2023 Issue: Review of Texas Books


Review of Texas Books-2023 Issue Cover


We're back!

For our 2023 issue, we've created a digital space that allows users to share links to single reviews and a digital flipbook for those who enjoy having pages to "turn." We hope you enjoy these reviews and that you will add some of this Texana to your own library. Thanks for supporting Texas writers, readers, and publishers, and thanks for checking out the new format of Review of Texas Books!

Letter from the Editors    2023 Books in Review    Flipbook: 2023 Issue

From the Editors

Banned Books by Jeffrey Woo
Source: The Guardian; Photograph: Jefferee Woo/AP


Spring greetings from the shiny new editorial team at Review of Texas Books! Since the departure of our former editor, the singular and much-missed Jennifer H. Ravey, we have been planning, curating, and designing this issue and forthcoming ones. We thank you for your continued patronage of the Review and hope you will share it with all the readers in your life. We have decided to continue as an annual digital publication issued in early spring; we will carry forward our tradition of offering a handful of reviews “from the backlist” but will primarily print reviews of books published in the previous year.

In 2023, dear Texans, we read on through unprecedented headlines of war, strikes, felony indictments and convictions of high-level government leaders, Twitter’s rebranding, failing banks, and The Eras Tour. We read about shifting geohistorical landscapes in John S. Wilson’s Mapping Texas and shifting political landscapes of Reconstruction in Robert J. Dillard’s Two Counties in Crisis. We read of racially coded Ranger justice in the biographies of John B. Denton, by Mike Cochran, and Leander McNelly, by Tom Clavin. We heard Latino voices speak of the terrors of cartel violence and immigration in A Night of Screams, a horror anthology edited by Richard Z. Santos.

We read on, through another year of aggressive book banning activity in our state, of subjects academic, polemic, and poetic, while legislative and judicial bodies grappled over Texas H.B. 900 – not only its onerous implications for libraries and students in our state, but also its imperilment of the specific, protected freedoms of all writers and readers. January 2024 brought triumph for book activists and for First Amendment rights as a federal court ruled the ironically-named READER law and its anti-book machinations unconstitutional.

And so, in 2024, a reader in Texas may marvel – even as books are martyrized in pyres all around us – that champions of free speech are acting, the constitution is still working, words are still winning, and our state remains a wildly literary land. In such a complicated and spectacular place, we depend more than ever upon the advocacy and awe of art, and Texas continues to produce some of the greatest writers and writing in the world. We celebrate some of it here, and we look forward to another enriching year of reading and global citizenship with you.

Casey, Adam, & Lily

Casey L. Ford and Adam Nemmers, Editors
Lily Yoder, Editorial Assistant

Books in Review

Accepted cover links to review

Accepted: San Antonio Series, Book 3
by Paula Peckham
Reviewed by Cheryl Johnson

At What Cost cover links to review

At What Cost, Silence?
by Karen Lynne Klink
Reviewed by Phillip Zozzaro

Behind the Scenes cover links to review

Behind the Scenes: Covering the JFK
Assassination, by Darwin Payne
Reviewed by Sarah Tusa

Follow Me to Hell cover links to review

Follow Me to Hell: McNelly's Texas
Rangers..., by Tom Clavin
Reviewed by Lloyd Daigrepont

Hungry Ghost Diner RTB cover links to review

The Hungry Ghost Diner: Poems
by Kelly Ann Ellis
Reviewed by Nicki Michalski

John B Denton cover links to review

John B. Denton: The Bigger-Than-Life
Story..., by Mike Cochran
Reviewed by Lloyd Daigrepont

La Quinta Soledad RTB cover links to review

La Quinta Soledad: A Novel
by Silviana Wood
Reviewed by Rafael Castillo

Mapping Texas RTB cover links to review

Mapping Texas: A Cartographic
Journey 1561-1860, edited by John S.
Wilson, Reviewed by Andy Coughlan

Night of Screams RTB cover links to review

A Night of Screams: Latino Horror
Stories, by Richard Z. Santos
Reviewed by César Delgado

Outcry Witness cover links to review

Outcry Witness: A Novel
by Thomas Zigal
Reviewed by Karen Bartlett

Selling the Humanities RTB cover links to review

Selling the Humanities: Essays
by Jeffrey R. Di Leo
Reviewed by Hannah Franklin

Stories from the Sheriffs Daughter RTB cover links to review

Stories from the Sheriff's Daughter:
A Novel, by Lareida Buckley
Reviewed by Stacey Knight

Strangers Heart RTB cover links to review

A Stranger's Heart
by Laurence Musgrove
Reviewed by Casey L. Ford

Two Counties RTB cover links to review

Two Counties in Crisis: Measuring
Political Change..., by Robert J. Dillard
Reviewed by James P. Nelson