Big Bend Chat
The Big Bend Review => Big Bend Book Reviews => Topic started by: marufo on December 09, 2017, 09:47:48 AM
I just finished this new book and I can't recommend it highly enough. Full disclosure: over the last couple of years I've had the chance to get to know Ben a little and respect him a lot. He's the real deal.
I'll quote the back cover blurb below - it does a pretty good job of establishing his credentials. My personal comments would be that first of all, he has a deep love for the Big Bend country that he does a great job of showing and sharing on every page. And along with that, he has a respect for and fascination with the folks that have come and gone, striving and surviving (or not) to eke out a living here, and with the traces they have left behind, both in memory and on the ground. Don't let the word "Trails" in the title throw you off - except for a hike to the South Rim with a broken foot, much of the book describes journeys in remote areas of the Big Bend in search of long-abandoned trails, roads, and other rapidly fading traces of those who came before.
Published by TCU Press and available through BBNHA and the usual online behemoths.
It was a time before Terlingua Ranch and chili cook-offs, and you could drive a hundred miles without seeing another vehicle or another person. The year was 1961, and the tides of humanity which ebbed and flowed into the lower reaches of the Big Bend were at their historical nadir. It was a vast, empty land spotted by isolated ranch headquarters, a national park with few visitors, and the many ruins of a past shrouded in legend, lore, and improbable truths. There was no television, no daytime radio, few telephones, and very few people.
Ben H. English came to the Big Bend at the age of two, the fifth of six generations of his family to call this enigmatic region home. With his family headquartered at the old Lajitas Trading Post, he worked and lived on ranches and places now little more than forgotten dots on yellowing maps. He attended the one-room schoolhouse at Terlingua, prowled the banks of the Rio Grande, and crisscrossed the surrounding areas time and again on horseback and by foot.
Some fifty years later he writes about those many decades ago, as well as the history and legends of this singular land he knows so well. Ben separates fact from fiction and brings the reader into a world that few these days can ever imagine, much less experience. He also writes about the lower Big Bend as it is found now, and what one can still rediscover just over the next rise.
There's also a video of him talking about the book here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okSWjcusDIE
Thanks for the review -- this looks like a good read. Are there lots of large, high quality, interesting and/or rare photos? If not I'll get the less expensive version for my ancient Kindle.
Just ordered a copy. Thanks!
Are there lots of large, high quality, interesting and/or rare photos?
In a word, no. Kindle away...
Thank you for sharing. I have ordered a copy. Can't have too many books about the Big Bend! :eusa_dance:
I got my copy today! Can't wait to crack it open during my upcoming flight to Michigan!