When veteran columnist A.C. Greene turns his eyes on Texas, he sees a variety of experiences and a scope of history. Under its annexation terms, Texas is allowed to divide itself into as many as five states. While that is not likely to happen it has been tried, Greene masterfully shows that several cultural states do exist within the one political entity of Texas - and have throughout the state's history. Spotlighting individuals, places, and events that make for distinctiveness, Sketches from the Five States of Texas features oddities and little-known facts that present a kind of "history-within-history." Several sketches look at inventions or innovations, such as plows and pistols, that Texans made or tried to make to adapt to the land and frontier conditions. Other pieces focus on historic moments: the first long distance telephone service; the last messenger from the Alamo. Transportation is a theme that runs through this book: trains, planes including a boxkite contraption, early automobiles and roads, and steamboats, ice boats, and war boats. Place names get attention, too: peculiar names, unexpected sources, and long-lost places. Naturally, the wars of Texas are also covered: the Revolution, the Indian wars, the Civil War, and the Texas Navies.
A. C. Greene, of Salado, Texas, is a longtime and well-known Texas author who for years wrote a newspaper column (primarily in the DallasMorning News) that featured Texas history and Texana subjects. He is the author of A Personal Country, which was on the A&M list for several years, and a number of other books. He holds an honorary doctorate from Austin College and is a past president of the Texas Institute of Letters.