peaks within that range: Mounts Livermore,
Sawtooth, and Blue, for example.
We see farmlands made lyrical by the pattern
of the plow. We view industrial sites
such as cotton gins, oil fields, and freeways
as clean, systematic, and well ordered.
Even a new Abilene subdivision of
closely set houses glows in the golden
light of the West Texas sunset.
Divided into ten geographical regions:
the Trans-Pecos, the Panhandle, West
Texas, North Texas, Central Texas, East
Texas and the Piney Woods, the Upper
Coastal Region, the Coastal Bend, South
Texas, and the Lower Rio Grande Valley,
the book represents all of Texas. Rural
areas of county courthouses, or an isolated
country cemetery, are juxtaposed
with urban views of city skylines, airports,
bus stations, and new construction
sites. Major architectural monuments of
the state also appear-the Capitol in
Austin, the Alamo in San Antonio, the
Cotton Bowl in Dallas.
Visually the book is stunning. Photographers
Ellzey, Hall O'Rear, and Weissgarber
are to be thanked for giving us
such incredibly rich and textured pictures
of our state. Looking, however, is just the
first reward to Texas, A Salute from Above.
Reading the text is the second. T. R.
Fehrenbach, whose book Lone Star has
become the state's Sesquicentennial bestseller
and is the book on which the public
television series was based, has captioned
the photographs with historical knowledge
and insights, and the latest information
from the Texas Almanac. We are
given marvelous historical facts: the
names of peaks within mountain ranges,
town sizes, county seats, the people behind
the founding of particular towns,
the growth of industry, the history of the
big ranches, the importance of windmills
and barbed wire, the use of stock tanks,
and even such bits of trivia as the source
of the once-popular song recorded by Phil
Harris, "Ding Dong Daddy from Dumas."
The historical information is presented in
small, informative doses and with enough
humor to prevent tedium. Facts are presented
in an essay at the beginning of
each of the ten geographically designated
The writing is clear, informative, and
obviously from the hand of one closely associated
with the state. There is a tone of
warmth and familiarity in the writing.
The book elicits pleasurable emotions; it's
like a Sunday afternoon at your aunt's,
looking at stereoscopic photographs, except
these pictures show us the present of
Texas, not the past. But you also realize
how quickly the present becomes the
past. Since this book was published, the
landscape and urban areas have changed.
Thus, Texas, A Salute from Above is a fertile
pictorial history of Texas in the several
years before the Sesquicentennial.
Becky Duval Reese is assistant director at the
Archer M. Huntington Art Gallery of the
University of Texas at Austin.
l~ ~ ~ ~ ~~~ okt eert
A Book to Celebrate
By Mary Lou Burkett
Like the "Tales of King Arthur," this epic poem
in blank verse celebrates the "fighting men of
Texas" from the days of the Texas revolution to
the present. Eighteen full-page illustrations by
Joan Hilbig portray such fighting men as
Travis, Bowie and Houston. Mrs. Burkett researched
letters, journals and primary history
to assure fidelity to historic events. The author,
who has written a musical about Spindletop,
makes her home in Baytown.
6 x 9, illustrated,
ISBN 0-89015-571-2, hardback ............... $9.95
Available at your favorite bookstore or you may order
from EAKIN PRESS, P.O. Box 23066, Austin, Texas 78735.
Phone orders accepted (Visa or MasterCard)
512 / 288-1771.
Publication date: September 1
Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 4, Number 3, Winter 1986. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45440/. Accessed September 5, 2015.