John Graves

John Graves was born in Fort Worth in 1920 where he explored the Trinity River bottom before it became littered with beer cans. He graduated from Rice University, received a master’s degree from Columbia, and served in the Pacific as a firm lieutenant where he lost the sight in one eye. He taught at the University of Texas and Texas Christian University before writing four notable Texas books, Goodbye to a River, Hard Scrabble, From a Limestone Ledge, and Myself and Strangers. Over the years, Graves has also contributed to Texas Monthly and written for the Sierra Club, the Atlantic, Esquire, and the New Yorker.

The Old Country

I've become a sort of pessimistic accepter of the changes that have beset the Hill Country in recent years, unacceptable though many of them may be. But I'm grateful for having experienced the hills earlier, when change was slight—and grateful too for corners and stretches still untouched.

Art |
January 20, 2013

Paw Prints

Photographer Keith Carter’s latest pet project reminds me of big Texas dogs I’ve owned—some clownish, some serious, but every one of them great.

Sports |
September 30, 2006

Great Guns

In my 86 years I’ve come into the possession of an assortment of firearms: a Colt .32-caliber semiautomatic pistol that my grandfather bought at a hardware store in Cuero; a Remington Model 870 pump, 20-gauge shotgun that my Aggie uncle-by-marriage used to shoot birds; the Winchester Model 06 pump .22

Environment |
September 30, 1984

Dead Oaks

Texas’ beloved live oaks are falling victim to a creeping fungus, and no one knows how to stop it.

Travel & Outdoors |
May 31, 1982

Big River

A photographic tour of the timeless Rio Grande, from its origins in the mountains of Colorado to the Padre Island dunes at the tip of Texas.

Travel & Outdoors |
March 1, 1981

Going Under

For a man and his daughter out for a pleasant day’s fishing, the first sign of danger was a man’s hat floating silently down the stream.

Country Notes |
August 31, 1980

The Heat Treatment

This one has been a humdinger, but every Texas summer is broiling hot—and that’s nothing to get all steamed up about.

Country Notes |
May 31, 1980

Whose Woods Are These?

As more and more city dwellers tread on the landscape, farmers and ranchers are less inclined to forgive those who trespass against them.

Country Notes |
November 1, 1979

Kindred Spirits

Don’t both with séances or clairvoyants. There is a much better way to contact the shades of the past.

Country Notes |
December 1, 1978

Sacred Cows

Cows are dumb, they eat a lot, and they cost more to raise than they’re worth. Still, you can’t help loving ’em.

Country Notes |
July 31, 1978

The Loser

When another farmer goes broke his neighbors thank God it wasn’t them; then they wonder when their turn is coming.

Country Notes |
April 1, 1977

Good as Gold

For most treasure hunters, the hunt is more important than the treasure.

Critters |
February 1, 1977


Living in the country is all you ever wanted—and probably more than you bargained for.