Michael Ennis

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Michael Ennis has been a regular contributor to Texas Monthly since 1977. He is the New York Times best-selling author of the historical novels The Malice of Fortune, Duchess of Milan, and Byzantium, which have been published worldwide. He earned his degree in history from the University of California, Berkeley; taught art history at the University of Texas, Austin; and is a former John D. Rockefeller III Foundation Fellow. His nonfiction writing, on subjects ranging from military preparedness and national politics to art and architecture, has won several national awards; been included in the curriculum of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point; and has been published in a number of books and anthologies as well as magazines such as Esquire, ARTnews, and Architectural Digest.

Articles by Michael Ennis

Dallas Flambé

Aug 5, 2014 By Michael Ennis

With its tight prose, waitress heroine, and stinging insight into urban life, Merritt Tierce’s debut marks an exciting turn in Texas literature.

The Rough Guide to Frackistan

Apr 8, 2014 By Michael Ennis

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, should rank alongside the smartphone as this young century’s most transformative technology. Over the past decade, so much oil and gas has been unlocked from previously impervious rock that America’s generation-long energy crisis has all but ended. Instead of a crippling strategic vulnerability—dependence on foreign…

Bipolar Order

Nov 19, 2013 By Michael Ennis

Contrary to what the national media would have you believe, Texas is not politically monochromatic. It is, and always has been, a state with two minds.

Spun City

Oct 21, 2013 By Michael Ennis

For half a century the world has regarded the Dallas of 1963 as a city of hate. But as JFK knew when he got there, that wasn’t the whole story.

The Re-Searchers

Jun 10, 2013 By Michael Ennis

Why, in books and movies (not to mention politics), we keep returning to the epic frontier struggle between the Comanche and the Texas Rangers.

Change of Art

Jan 24, 2013 By Michael Ennis

Just over forty years ago, Texas was the kind of place dismissed as hopelessly provincial and culturally mediocre. But then came the Kimbell Art Museum.

Arch of Triumph

Jan 21, 2013 By Michael Ennis

Dallas’s almost-finished Calatrava bridge may be an emblem of the city’s status. But the smart urban plan for the small neighborhood it leads to says more about the city’s future.

The 10 Best Buildings in Texas

Mar 1, 2009 By Michael Ennis

A tour of our greatest architectural master-pieces—from the Alamo to the World Birding Center—shows how the collision of the Old World and the New forged a unique style on the Texas frontier.

Bear Market

Mar 1, 2008 By Michael Ennis

The historic showdown between Texas and California has been a cold war, a simmering ideological feud between two great powers. And the winner (for now) is . . .

How We Blew It

Mar 31, 2007 By Michael Ennis

Remember all that talk of tipping the balance of history on a fulcrum of those “Texas values” everyone was crowing about?

All Shook Up

Sep 30, 2006 By Michael Ennis

Independent candidates for governor won’t win this year, but they’ve certainly upended the established order. Democrats and Republicans, you have only yourselves to blame.

T.R. Fehrenbach Is History

Jun 30, 2006 By Michael Ennis

He’s still the gold standard by which all chroniclers of our shared experience are judged, but it’s time to look to the new generation. How do his wannabe heirs stack up?

North Toward Home

Apr 1, 2006 By Michael Ennis

As surprising as our immigrant-friendliness may be to many, it speaks to who we are. To be a Texan is to inhabit a vast bicultural frontera, one that extends far beyond the Rio Grande.

No Hat, No Cattle

Jan 1, 2005 By Michael Ennis

We Texans have long considered ourselves, in mythical terms, old cowhands. But we’re waking up to discover that we’re really city slickers.

The Cowboy Myth

Sep 30, 2004 By Michael Ennis

The idea that U.S. policy bears an indelible made-in- Texas stamp is a rare point of bipartisan consensus. But there's nothing inherently Texan about the president's leadership style.

The Accidental City

Dec 1, 2003 By Michael Ennis

A new anthology of articles about Houston from the journal of the Rice Design Alliance is a sweeping historical overview, a civic memoir, and a municipal self-help guide.

Prints of a Fellow

May 31, 2003 By Michael Ennis

The addition of Leo Steinberg's magnificent collection makes it official: UT-Austin's Blanton is one of the best university art museums in the country.

The Minimalist

Apr 1, 2003 By Michael Ennis

The real revelation of Donald Judd's early work is how far ahead of its time it looks—not simply its own time, but our time as well.

Peter’s Principles

Aug 31, 2002 By Michael Ennis

Some people look at Houston and see only rough edges. Peter Marzio, the director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, sees a brash upstart that should be proud of its cultural riches.