Thursday, October 27, 2011

Gangster Tour of Texas, by T. Lindsay Baker

At the Texas Book Festival, I enjoyed hearing the author read a chapter from this book.   As a consequence, the voice in my head as I read this text was his -- his soft Texas accent, his cadence and word emphasis.   It made the reading altogether more fun.

This is a very different sort of book from another local Texas history text I've just read, in that this one, instead of celebrating heroes, tells the stories of villains.   Just as the title indicates.

The downside of this is that I'm personally quite a bit less motivated to take a road trip to see where bad guys did their thing.

But the stories were captivating.   This is a fine example of history telling come alive.

There are two other great things about this book.  First, at the conclusion of each chapter, you'll find detailed instructions about how to find each of the sites mentioned, including detailed little maps.   And second, each chapter ends with a "Judge the evidence for yourself" section providing the detailed references for the story told.

This is a fun book even if you're not crazy about crime stories, because it tells tales of the very early 1900s in story form and is quite well written.

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