The best books about Texas 📚

Browse the best books on Texas as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of Civil War Blockade Running on the Texas Coast

Civil War Blockade Running on the Texas Coast

By Julie Young, Andrew W. Hall

Why this book?

One of the most interesting stories involving Texas during the Civil War is the blockade runners that operated out of Galveston and other Texas ports. As other Confederate ports were captured by the Union, Texas gradually emerged as the last important route for Southern goods to be exported and weapons and other war materials to be imported. Andy Hall is the acknowledged expert on this subject and this book is essential for anyone wanting to explore this interesting and important subject. One of the best features of this book is that it includes many photographs, maps, and illustrations that are…

From the list:

The best books on Civil War Texas

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Book cover of Texas Women on the Cattle Trails

Texas Women on the Cattle Trails

By Sara R. Massey

Why this book?

Cattle drives although a relatively brief episode in history largely contribute to tales of the cowboy that helped writers and Hollywood to later make him an American icon. Texas Women on the Cattle Trails provides a history of sixteen of the women who contributed to and participated in cattle drives originating from Texas. This edited collection offers individual stories of these women and based on their own accounts which give us an inside glimpse into how this era shaped their lives. Meet real cattlewomen who built ranching empires, who showed courage and spunk, and enjoyed a closeness with nature while…

From the list:

The best books on cowgirls and ranching women

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Book cover of The Killer Inside Me

The Killer Inside Me

By Jim Thompson

Why this book?

It was Jim Thompson who first ignited my love of noir. In my twenties, I worked at a used book store and would snatch up every Thompson novel that came in. He was born in Oklahoma but his family then moved to Texas, and many of his novels are set in seemingly sleepy small Texas towns that actually teem with violence and treachery. The Killer Inside Me features Lou Ford, a violent sociopath hiding inside an outwardly dull and corny sheriff. This book woke me up to the amazing powers an author can wield just by using point of view. 

From the list:

The best books that show Texas isn't just about cattle and oil

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Book cover of Hangfire: An Eddie Holland Novel

Hangfire: An Eddie Holland Novel

By John H. Matthews

Why this book?

What makes Hangire such a great ass-kicking novel is that it’s clear the author knows guns and gunfight strategy. The action is crisp, but aggressively realistic. Tension never ceases—if it’s not shooting up bad guys, it’s with a dash of romance or a smidge of mystery. The writing is confident and action-packed. Even the title, am I right? 

From the list:

The best books with some serious ass-kicking

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Book cover of Cottonclads!: The Battle of Galveston and the Defense of the Texas Coast

Cottonclads!: The Battle of Galveston and the Defense of the Texas Coast

By Donald S. Frazier

Why this book?

This is the book I always recommend to people who don’t know very much about the Civil War battles that were fought in Texas. It is short, well-written, and has lots of good illustrations, photographs and maps. Don Frazier is one of the best Texas historians the state has ever produced and he really knows how to tell a story in an interesting and engaging fashion. Most Texans are amazed to see how many unusual and important battles were fought in Texas and this is the perfect introduction to the topic.

From the list:

The best books on Civil War Texas

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Book cover of Galveston and the Civil War: An Island City in the Maelstrom

Galveston and the Civil War: An Island City in the Maelstrom

By James M. Schmidt

Why this book?

Galveston was the largest city in Texas at the time of the Civil War and it had the distinction of being blockaded, occupied by both sides, and was the subject of many battles and skirmishes. This book explores some of the battles, but it is particularly valuable because of the stories it explores relating to the way that the war affected the citizens of an important Texas city. It explores topics like Unionists in Galveston, yellow fever epidemics, and the liberation of enslaved African Americans. By focusing on one city and its citizens’ experiences throughout the war this book tells…

From the list:

The best books on Civil War Texas

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