Early Texas history told in concise, readable chapters

Hardin writes, “I often complain that my students ‘Remember the Alamo,’ but forget everything else. They are not alone in that.”

 

McMurry University history professor Stephen L. Hardin is probably best known as an author for his acclaimed military history of the Texas Revolution, Texan Illiad.

 

His latest book is Lust for Glory: An Epic Story of Early Texas and the Sacrifices That Defined a Nation (State House Press, $39.95 paperback).

 

While $39.95 is a bit high for a 360-page paperback, don’t let the price scare you off. You can find it discounted on some web sites, and perhaps book stores.

      

Lust for Glory concentrates on the twenty-five years from Moses Austin’s arrival in 1821 to Texas officially transitioning from republic to statehood in early 1846.

 

Hardin tells the story in sixty-three short, readable chapters (most of them three to five pages) and nine even shorter vignettes, grouped under three general headings – Settlement, Revolution, and Republic.

 

“As a professor of Texas history,” Hardin writes, “I often complain that my students ‘Remember the Alamo,’ but forget everything else. They are not alone in that.”

 

Hardin said he set out to write a book, in lay language, that would be accessible to seventh grade Texas history students and their teachers and parents as well as adults many years removed from seventh grade. Hardin noted that his wife Deborah teaches Texas history at Abilene’s Mann Middle School and helped keep him focused throughout the writing and editing process.

 

He said he deliberately tried to avoid making it an academic treatise – there are no footnotes, for example. “I did not write this book for my colleagues down the hall,” he writes, “but for my neighbors down the street.” He does include an extensive bibliography and an index.

 

March is designated Texas History Month, so if you would like to brush up on early Texas history, Lust for Glory offers a great place to start.

           

 

Genealogy and Murder: Houston author S.C. Perkins delves into genealogy and murder in her award-winning debut novel, Murder Once Removed (Minotaur Books, $26.99 hardcover). 

 

The book is the first in the Ancestry Detective mystery series, featuring Texas genealogist Lucy Lancaster solving murders in both the past and the present. 

 

In this story, Lancaster uncovers evidence that a Texas billionaire’s great-great-grandfather was indeed murdered in 1849, as the family had long suspected. A newspaper clipping had reported  that he was trampled to death.

 

Lancaster narrows the suspects down to two men, one of whom is the great-great-great grandfather of the present-day U.S. senator from Texas. But as she looks further into the case, a co-worker is murdered and Lancaster herself is in danger, as well as a certain U.S. senator.

 

So, if you’re into genealogy and you like a good murder mystery, you might check out Murder Once Removed, winner of a first mystery novel competition.

  Glenn Dromgoole writes about Texas books and authors. His latest book is Book Guy: One Author’s Adventures in Publishing.