Edited Books

The Essential J. Frank Dobie

Setting out to create a collection of J. Frank Dobie’s writing that “brings him alive and makes him relevant to current generations of readers,” Steven L. Davis has combed through the works of this renowned Texas author, gathering together in one volume Dobie’s most vital writings. Dobie’s stories and essays here are meticulously edited to “prune away some of the brushy undergrowth” and bring Dobie’s folksy, erudite voice bounding back to life.

Dobie emerges here as an unquestionably modern figure.  His luminous and biting prose—as nature writer, travel writer, historian and public intellectual—feels unconfined by time and place, and as a passionate witness to the devastation of war and the destruction of the natural world he speaks to us now with a new urgency. The Essential J. Frank Dobie really is an essential book.  — Stephen Harrigan

What a wonder! The Essential J. Frank Dobie is the book we have long been awaiting. Dobie's unquenchable enthusiasm, passion for our state, and eloquent reveries on the poignant losses of time and change, feel crucial right now. Here, Dobie and Davis, with helpful contextual commentary, offer everything from cedar fever anguish to an astonishing image of fireball lightning erupting on the horn-tips of an entire herd of longhorns during a mighty storm. — Naomi Shihab Nye

Despite J. Frank's Dobie's popularity as a legendary figure, his reputation as a writer has been compromised by a questioning of his literary status. This fine collection asserts that J. Frank Dobie is an authentic author in the realm of American literature. — John Rechy

This elegantly assembled anthology reminds us of Dobie’s legacy as a literary natural historian and poetic ethnographer from the Brush Country, of his vision of a ‘greater Tejas’ that spanned at least from the Sierra Madre to the Panhandle, of a free thinker who could connect the hardscrabble life of old Texas with the destiny of humanity itself. — John Phillip Santos

All of the author's royalties from The Essential J. Frank Dobie will go to the J. Frank Dobie Library Trust to help small Texas libraries purchase books.

"Land of the Permanent Wave offers a vibrant look at American and Texas culture through the eyes of one of the most remarkable writers the state has produced. Edwin “Bud” Shrake seems to have packed about six lifetimes worth of living into one, and he writes about his experiences with intelligence, wit, and skill." — Ben Fountain


Edwin "Bud" Shrake is one of the most intriguing literary talents to emerge from Texas. He has written vividly in fiction and nonfiction about everything from the early days of the Texas Republic to the making of the atomic bomb. His real gift has been to capture the Texas Zeitgeist. Legendary Harper's Magazine editor Willie Morris called Shrake's essay "Land of the Permanent Wave" one of the two best pieces Morris ever published during his tenure at the magazine. High praise, indeed, when one considers that Norman Mailer and Seymour Hersh were just two of the luminaries featured at Harper's during Morris's reign.

This anthology is the first to present and explore Shrake's writing completely, including his journalism, fiction, and film work, both published and previously unpublished. The collection makes innovative use of his personal papers and letters to explore the connections between his journalism and his novels, between his life and his art. An exceptional behind-the-scenes look at his life, Land of the Permanent Wave reveals and reveres the life and calling of a writer whose legacy continues to influence and engage readers and writers nearly fifty years into his career.

"An excellent anthology of Texas crime fiction." — Texas Observer

An overdue showcase for serious, clever, sometimes rambunctious talent who fracture clichés and face up to the state's dirty laundry...The editors' choices largely reflect a real, not formulaic, Texas: its history, hazards, topography and weather...does what a good anthology should - send us running to read more of the works and authors excerpted in its pages. — Dallas Morning News

Well-chosen selections...good, often vivid, writing...can make one see, feel, hear and taste everything from intense heat to shivers of fear." — San Antonio Express-News


Texas has always staked a large claim on the nation's imagination, and its mystery literature is no exception. Hundreds of crime novels are set within the state, most of which have been published in the last twenty years. From the highest point atop the Guadalupe Mountains in West Texas to the Piney Woods of East Texas, from the High Plains of the Panhandle to the subtropical climate of the lower Rio Grande Valley, mystery writers have covered every aspect of Texas's extraordinarily diverse geography.

The first book to emphasize the wealth of Texas's mystery writers and the images they convey of the state's wide range of regions and cultures, Lone Star Sleuths is a noteworthy introduction not only to the literary genre but also to a sense of Texas as a place in fiction. Celebrating a genre that has expanded to include women and an increasing diversity of cultures, the book features selections from the works of such luminaries as Kinky Friedman and Mary Willis Walker, lesser-known stars in the making, and even some outsiders like Nevada Barr and Carolyn Hart who have succumbed to the allure of the state's weather, geography, and colorful history. Lone Star Sleuths captures the sense of place that distinguishes much of the great literature set in Texas, and is a must-read for mystery lovers.


Series Editor and Volume Editor for the University of Texas Press

Among the books I've helped develop for publication are:

Hecho en Tejas: An Anthology of Texas Mexican Literature

Homegrown: Austin Music Posters 1967-1982

Two Prospectors: The Letters of Sam Shepard and Johnny Dark

Acting Up and Getting Down: Plays by African American Texans

In Search of the Blues: A Journey to the Soul of Black Texas

Sanctified and Chicken Fried: The Portable Joe R. Lansdale

Winifred Sanford: The Life and Times of a Texas Writer