Before The Great War...

As you may have seen on our website and Facebook page, this year’s Gulf Coast Reads will take place during the month of October.  Now you might ask, “What’s Gulf Coast Reads?”  Well, simply put, it’s an event encouraging residents of the Gulf Coast area to read or listen to one particular book.  This year’s selection is Remember Ben Clayton by Stephen Harrigan.

The novel is set in Texas, shortly after World War I or The Great War, and centers on sculptor Francis “Gil” Gilheaney; his daughter Maureen, who is also a sculptor; and rancher Lamar Clayton, who commissions Gilheaney to create a statue commemorating Clayton’s son Ben, who died during the war.  It sounds like a very simple premise – but as we delve into the book, author Harrigan takes us to another time and place and creates characters who are complex and intriguing.  We learn how these people have been shaped by passion, fate, the war, and the decisions they have made.

In preparation for Gulf Coast Reads, it might be interesting to explore the time before WWI.  Discover what was going on in America and how the 20th century was bringing enormous changes into the lives of its citizens, in politics, social changes, literature, and the arts.  And since Remember Ben Clayton is set in Texas, I’ve decided add some documentaries and books about the state’s history.

And be sure to reserve a copy of Remember Ben Clayton for Gulf Coast Reads.

Politics and Social Changes
The Presidents. Theodore Roosevelt
The Presidents. Volume 2 (William Howard Taft)
The Presidents. Woodrow Wilson
Not For Ourselves Alone: the Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony
The Men Who Built America (Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, William Vanderbilt, John D. Rockefeller)
Writings of B. Washington and Du Bois (Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois)

Mary Cassatt
Marc Chagall
Henri Matisse
Auguste Rodin: the Life of a Sculptor
Simon Schama’s Power of Art


Best Selling Authors
Stephen CraneThe Red Badge of Courage
Arthur Conan DoyleThe Hound of the Baskervilles
George du MaurierTrilby
John Fox, Jr. – The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come
Zane GreyRiders of the Purple Sage
Anthony HopeThe Prisoner of Zenda
Henryk SienkiewiczQuo Vadis
Upton SinclairThe Jungle
Gene Stratton-PorterA Girl of the Limberlost
Booth Tarkington -- Seventeen
Edith WhartonThe House of Mirth
Owen WisterThe Virginian

Texas History
Remember the Alamo (documentary)
The Texas Rangers (documentary)
Frontier Texas: History of a Borderland to 1880
The Indians of Texas: from Prehistoric to Modern Times
The Big Ranch Country
A Tribute to Early Texas: Through the Lens of Master Photographer John R. Blocker


Flickr: CC          : Image from page 137 of "History of the Panama canal; its construction and builders" (1915)  

Photo from: Internet Archive Book Images