The University of Texas Press has announced its new publishing initiative, a series called the Texas Bookshelf that will debut in 2017 and include 16 volumes about Texas, written by the university's faculty. The first book will be written by best-selling author Stephen Harrigan (The Gates of the Alamo, The Eye of the Mammoth).
"My job is to write a narrative history of Texas," said Harrigan. "It's a big job, because Texas history has been going on for a long time and continues to go on relentlessly as we speak. The project would be intimidating if it weren't so exciting. Above all, I want to communicate my excitement to the reader, to present the history of Texas in as un-textbookish a manner as I can. My goal is to make it a real story that will be a genuine pleasure to read."
After Harrigan's book debuts in 2017, the 15 titles to follow are set to release over a five-year period. The Texas Bookshelf will offer narratives and stories written about Texas, from pre-Columbian times to the twenty-first century. “Each of the books will be outward looking, not rewrites of old Texas myths and stereotypes, and will attempt to place Texas in a national, and when appropriate, international context,” said Dave Hamrick, director of UT Press.
For Hamrick, the idea for the Bookshelf emerged organically, as he considered publishing Harrigan's panoramic book about the history of the state. “The Bookshelf was 'built-out' from the idea of the Harrigan book, and once that idea coalesced conceptually, the other 15 titles became equally important. I visualize the entire project as a large pyramid with the big history at the apex and the other 15 books below,” Hamrick said, adding, “I see the 'collective' content of the Bookshelf having great resonance, each book complimenting, overlapping, rubbing against the others.
A companion website is set to launch alongside The Texas Bookshelf.