Sunday, December 26, 2010

A pair of upcoming Texas titles

The states of Arkansas, Missouri, and Louisiana witnessed far more fighting within their borders than Texas did, but, in terms of yearly output, the Civil War literature of the Lone Star State still dominates its Trans-Mississippi brethren. Keeping up the tradition, two new Texas studies are due to appear next February, Richard McCaslin's Fighting Stock: John S. "Rip" Ford of Texas (TCU Press) and Tejanos in Gray: Civil War Letters of Captains Joseph Rafael de la Garza and Manuel Yturri, edited by Jerry Thompson (TAMU Press).

No one's done more to bring Mexican Texans (both blue and gray) to the attention of the reading public than Thompson, and these letters, translated by José Roberto Juárez, should be yet another valuable contribution. Rip Ford is certainly deserving of an up to date biography and there's no reason to think McCaslin isn't the right man for the job. I just help it dwells far more on the Civil War years than a previous volume in the publisher's Texas Biography Series, which only lightly touched upon the unusual military career of General Edmund J. Davis, the prominent southern unionist and future governor who led the 1st Texas Cavalry.

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