The Oral Histories
Oral histories celebrate the power of the primary source. For it's the firsthand observer to history and his unique imprint of remembrances that are the building blocks of this form of storytelling. Here, seventeen moments from our modern era—some from our darkest hours, others from our greatest triumphs—are reconstructed with tick-tock precision by weaving together the first-persons accounts of dozens (if not hundreds) of sources.
Nearly two centuries after their forebears protected colonists from Indian raids, the Texas Rangers are alive and well and wrestling with the realities of the twenty-first century. In their own words, the iconic crime fighters explain how their world has changed—and what it takes to battle the latest generation of bad guys.
Twenty-five years ago, Larry McMurtry published a novel called Lonesome Dove—and Texas hasn’t looked the same since. Listen in as more than thirty writers, critics, producers, and actors, from Peter Bogdonavich and Dave Hickey to Tommy Lee Jones, Robert Duvall, and Anjelica Huston, tell the stories behind the book (and the miniseries) that changed the way we see the West.
On March 31, 1995, South Texas came to a standstill as the shocking news spread that the hugely popular Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla Perez had been shot and killed in Corpus Christi. Fifteen years later, the people who knew Selena best recall the life and devastating death of a star who touched us all.
In this extraordinary oral history, Willie Nelson’s friends, kin, and collaborators (Jimmy Carter, Emmylou Harris, Robert Redford, Merle Haggard, and many more big names) tell their favorite stories about the Red Headed Stranger.
On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made history as the first humans to set foot on the surface of the moon. Forty years later, the researchers, astronauts, engineers, scientists, and NASA officials who made the voyage possible remember the day the Eagle landed.
At 11:48 a.m. on August 1, 1966, Charles Whitman began firing his rifle from the top of the University of Texas Tower at anyone and everyone in his sights. At 1:24 p.m., he was gunned down himself. The lives of the people who witnessed the sniper’s spree firsthand would never be the same again.
Bad as the current drought is, it has yet to match the most arid spell in Texas history. Nearly two dozen survivors of the fifties drought remember the time it never rained.
Forty years ago, Willie, Waylon, Jerry Jeff, and a whole host of Texas misfits grew their hair long, snubbed Nashville, and brought the hippies and rednecks together. The birth of outlaw country changed country music forever.
It will be remembered as the year of smoke and devastation, as drought-fueled flames wreaked unprecedented havoc across Texas, from Bastrop County to Possum Kingdom. A photographic and oral history of the 2011 wildfires.
Eight years ago, the closest presidential election ever was settled in a political street fight. In this oral history of the Florida recount, the victors recall the unbelievable twists and turns that put George W. Bush in the White House.
On April 19, 1993, the world watched as the Branch Davidian compound, outside Waco, burned to the ground after a 51-day standoff. Fifteen years later, witnesses and participants—from federal agents to loyal followers of David Koresh—remember what they saw during the deadliest law enforcement operation in U.S. history.
From humble Oak Cliff roots did a hip intellectual giant grow. In this oral history, friends and fans remember the late Grover Lewis, one of the great magazine writers of our day.
How the Texans who organized the Swift Boat Vets capsized John Kerry’s presidential campaign.
He’s gone but not forgotten—particularly now, when leadership is in such short supply. Friends and
colleagues recall why the late lieutenant governor was one of a kind.
Buddy Holly. Waylon Jennings. Carolyn Hester. The Hancocks. The Flatlanders. An oral history of the state's most storied music scene.
On March 18, 1937, the residents of New London, southeast of Tyler, endured the worst small-town tragedy in U.S. history: an explosion at the combined junior-senior high school that killed some three hundred students and teachers.
How Matthew McConaughey got discovered, why Renée Zellweger’s part is so small, why some of the actresses can’t eat ketchup to this day, and everything else you didn’t know about the making of the classic high school flick Dazed and Confused.