A sodbusting anthology that hails itself as the biggest collection of writing about Texas yet assembled.
Although Larry McMurtry in his foreword doesn’t go quite that far, saying simply that it has “the necessary breadth and catholicity to contain at least something from the many cultures and subcultures that have contributed to Texas literature during the last century,” it is a rich assortment of 62 pieces, divided into The West, The South, The Border, and Town and City. Many famed contributors are here, and the oddball or two such as Donald Barthelme (“I Bought a Little City”), while poor Louis L’Amour and Cormac McCarthy seemingly never wrote about Texas. Here is an elegiac chapter from McMurtry’s The Last Picture Show (though nothing from his masterpiece, Lonesome Dove), stuff from old hands J. Frank Dobie, John A. Lomax and Andy Adams, brilliant work from Katherine Anne Porter and from Lyndon Johnson biographer Robert Caro on washing and ironing in “The Hill Country” (praise Dos Passos). Dagobert Gilb amuses with “The Death Mask of Pancho Villa,” and one should not miss basking in James Crumley’s “Whores.” Other big names include Rick Bass, Kinky Friedman, Molly Ivins, Gary Cartwright, and O. Henry. For all libraries, including yours and ours.