Life on the South Texas Ranchos is something that is of great interest to me. At first, I bought this book “Tejano Empire” to get a picture of what my wife’s family might have had been like. I was pleasingly surprised when I started to read this book. It brought me back so many memories and brought back to memory the tales that my own father had told me. As I have mentioned many times before I was born just fourteen miles South of Roma, Texas on the Mexican side. I was raised at a ranch for the very early part of my life until I was six years old.
This book made me remember the small house we used to live in and the huge house of my grandparents surrounded by the old jacales that seemed to proudly stand and defy the test of time. I always admired the hatched roof’s made of carrizo and palm tree. I also remembered the anacaguita that was on the big yard surrounding our house and how we passed countless hours playing on its always reliable shade. The description of el corral de lena is excellent, I know since that was my playground. Andres Tijerina has captured ranch life beautifully, a ranch life that is not just unique to South Texas but also a ranch life that is exactly the same for northern Tamaulipas. It is a ranch life that I got to experience and vividly remember.
I highly recommend that you get a copy of this book. You will not regret buying it since once you start to read it you will not put it down. Here is more information about the book.
Book Cover: Tejano Empire Life on the South Texas Ranchos
Starting at $5.85
Table of Contents:
Here is the table of contents so that you can get a better idea of what this book contains.
List of Illustrations
CHAPTER 1. Las Villas del Norte
CHAPTER 2. Life in a Casa de Sillar
CHAPTER 3. Primos and Compadres Across the Frontier
CHAPTER 4. The Art and Skills of Tejano Life
CHAPTER 5. Tejano Culture at Work and Play
CHAPTER 6. A Tejano Prayer
Epilogue: A Legacy of Heritage and Conflict
Description of Book on Amazon:
A silent story is told by the stone chimneys of South Texas that were used to prepare the Tejano ranch meals of an earlier century and by the rifle port holes still seen in crumbling walls that once protected families. It is a story of a life and culture rarely portrayed in standard historical accounts, but to some degree kept alive in literary works and ballads and revealed mutely in the material culture nineteenth-century ranchers left behind. Andrés Tijerina has mined both traditional and nontraditional sources to portray the daily lives of the Texans of Mexican descent who peopled the Nueces Strip and surrounding areas in the period following the Texas Revolution. From then until the major demographic changes of the 1880s, Mexicano-Tejanos laid the foundation for later leadership within the Mexican-American political and business movements. In terms accessible to a general reading public, Tijerina describes the major elements that gave the Tejano ranch community its identity: shared reaction to Anglo-American in-migration, strong family values, cultural loyalty, networks of communication, Catholic religion, and a material culture well adapted to the conditions of the region.As Tijerina shows, the Tejano ranch family was one of the pillars of their community, serving as the inner sanctum of Tejano history, language, and culture. After the introductions historical overview of the region, the chapters address specific elements of the lives people led in the Valley and South Texas: work ways and tools, housing and ranch layouts, family networks and authority patterns, education and the arts, religion and daily prayer. Bold, energetic line drawings by the late Ricardo Beasley of San Diego, Texas, and graceful and accurate detailed drawings by Servando G. Hinojosa of Alice, Texas, graphically portray scenes from South Texas daily life, adding to the books appeal and its worth.As for decades Tejanos kept alive the values, folklore, music, and beliefs of their parents, so now Tijerina makes that heritage available not only to the grandchildren who may have learned shame at their own language but also to the larger population which can choose to appreciate and value that part of the American heritage.
Where To Get Your Own Copy
The best place to get a copy is at Amazon.com since at the writing of this post the used copies of the book were being sold starting at $5.85 but you can buy a brand new copy for $19.84. BUY NOW
Other Books that May Interest You
- Indians of the Rio Grande Delta: Their Role in the History of Southern Texas and Northeastern Mexico
Let me know what you think about this book in the comments section of this post.
This book is a must read for every person interested in Texas/Tejano history. Reading this book helped me realize how many Tejano traditions have carried on from my ancestors to my generation. Even though I am not a fluent Spanish speaker, there are many other aspects of our culture that I carry with me today and carry on to my daughter, the next generation.
Thanks Michelle for your comment. I bought this book because of the photo of it that you posted some time back on Las Villas del Norte.