If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you know I love the heroic. Most of my obsession is sated through fiction, but there’s something special about real heroes. Combine this with my native Texan pride and you get a perspective ready to adore this:
Texas for Newcomers: Snapshots of Heroes by John Wilhite captures that true heroic spirit that has carried men and women through many a difficult time. Through poetry--some lyrical, some amusing, and some tearjerking--and periodic snippets of prose, Wilhite recounts portions of Texas history and people who are not as well known in history books from the canon at Gonzales (Come and Take It) to little Enrique Esparza (Enrique Esparza). And, honestly, learning about my home state through Wilhite’s entertaining voice beat the heck out of any textbook.
To be honest, as a Texan, much as I love my state, my interest in its history had faded over the years. Wilhite reignited it and rejuvenated our past with humanity. If I’d been allowed to read something like this back in middle school, I would have taken a lot more from my Texas history class.
Plus, the poems are paired with lovely drawings by Wilhite’s wife, Magda. They give the book an added character that completes it. I both love and am envious of a husband-wife team with such talent.
If you’re a Texan, this book is great for rediscovering the greatness that helped shape our state. If you’re not a Texan, this book gives an entertaining glimpse into our state. If you’re not that into Texas, the poems are still a lot of fun and full of heart, some even with music like Dilue. Texas for Newcomers: Snapshots of Heroes does just as the title implies. It captures the essences of humanity and heroism, and if nothing else, it’s worth the read for that.