It’s National Library Week! This year’s honorary chair of National Library Week is John Grisham, bestselling author of legal thrillers, a nonfiction book about a wrongful conviction (The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town), and other works. See our holdings of John Grisham’s works here.
To celebrate National Library Week 2011, we will be featuring book recommendations this week from Tarlton librarians. Our last recommendation comes from Casey Duncan, Resource Services Coordinator.
“With His Pistol in His Hand”: A Border Ballad and its Hero is the story of a man who first became an outlaw, then a folk hero, and finally a legend memorialized in a border ballad. Gregorio Cortez Lira was a Mexican ranch hand in the Rio Grande Valley until a simple misunderstanding landed him in a shootout with a Texas sheriff in 1901. After killing the sheriff he fled across Texas and the resulting pursuit led to one of the largest manhunts in U.S. history, turning him into a folk hero overnight. His folk hero status only increased after his capture, numerous trials, imprisonment, and ultimate pardon in 1913.
Former UT professor Américo Paredes tells the story of the man and then traces the subsequent heroic embellishments through the development of the ballad legend, along the way sketching out bits of the border region’s culture and justice system as well as the folk ballad tradition. As an added bonus, the library’s edition has a wonderful cover design inspired by spaghetti westerns.