West Texas: A Portrait of Its People and Their Raw and Wondrous Landby Mike Cochran and John Lumpkin
Texas Tech University Press, 200 pp., $34.95
A nonphotographic coffeetable book about West Texas sounds like an oxymoron, but this oversize book lives up to its subtitle, and is a valuable addition to the western branch of Texana. Co-authors Cochran and Lumpkin are Associated Press correspondents who have chosen their topics very carefully, and their thoughtful editorial work makes for an entertaining volume. Topics include ranching, the oil business, Judge Roy Bean, the weather, Clayton Williams, the Marfa lights, Stanley Marsh 3, colorful small towns, unusual restaurants, high school football, murder, tornados, Billie Sol Estes, and Big Bend. These tales are well-written and researched so that either the homesick West Texan or a stranger to that strange land can benefit from this compendium. (There actually are some photographs taken by a Pulitzer Prize winner for the AP, Ron Heflin.) Texas Tech Chancellor John Montford writes the foreword, capping off an attractive book.