. While it covers lotsa territory, Im' most drawn to its Piney Woods articles.

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HISTORY...Bob Bowman, Archie P. McDonald "All Things Historical" 3-10-08W. T. Block Jr. "Cannonball's Tales"Murray Montgomery "Lone Star Diary" 2-3-08C. F. Eckhardt "Charley Eckhardt's Texas" 3-3-08Delbert Trew "It's All Trew" 3-13-08Mike Cox "Texas Tales" 3-13-08Clay Coppedge "Letters from Central Texas" 3-6-08Linda Kirkpatrick "Somewhere in the West" 3-10-08HUMOR, OPINION, MEMOIRS...Maggie Van Ostrand "A Balloon in Cactus" 3-6-08Bill Cherry "Galveston Memories" 3-6-08Peary Perry "Letters From North America" 3-13-08Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal"The Girl Detective's Theory of Everything" 3-6-08Gael Montana "The View from Under the Bus" 3-10-08 N. Ray Maxie "Rambling Ray" 3-3-08EDITOR/GUESTS: "They shoe horses, don't they?" 2-11-08CARTOON: Roger T. Moore "Moore Texas" 3-13-08Readers' Forum

Mike Cox, Back in the Blog Saddle

Mike Cox whose Texas books and book reviews have been read many is back in the saddle after a hiatus in his blog He's offered a review of Pierce Burns' A Few Good Horses, an account of his times. We've also got a copy of the volume here at WT and will recommend it shortly.

Also you'll be wanting to get a copy of Cox's new book on the Texas Rangers. With Cox's in depth knowledge of them, by his own personal research and his years at Texas Department of Public Safety, now the home of the Rangers, plus his years journalism experience, and his very readable style, it ought to be wonderful reading.