L Davis
Steven L Davis
Considered “one of Texas’ leading scholars of its indigenous culture,” Steven L. Davis is an author, editor, curator, and speaker.

His books include Texas Literary Outlaws,  J. Frank Dobie: A Liberated Mind, and Dallas 1963 (co-written with Bill Minutaglio.)

He is a longtime Curator at the Wittliff Collections at Texas State University in San Marcos, which holds the literary papers of the region's leading writers. He has developed and curated over 30 exhibits at the Wittliff Collections. He has appeared on television and radio and made dozens of public talks.

He is editor of Land of the Permanent Wave: An Edwin "Bud" Shrake Reader and co-editor of Lone Star Sleuths: Mystery-Detective Fiction in Texas.

He is the Vice President of the Texas Institute of Letters. His writing has appeared in Slate, the New Republic, The Daily Beast, the Texas Observer, American Prospect, San Antonio Express - News, Southwestern American Literature, Texas Books in Review, and the Southwestern Historical Quarterly.

He lives in New Braunfels, Texas with his wife and their children, along with some cool dogs and cats.

author photographs by Natalie Ruiz Davis. Below: snorkeling in the Comal River

Books News About Steve  Contact
dallas 1963Steven L. Davis is the co-author of DALLAS 1963, written with Bill Minutaglio

Winner of the PEN USA Research Nonfiction Award

an Amazon Best History Book of 2013

Named one of the Best Books of the Year by Kirkus, The New Republic, Washington Post's "The Fix," The Seattle Times, The Kansas City Star, the Oklahoman. Named a "Top 3 JFK Book" by Parade magazine. Named "One of the Five Essential Kennedy Assassination Books Ever Written" by the Daily Beast.

Praise  for  DALLAS  1963

All the great personalities of Dallas during the assassination come alive in this superb rendering of a city on a roller coaster into disaster.  History has been waiting fifty years for this book. 

—Lawrence Wright, New Yorker writer and Pulitzer Prize-winning author

After fifty years, it’s a challenge to fashion a new lens with which to view the tragic events of November 22, 1963—yet Texans [Minutaglio and Davis] pull it off brilliantly.Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

A chilling portrait... The accounts of events in 1963 unfold in the book like a thriller novel.—Associated Press

The authors describe the potent brew of right-wing passions, much of it well organized and well funded... Dallas 1963 places the assassin in context as a malleable, unstable figure breathing the city’s extraordinarily feverish air.
— George Packer, The New Yorker

A riveting portrait of a city roiled by paranoia and hate.Parade

A taut, suspenseful moral melodrama. Minutaglio and Davis vividly bring to life a right-wing rogues' gallery.The San Francisco Chronicle

With tremendously good research and graceful storytelling, the authors reveal the accelerating power of reactionary politics. — The Christian Science Monitor

DALLAS 1963 fascinated me most, because it showcases an extremism all too relevant to our time.The Boston Globe

None of those new [Kennedy] books will achieve a fresher approach, or be presented as skillfully, as DALLAS 1963. The Seattle Times

A brilliantly written, haunting eulogy to John F. Kennedy. By exposing the right-wing hatred aimed at our 35th president, the authors demonstrates that America—not just Lee Harvey Oswald—was ultimately responsible for his death. Every page is an eye opener. Highly recommended!—Douglas Brinkley, professor of history at Rice University and author

I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Bill Minutaglio and Steven L. Davis for filling in an embarrassing gap in my education. They co-wrote Dallas 1963...It's wonderful, and I suggest you go ahead and [order] it now.—Tim Rogers, editor of D magazine

A well-reported and unique contribution. Kirkus

This fine book proves that there is always something new to be said about that much-discussed subject. Booklist

For the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination there are dozens of books coming. But the only one, for my money, that really distinguishes itself is this terrifying account of the potent blend of right-wing hysteria, subversive reactionaries, and violence that bubbled over in Dallas in the years before Oswald pulled the trigger. The scariest part: the paranoid right was as freaked out then as they are now. The Daily Beast

Minutaglio and Davis] so effectively set the scene in the years, months and weeks leading up to Nov. 22 that the assassination reads not as a historical abomination but as the logical result of the violence, paranoia and hate that preceded it. —Patrick Beach, Austin American-Statesman 

Mesmerizing...[General Edwin Walker] comes off as a real-life version of Jack D. Ripper from Dr. Strangelove, and that movie's sense of dark comedy and menace permeates the real world of Dallas in this era. —Maclean's

Minutaglio and Davis capture in fascinating detail the creepiness that shamed Dallas in 1963.
Gary Cartwright, author and contributing editor at Texas Monthly

Vivid.  Detroit News

A fast-paced narrative...The authors never claim directly that Dallas became a place where Oswald felt welcome doing what he did, but their cautionary tale makes the assassination seem almost inevitable. San Diego Union-Tribune

Fascinating.Kansas City Star

A brisk and invigorating read. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

In this harrowing, masterfully-paced depiction of a disaster waiting to happen, Minutaglio and Davis examine a prominent American city in its now-infamous moment of temporary insanity. Because those days of partisan derangement look all too familiar today, DALLAS 1963 isn’t just a gripping narrative—it’s also a somber cautionary tale. Robert Draper, New York Times Magazine contributor and author

The authors skillfully marry a narrative of the lead-up to the fateful day with portrayals of the Dixiecrats, homophobes, John Birchers, hate-radio spielers, and the ‘superpatriots’ who were symptomatic of the paranoid tendency in American politics. —Harold Evans, former editor Times of London and author

Minutaglio and Davis effectively tell that valuable story, chronically weaving together episodes and characters from 1960 to 1963...DALLAS 1963 clearly explains why the city's leaders deserved the shame that followed.San Antonio Express-News

Finely researched...history writing at its best and an excellent study of the psychology of hate.
The Oklahoman

Every great book season needs that one deeply researched non-fiction heavyweight, and this fall, it's DALLAS 1963, a collaboration between writers Bill Minutaglio and Steven L. Davis that should be enthralling catnip for history junkies.Matt Barone, Complex Pop Culture

Why was JFK assassinated in Dallas, of all places? Minutaglio and Davis answer that question...and even though we know what happened, getting to that last point is squirmy: my heart pounded, I wanted to yell  'WATCH OUT!' When you can immerse yourself in a book like that, it's always a good sign—which is why I recommend this one. —Christopher Lawrence, Las Vegas Review-Journal

The acclaimed Texas journalists superbly put the shocking scenes at Dealey Plaza into context. And context is always king.Fiachra Ó Cionnaith, Irish Examiner

Brillante Beweisführung. —Uwe Schmitt, Die Welt

A remarkable new book...The best examinations of history remind us that forces driving the events of, say 50 years ago, are...likely to re-form and gather strength anew.  Steve Robinson, "Do Events of 50 Years Ago Remind Us of Today's Front Page?"