Longreads

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

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

Sniffing

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

Health |
January 20, 2013

The Long, Lonesome Road

Fred Thomas was young, poor, and black. Not only was he afflicted with the terror of schizophrenia, he was also faced with the chaos of the Texas mental health system.

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.

Film & TV |
January 20, 2013

Picture Perfect

Why Peter Bogdanovich filmed in black and white, who discovered Cybill Shepherd, which onetime soap opera diva read for the role of Jacy, and other secrets of the making of ‘The Last Picture Show.’ Plus: A few words from the late Ben Johnson.

Energy |
January 20, 2013

The Old Man and the Secret

Thirty years ago, people couldnt believe it: The old man’s elixir boosted crops, ate up sewage, and made the desert bloom. Today half a dozen Texas companies claim the elixir does all that and a whole lot more.

Music |
January 20, 2013

The Coming of Redneck Hip

Rock and Country music met in Austin. That friendship may make the state.

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

True Crime |
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.

Business |
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.

True Crime |
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

True 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.

True Crime |
January 20, 2013

One Last Shot

Decades after his family controlled Galveston’s liquor and gambling, 89-year-old Vic Maceo is clinging to his gangster past—and to his pistol.

Feature |
December 1, 2012

The Unsinkable Lisa Blue

Her husband, Fred Baron, helped bankroll John Edwards's presidential campaign, only to die of cancer amid the most sordid political scandal in recent history. But before long, Dallas's newest rainmaker had emerged from the wreckage—with every hair in place.

Sports |
September 30, 2012

Turnover!

Two decades ago, a barbarian from Arkansas named Jerry Jones bought the Dallas Cowboys and rebooted the franchise from the ground up. Inside the wild first days of the most hostile takeover the NFL has ever known.

Art |
September 30, 2012

Portrait of the Artist as a Postman

The only American ever to design scarves for the exclusive French fashion house Hermès is Kermit Oliver, a 69-year-old postal worker from Waco who lives in a strange and beautiful world all his own.

News & Politics |
September 30, 2012

Storming the Ivory Tower

For the past four years, a group of passionate reformers has been steadily trying to remake how higher education works in Texas—over the screams and howls of many professors and school presidents. Last year the battle came to UT. And the bombs are still flying.

Sports |
July 31, 2012

The Negotiation

Every year, hundreds of Texas high schoolers are aggressively recruited by the nation’s top college football programs. It’s a dream come true, but some kids must go through the bewildering process alone. And according to the rules of the NCAA, there aren’t many places they can turn to for help.

Politics & Policy |
July 31, 2012

Mothers, Sisters, Daughters, Wives

In 2011 the Legislature slashed family planning funds, passed a new sonogram law, and waged an all-out war on Planned Parenthood that has dramatically shifted the state’s public health priorities. In the eighteen months since then, the conflict has continued to simmer in the courts, on the campaign trail, and

March 19, 2012

Sex, Love, and Lawrence v. Texas

A new book, Flagrant Conduct: The Story of Lawrence v. Texas, explores the history of the men behind the landmark Supreme Court case and questions the conventional wisdom of the story.

Art |
March 1, 2012

The Tree of Strife

For a quarter of a century, the Art Guys, Michael Galbreth and Jack Massing, have been Houston’s master provocateurs, stirring up discussion with their wacky, thoughtful, and tenaciously marketed “social sculptures.” But have they finally gone too far?

Food & Drink |
March 1, 2012

Where Is My Home?

A culinary obsession that began decades ago in my grandmother’s kitchen sent me on a quest through Central Texas (and way beyond) for kolaches—not the best ones but the ones that would lead me to myself.

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