Tyler Beard is Texas'—and thus the world's—top authority on Western wear, and his latest tome is this kicky compendium on the sole of the American West. The author, who lives on a ranch near Goldthwaite, tracks the history of the cowboy boot, tips his hat to 28 custom bootmakers around the country (most here in his home stomping grounds), sheds light on decorative rarities such as cactus-fiber embroidery, and offers a glossary for new Texans unfamiliar with phrases such as "cockroach killers." Photos by Santa Fe's Jim Arndt showcase pair after pair of staggeringly beautiful creations. Among them are vintage dazzlers burnished with verdigris and gold, from singer Lefty Frizzell's collection; whimsical ode-to-caviar treasures of stingray leather, crafted by El Paso's Rocketbuster Boots U.S.A. (whose clients include Arnold Schwarzenegger and Oprah Winfrey); and the eighteen surviving masterpieces of the famous State Boot collection, executed between 1949 and 1951 by Cosimo Lucchese of San Antonio. by Anne Dingus
If you enjoy reading Anne's reviews, you might be interested to know that she has a new book out. It's called All Hat and No Cattle: A Guide for New Texans and the West of Us .