I Fought a Good Fight
University of North Texas Press, $32.95
New Mexico journalist Sherry Robinson offers a compelling history about one of the least understood Native American tribes in history — the Lipan Apaches, in “I Fought a Good Fight.”
Robinson says she’s trying to clear up confusion about the Lipans, who once roamed most of Texas. And she wastes no time in criticizing two previous books, “The Lipan Apache in Texas,” by Thomas Schilz and “The Lipan Apaches: People of Wind and Lightning,” by Thomas Britten, an associate professor of history at the University of Texas at Brownsville.
Robinson particularly takes issue with Britten’s contention that the Lipans were historically unwilling “to place much reliance on agriculture,” with Robinson noting that evidence “of the farming is ample.” She also criticizes Britten for saying that the Lipans were vulnerable because they were unable “to forge lasting alliances with anyone.” Robinson’s book contends “that Lipans sustained relations with the Llaneros and other bands of the confederacy from prehistoric times until they settled together on the reservation.”
Whatever the case, Robinson says that she’s trying to present a balanced account of the tribe’s history, despite “the indignation I felt while working on this book” because of what she feels has been “bad history.” As she notes, “I present the good with the bad. Lipans were victims of atrocities; they also committed atrocities.”
A Shared Voice
Tom Mack and Andrew Geyer, eds.
Lamar University Press, $19.95
This book of short fiction takes an unusual approach — pairing stories from writers in the Carolinas and Texas. The editors emphasize the shared historical and cultural contexts of the Carolinas and Texas, in particular the importance of church, family and frontier-style justice.
The book, which is made up of 24 stories, begins with sex stories from Texas writers and six from the Carolinas. “Then six other writers from the Carolinas wrote fictional ‘replies’ to the Texas stories, and vice-versa,” the editors write in the introduction. “The primary focus, as indicated by the title of the anthology, is on place and voice; but major thematic links between the paired stories include violence, religion, family relationships, the rule of law, race relations, courtship and romance, coming of age, and loss.”
Nine of the Texas tales are original to the new anthology. Texas contributors are Jerry Bradley, a professor of English at Lamar University; Oscar Casares, a Brownsville native and novelist; Terry Dalrymple, who teaches English at Angelo State University; Robert Flynn, professor emeritus at Trinity University; James Hoggard, an English professor at Midwestern State University; Stephen Graham Jones, a West Texas novelist and short story writer; David Kuhne, who recently retired from Texas Christian University; Laura Rebecca Payne of Sul Ross State University; Clay Reynolds, a professor at the University of Texas at Dallas; Jim Sanderson, chair of the English Department at Lamar University; Jan Seale, the 2012 Texas Poet Laureate; and Betty Wiesepape, who teaches writing and literature at the University of Texas at Dallas.
Notable contributors from the Carolinas include short story writers Jill McCorkle and Ron Rash. Eric Beverly, an Austin painter and musician, provided the cover image.
Exxon: Transforming Energy, 1973-2005
Joseph A. Pratt, William E. Hale
Briscoe Center for American History, $49.95
At some point, mounds and mounds of documents will eventually overwhelm the University of Texas, with all of the acquisitions going on. The latest example of such document accumulation can be seen in the fifth volume of the history of the Exxon Corporation.
In 2003, ExxonMobil donated its massive collection to the center, and this latest volume about its history, based on those documents and other research, is written by Joseph A. Pratt, a University of Houston professor of history and management, with the help of William E. Hale, a former senior adviser in ExxonMobil’s Public Affairs Department.
Pratt acknowledges the controversies surrounding the giant oil corporation, but he also says he “admires the company’s record of efficient operations” that have helped it lead an industry for 130 years. “All of us, including big oil companies, learn from our failures as well as our success,” Pratt writes. “ExxonMobil has experienced its share of both,” with a steep learning curve from 1973-2005, the years covered in the latest volume.
The author says he’s well aware that the latest volume will be unlikely to please ardent supporters or critics of Exxon. But he asks that the book be read as “a historical perspective from inside one of the most powerful corporations in the world as it responds to the closely related cluster of energy, environmental, and economic challenges.”