Longreads

Sports |
January 21, 2013

What Do You Think of the Rangers Now?

The Rangers? Don’t look now, but after four decades of haplessness, the boys from Arlington are poised to make a run at something more than just another pennant. They might just be . . . America’s (new) Team.

Feature |
January 21, 2013

The Birdman of Texas

Victor Emanuel can find you a hooded warbler, a horned guan, or maybe even an Eskimo curlew. But his real genius is that he can get you to really look at a grackle.

True Crime |
January 21, 2013

The Lost Boys

It was the most shocking crime of its day, 27 boys from the same part of town kidnapped, tortured, and killed by an affable neighbor named Dean Corll. Forty years later, it remains one of the least understood—or talked about—chapters in Houston's history.

Texas History |
January 20, 2013

Ring of Fire

On November 18, 1999, at 2:42 a.m., the most passionately observed collegiate tradition in Texas—if not the world—came crashing down. Nearly sixty people were on top of the Texas A&M Bonfire when the million-pound structure collapsed, killing twelve, wounding dozens more, and eventually leading to the suspension of the ninety-year-old…

Longreads |
January 20, 2013

The Last Empire

The King Ranch saga: how one family conquered, tamed, loved, toiled on, and fought over a great piece of Texas.

Feature |
January 20, 2013

Free to Kill

Once, the State of Texas was going to put Kenneth McDuff to death as payment for his crimes. Instead, it set him free to murder again.

True Crime |
January 20, 2013

Blood Will Sell

The richest man ever tried for murder has found the Lord, along with a new career peddling hand cream. Are you buying the latest incarnation of Cullen Davis?…

Feature |
January 20, 2013

The Good Book and the Bad Book

When parents at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, in Austin—where the Capital City’s moneyed elite have educated their kids for more than fifty years—rebelled against the teaching of Brokeback Mountain, it was, you might say, a learning experience for everyone involved.

Feature |
January 20, 2013

Law and Disorder

During his lifetime, he captivated Houston with his courtroom brilliance, outsized ambition, and high-dollar lifestyle. But in the year since John O’Quinn’s tragic death, a bitter estate battle has revealed who he really was.

Politics & Policy |
January 20, 2013

Tea for Texas

It has more supporters here than anywhere else. It fueled the Republican landslide. It has its own caucus. But what is the tea party? And how will it use its power?…

Feature |
January 20, 2013

Innocence Found

Anthony Graves had been behind bars for eighteen years when the prosecutors in his case abruptly dropped all charges and set him free. How did it happen? What happens next?…

Feature |
January 20, 2013

The Slow Life and Fast Death of DJ Screw

He was one of the most influential cultural figures in Texas—–a generous godfather to a generation of rappers, an entrepreneur of Houston's mean streets, the master of a scene fueled by codeine cough syrup and hip-hop beats. When he overdosed in November at the age of 29, it was easy…

Feature |
January 20, 2013

Innocence Lost

Anthony Graves has spent the past eighteen years behind bars—twelve of them on death row—for a grisly 1992 murder. There was no plausible motive nor any physical evidence to connect him to the crime, and the only witness against him repeatedly recanted his testimony. Yet he remains locked up. Did…

Feature |
January 20, 2013

Gentling Cheatgrass

What does it take to break a wild mustang? Patience, horse sense, experience, and if you’re Teryn Lee Muench, no more than one hundred days.

Music |
January 20, 2013

The Soul of a Man

For nearly sixty years, a succession of obsessed blues and gospel fans have trekked across Texas, trying to unearth the story of one of the greatest, and most mysterious, musicians of the twentieth century. But the more they find, the less they seem to know.

Music |
January 20, 2013

Birthplaces of the Blues

Want to see the Texas of Leadbelly, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Mance Lipscomb, and other pioneering musicians of the twentieth century? Your trip through time begins near Washington-on-the-Brazos.

Feature |
January 20, 2013

Big State, Small Screen

Is Friday Night Lights the best TV show ever made about Texas? Or just the first one (sorry, J.R.! Sorry, Hank!) that’s tried so hard to get the details right?…

Books |
January 20, 2013

True West

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…

Food & Drink |
January 20, 2013

I Believe I Can Fry

How a mild-mannered database analyst from Dallas became the undisputed king of extreme competitive deep-frying in Texas—which is to say, the world.

Energy |
January 20, 2013

That’s Oil, Folks!

