Books
Blood Aces: The Wild Ride of Benny Binion, the Texas Gangster Who Created Vegas Poker, By Doug J. Swanson. Viking Press; 368 pps.; $27.95

Benny and the Bad Boys

A former Morning News reporter recounts a legendary local mobster’s wild ride.
MARGARET ALLYSON
Doug J. Swanson’s new book is laugh-out-loud funny — odd, since it’s about a semi-illiterate gangster who left a trail of dead bodies from Dallas to Las Vegas. But Benny Binion was in many ways a true visionary, even if h...


The Texas Right: The Radical Roots of Lone Star Conservatism, edited by David O’Donald Cullen and Kyle G. Wilkison. Texas A&M University Press, 208 pps. $25

Right-to-Hate State

The Tea Party is just the most recent radical-right movement to grip Texas.
JIMMY FOWLER
Now that the country has reacted with disgust and amusement to the extremist 2014 Texas Republican Party platform, the next logical question is: Where did that platform’s piquant combo of modern alienation, paranoia about the...



BOOKS

Days of Shame

In a new book, Fort Worth’s E.R. Bills shines a light on the 1910 Slocum Massacre.
MARGARET ALLYSON
Nobody really knows why a group of white men went on a killing spree in the small East Texas town of Slocum in 1910. And until recently, nobody seemed to want to remember the shameful incident. Erroneously reported by some news...


daviddow

Voluminous

In his new book, Houston law professor David Dow bites off more than he can chew.
JIMMY FOWLER
University of Houston law professor and anti-death penalty crusader David Dow made a big noise in 2010 with his first book, The Autobiography of an Execution. In it, Dow took a highly personal look at the stressful, morally com...



The anonymous hero of Buzzkill derives his power from addiction — and he wants to get clean.

Buzzkill: Down to Earth

This new comic co-written by The Toadies drummer is cause for applause.
COLE WILLIAMS
Members of Alcoholics Anonymous tend to have their share of secrets, but few have one like the strapping young man who goes by the assumed name of “Ruben.” When we first meet him, he’s telling his story to his group, goin...


Dallas 1963 By Bill Minutaglio and Steven L. Davis Twelve: Hatchett Brook Group, 2013. $28, 372 pps.

Dark Dallas

Back in 1963, Kennedy was a wanted man by the de facto white supremacists who ran the city.
MARGARET ALLYSON
This is not a book about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. In fact that event and its aftermath are detailed only in the epilogue. Instead, Dallas 1963 is a fascinating study of the political climate in the city i...



The hero of Buzzkill, an anonymous übermensch, derives his superpowers from drugs and alcohol.

Buzzkill: Up, Up, and Away

A new comic tackles addiction and power.
COLE WILLIAMS
There have been as many takes on the superhero genre as there are members of the X-Men. The artform has been deconstructed, reconstructed, and outright parodied. But there’s never been a superhero who gains his powers from do...


Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson by Jeff Guinn. Simon & Schuster, 497 pps., $27.50

Charlie Brown

With his new book, Fort Worth’s Jeff Guinn brings Charles Manson back down to size.
JIMMY FOWLER
Most people who are even a little familiar with 1960s murder guru Charles Manson know that his apocalyptic worldview was inspired by the New Testament’s book of Revelation and The Beatles’ lyrically cryptic White Album. Few...



BOOKS

Let the Sunshine In

A new Ann Richards biography paints a compelling portrait.
MARGARET ALLYSON
Before there was Wendy Davis, there was Ann Richards. With her political savvy, big smart mouth, and, yes, her trademark “closer to God” silver bouffant ’do, Richards is one of only two women ever elected governor of Texa...


BOOKS

Laying Down Their Lives

Written in Blood tells the stories of local lawmen at the turn of a different century.
EDWARD BROWN
Plot twists, murder, and suspense aren’t the territory of fiction alone. Written in Blood: The History of Fort Worth’s Fallen Lawmen, Volume 2 is a vivid recounting of a pivotal Fort Worth era, told through the stories of 1...