When Ann Richards delivered the keynote of the 1988 Democratic National Convention and mocked President George H. W. Bush—"Poor George, he can't help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth"—she instantly became a media celebrity and triggered a rivalry that would alter the course of American history. In 1990, Richards won the governorship of Texas, upsetting the GOP's colorful rancher and oilman Clayton Williams. The first ardent feminist elected to high office in America, she opened up public service to women, blacks, Hispanics, Asian Americans, gays, and the disabled. Her progressive achievements and the force of her personality created a lasting legacy that far transcends her rise and fall as governor of Texas.

In Let the People In, Jan Reid draws on his long friendship with Richards, interviews with her family and many of her closest associates, her unpublished correspondence with longtime companion Bud Shrake, and extensive research to tell a very personal, human story of Ann Richards's remarkable rise to power as a liberal Democrat in a conservative Republican state. Reid traces the whole arc of Richards's life, beginning with her youth in Waco, her marriage to attorney David Richards, her frustration and boredom with being a young housewife and mother in Dallas, and her shocking encounters with Lyndon Johnson and Jimmy Carter. He follows Richards to Austin and the wild 1970s scene and describes her painful but successful struggle against alcoholism. He tells the full, inside story of Richards's rise from county office and the state treasurer's office to the governorship, where she championed gun control, prison reform, environmental protection, and school finance reform, and he explains why she lost her reelection bid to George W. Bush, which evened his family's score and launched him toward the presidency. Reid describes Richards's final years as a world traveler, lobbyist, public speaker, and mentor and inspiration to office holders, including Hillary Clinton. His nuanced portrait reveals a complex woman who battled her own frailties and a good-old-boy establishment to claim a place on the national political stage and prove "what can happen in government if we simply open the doors and let the people in."

Doug Sahm was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist of legendary range and reputation. The first American musician to capitalize on the 1960s British invasion, Sahm vaulted to international fame leading a faux-British band called the Sir Douglas Quintet, whose hits included "She's About a Mover," "The Rains Came," and "Mendocino." He made the cover of Rolling Stone magazine in 1968 and 1971 and performed with the Grateful Dead, Dr. John, Willie Nelson, Boz Scaggs, and Bob Dylan.

Texas Tornado is the first biography of this national music legend. Jan Reid traces the whole arc of Sahm's incredibly versatile musical career, as well as the manic energy that drove his sometimes turbulent personal life and loves. Reid follows Sahm from his youth in San Antonio as a prodigy steel guitar player through his breakout success with the Sir Douglas Quintet and his move to California, where, with an inventive take on blues, rock, country, and jazz, he became a star in San Francisco and invented the "cosmic cowboy" vogue. Reid also chronicles Sahm's later return to Texas and to chart success with the Grammy Award–winning Texas Tornados, a rowdy "conjunto rock and roll band" that he modeled on the Beatles and which included Sir Douglas alum Augie Meyers and Tejano icons Freddy Fender and Flaco Jimenez.

With his exceptional talent and a career that bridged five decades, Doug Sahm was a rock and roll innovator whose influence can only be matched among his fellow Texas musicians by Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison, Janis Joplin, and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Texas Tornado vividly captures the energy and intensity of this musician whose life burned out too soon, but whose music continues to rock.

For more than three decades of writing about Texas, Jan Reid has reported topics and perspectives that are unsentimental and often unexpected: stories of cops on the beat, Mexican jailbreaks, counterculture country musicians, an oldtime liberal Texas politician, and cows in the corn at J. Frank Dobie's Paisano Ranch. In the course of that reporting, he has seen and has experienced some close calls—none closer than one in Mexico that threatened his own life. Close Calls collects some of the best of Reid's prolific writings into a volume that provides a uniquely personal crosssection of life—the dangerous and the daily—in Texas. The stories that emerge from these pages show and encourage a hardbiting appreciation for the real Texas and its real people. In Reid's nature pieces, he writes vividly of the rivers, canyonlands, and prairies that enrich our national heritage and of his adventures in the wild, including paddling the Devils River, visiting exotic ranches in South Texas, or dealing with rabid coyotes. In other chapters Reid relates dangers of a different sort, including his addiction to the sport of boxing.

But Close Calls is first a book of people—profiles of Texans rich and poor, famous and downtrodden. Reid provides details of his various assignments and the people and places he has encountered while working for Texas Monthly and other publications—going on beats with Texas police officers, attending church with George Foreman in New York, and meeting Kickapoo Indians in the Sierra Madres.

The book closes with a dramatic account of Reid's hijacking and nearfatal shooting by robbers in Mexico and of the tortuous fight he has waged back to health from his closest call of all.
Comanche Sundown is the story of the great war chief Quanah Parker, a freed slave and cowboy named Bose Ikard, and the women they love. In 1869 Quanah and Bose do their best to kill each other in a brutal fight on horseback in West Texas. But over several years, through the flash and chaos of war and killing they discover that they are friends, not enemies. They change from violent unformed youths into men of courage and decency.
The son of the ferocious warrior Nocona and the tragic captive Texan Cynthia Ann Parker, Quanah suffers the wound of being slurred and rejected by many Comanches as someone of impure blood and certain bad luck. When told he cannot marry his youthful love Weckeah, he rides off and joins another band of his people in the canyonlands and plains of the Texas Panhandle. Later, when Quanah has just emerged as a war chief in a daring rout of army cavalry, in defiance of elders and tradition he elopes with Weckeah and leads a following of the wildest Comanche bunch of all.
The enslaved son of a white physician, Bose is freed by the Civil War and rides on trail drives of longhorns into New Mexico Territory that are led by the pioneering Charles Goodnight. Bose winds up captured, utilized, and eventually valued by Quanah and his people. That period in young Bose’s life brings him into intoxicating friendship with Quanah’s other wife, To-ha-yea, a Mescalero Apache and born heart-breaker.
Comanche Sundown lays out a sprawling and plausible recast of Southwestern history that brings Pat Garrett, Billy the Kid, Bat Masterson, Colonel Ranald “Bad Hand” Mackenzie, and General William T. Sherman into one fray. In the tradition of Thomas Berger’s Little Big Man, William Styron’s The Confessions of Nat Turner, Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove, and Cormac McCarthy’s All the Pretty Horses, Jan Reid’s novel offers a rich blend of historical detail, exquisite eye for the terrain and the animals, and insight into the culture, customs, poetry, and dignity of Native Americans caught up in a desperate fight to survive.
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