Forget the Outer Continental Shelf. There’s a good old-fashioned boom happening in Midland, thanks to a crafty drilling technique that unlocked the secret reserves of the Permian Basin and revived the late, great West Texas oilman.

History |
January 20, 2013

My Own Private Alamo

After 164 years, what more is there to say about (or see at) the old mission church in downtown San Antonio? That depends on how you look at it.

Sports |
January 20, 2013

Arms Race

We used to be known for running backs, but all of a sudden, we’re famous for producing some of the country’s best passers, from Drew Brees to Colt McCoy. What turned our high school football programs into quarterback factories?…

Health |
January 20, 2013

About a Boy

The short life and tragic death of Johnny Romano, the youngest professional skateboarder ever.

Health |
January 20, 2013

Nothing To It

Bolstered by his favorite phrase, my son Mark faced life with grace, dignity, and good humor. I knew he’d face death the same way.

Health |
January 20, 2013

Sniffing

A visit to San Antonio’­s underground city, looking for kids with a can of paint and a nose for thrills.

Texas History |
January 20, 2013

Lyndon Johnson on the Record

Working on his memoir one day in 1969, LBJ spoke more frankly into a tape recorder about the Kennedys, Vietnam, and other subjects than he ever had before. The transcript of that tape has never been published—until now. Michael Beschloss explains its historical significance.

Music |
January 20, 2013

Home Girl

Most people from Dallas who make it big in the music business get out of town as soon as they can. “That’s what celebrities do,” Erykah Badu says. “I never wanted to be a celebrity.”…

Politics & Policy |
January 20, 2013

The Man Who Isn’t There

In word and deed, the George W. Bush now residing in the White House bears little resemblance to the Texas governor I gladly sent to Washington. That's why I'm so ambivalent about reelecting him.

News & Politics |
January 20, 2013

The Evolver

“All you’ve got is a famous name,” a Republican operative told George W. Bush. But six years later he was governor, and six years after that he was president. And six years after that, his place in history—not to mention the fate of the world—is a little uncertain.

Texas History |
January 20, 2013

The Aggie Bonfire Tragedy

What’s so important about a stack of wood? Every Aggie knows that the answer is tradition—which is why, after a catastrophe that took the lives of twelve young men and women, the decision of whether to continue, change, or call a halt to the bonfire looms so large at Texas…

Feature |
January 20, 2013

Lust in Space

The lovesick antics of diapered astronaut Lisa Nowak are some combination of funny and sad but seemingly not revealing of anything larger, until you realize that her tragic, tabloidy breakdown says everything you need to know about NASA’s many troubles.

Music |
January 20, 2013

It’s a Family Affair

For all her talent and poise, Beyoncé didn't become the biggest star in the world without help. And she got plenty of it from the people who know her best.

Feature |
January 20, 2013

The Next Frontier

How has the state’s most storied ranch managed to survive and thrive in the twenty-first century? By operating in a way that its founder, Captain Richard King, would scarcely recognize.

Sports |
January 20, 2013

Still Life

A violent tackle in a high school football game paralyzed John McClamrock for life. His mother made sure it was a life worth living.

Sports |
January 20, 2013

Honor Thy Father

In suburban Fort Worth the frail psyche of a football prodigy collided with the crazed ambition of his dad, who himself had been a high school football star way back when. The consequences were deadly.

True Crime |
January 20, 2013

The Beating of Billy Ray Johnson

The short, slight, mentally disabled black man was found on the side of a road in Linden, huddled in a fetal position. He was bloody and unconscious—the victim of a violent crime. But another tragedy was how residents of the East Texas town reacted.

Feature |
January 20, 2013

Carlos Brown Is a Hero (No Matter What He Says)

My best friend from high school is no longer the uncool, baseball-card-collecting goofball he once was. He’s a Navy surgeon and commander, and for two horrific weeks I got to watch him calmly and bravely save lives in wartime—not just Americans’ and not just soldiers’—in one of the most dangerous…

CRIME |
January 20, 2013

Unholy Act

No one in McAllen saw Irene Garza leave Sacred Heart that night in 1960. The next morning, her car was still parked down the street from the church. She never came home.

Texas History |
December 1, 2012

11/22/2013

In one year the eyes of the world will turn to Dallas's Dealey Plaza for the fiftieth anniversary of John F. Kennedy's assassination. Is the city ready?…