Submitted by Glen Aaron on September 17, 2014

A new compilation of numerous essay authors and edited by Paul H. Carlson, Professor Emeritus of History at Texas Tech and Bruce A. Glasrud, Professor Emeritus of History at Cal State takes on the task of describing West Texas.

This fine book is published by the University of Oklahoma Press and illustrated throughout with pictures from the Southwest Collection, Texas Tech University. The illustrations themselves are fascinating:

Lohn, northern McCulloch County, in the 1920s

Outdoor baptism, 1895

Downtown Lubbock, 1942, just as the city entered its period of rapid growth

Presidio Mining Company (silver) in Shafter, Presidio County, ca. 1910

There are many more illustrations covering various periods of West Texas history, but most notable is the quality of the writing. This is no dry rendition of history. The various essay authors tell tales and have descriptive abilities that draw the reader in with great interest.

I particularly liked the 1880 picture that shows how these southern plains looked before being choked by mesquite. It was wide-open and covered with buffalo grass. West Texas, the region, despite being popularized in film and song, has largely been ignored by historians as a distinct and cultural geographic space. This book, West Texas, rectifies that by assembling a diverse set of essays covering the grand sweep of West Texas history from the ancient to the contemporary.

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