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Galveston: A History of the Island (Chisholm Trail Series) Paperback – August 1, 1998


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Product Details

  • Series: Chisholm Trail Series (Book 18)
  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Texas Christian University Press (August 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0875651909
  • ISBN-13: 978-0875651903
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #359,762 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews

Adroitly told popular history of Galveston Island--a barrier island off the Texas coast that's a string of sand 30 miles long, so narrow it can be walked across in half an hour. Occupied continuously since 1400, Galveston Island hosted Cabaza de Vaca, La Salle, and Jean Lafitte before Texas was a republic, and by the 20th century had developed an upper crust among the jasmine and honeysuckled Victorian mansions so snobbish that a bride sent wedding invitations to total strangers if her grandparents spent the night with their grandparents during the 1900 hurricane. Cartwright (Dirty Dealing, 1984, etc.) opens with the first inhabitants, the Karankawa Indians, whose men were often six feet tall, making them appear like giants to Europeans. The Karankawas were reclusive, raided other villages for women to marry and children to eat, and devoured the flesh of enemy braves while the latter were still alive. Cartwright devotes later individual chapters to the men who shaped Galveston Island, such as Jean Lafitte, the greatest privateer and smuggler of the 19th century, who made the island the headquarters of his fleet in 1817, built a town called Campeachy, and devised the New World's largest slave market, where blacks captured from Spanish slaving vessels were sold for a dollar a pound. Cartwright tells of Sam Houston, retreating from Santa Anna until his back was to Galveston Island and launching a huge and vicious attack that finally won Texas independence; gives a white-knuckle, minute-to- minute account of the hurricane of September 7, 1900, recorded as the worst disaster in US history (7000 perished); describes the Prohibition years when Galveston Island was a rum-running center and the playground of Texas; and introduces us to Galveston Island's present-day citizens, including the Moodys--owners of a $2 billion empire whose internecine wars and peccadilloes are worthy of a book to themselves. More high points than can be listed; expertly told and pleasurably interesting. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Galveston reads like a well-crafted novel that is chock-full of eccentric characters, surprising plot twists and the heavy hand of fate. -- Dallas Times-Herald

Gary Cartwright is one of the most gifted journalists to come out of Texas . . . and Galveston is one of the most resonant places in the mythic state. -- American Way Magazine

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 21 customer reviews
This book is a entertaining, easy, and educational read.
Alexander Robinson
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in facinating history, written in a compelling way.
Shannon Deason
The author lays out areas on the island to explore as well as important historical landmarks.
tracy conner

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 22, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is simply the best and most entertaining historical study that I've ever had the pleasure of reading. It literally made me laugh out loud as well as tear up several times. I can't say enough wonderful things about this book. It reads like a very well written novel whose topic is endlessly fascinating. I've given it as a present several times since I first read it about 10 or 11 years ago and the recipients have all been as thrilled with it as I've been.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 6, 1997
Format: Hardcover
I rarely read history for pleasure ( I lean more towards murder mysteries), but I read this on the recommendation of a stranger in the local library. I was pleasantly surprised at the breadth of content which the author managed to cover in a way that reads like a popular novel. It never gets boring, but I'm sure that I irritated my husband by laughing out loud a time or two and insisting he listen to a few paragraphs. Since I grew up near Galveston and spent days on the beach from infancy to last month, I'm probably biased, but I think this book would appeal to many. Enjoy!!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By tracy conner on October 2, 2001
Format: Paperback
This books gives a detailed history of the island of Galveston from it's first inhabitants to present day. Unlike some historical accounts this book is a real "page turner," completely absorbing the reader in each different time period from hostile indians to mafia men. The author lays out areas on the island to explore as well as important historical landmarks. He helps one understand the rise and fall of the island's fame and fortune along with it's leading families. I highly recommend it whether you are visiting Galveston or you are just interested in history.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By a reader on May 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
Anyone who begins a book on Galveston by describing it as haunted knows his Galveston. A wonderful history and guide to the island by someone who truly appreciates its uniqueness. I have a bookshelf of Galveston books that I love and this one is on it.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Cathy L. Hitchcock on September 26, 2009
Format: Paperback
Galveston may have the most interesting history of any town or city in the U.S., under 6 flags and loaded with the dramatic--cannibalism, warfare, pirates, slavery, prostitution, illegal gambling, the worst natural disaster in U.S. history--you name it. Gary Cartwright's book is by FAR the best read about this fascinating subject. This is a real page turner, and when it comes to 20th century, he covers lots of ground absent from the other histories of Galveston. However, his book is filled with inaccuracies, albeit in many cases relatively minor and arguably not of great importance to the non-scholar. He excuses himself both for the potential inaccuracies and for the total lack of documentation by admitting that he's not a historian. But does that give the author the write to make stuff up or do shoddy investigating? Docents at several of the Galveston mansions are literally forbidden from reading the book, for fear that it would inevitably lead those docents to spout erroneous statements abvout Galveston. And because Cartwright's book is so much more fun than all the others, it's likely that his less-than-accurate tale will stick in the reader's memory far longer than the more accurate but vastly drier accounts by McComb, Fornell, Hayes, and others. As long as you're not a scholar and concerned with total truth, if you just want to have a good time reading about Galveston this is the ONLY book to read. Otherwise, better stay away.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Shannon Deason on May 13, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is the most facinating and interesting book. It's amazing how much history this small island has to tell. I grew up going to Galveston and have always loved the city, but I had no idea it had this much history. You really won't be able to put this book down, every section is more intersting than the previous. Mr. Carwright has always known how to weave a tale. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in facinating history, written in a compelling way. Be aware that after you read this book you will have the most incredible desire to visit this wonderful island. Galveston is truly a treasure and I always tell anyone visiting the Houston area to make it their top priority.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Southernyankee50 on October 21, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Galveston: A History of the Island written by Gary Cartwright is one of the Chisholm Trail Series books. For those who have an interest in knowing the full story of the island, this book will not disappoint. Rather than focus on one element of the seacoast city's varied eras, this is an accounting of the founding, the changes, the excitement, the successes, the failures, the reverence for the Gulf and all of its treasures and dangers, and the constant spirit of a city that is determined to survive.

The pictures capture poignant moments that could not be fully appreciated without their inclusion.

For any Galveston or Texas Coast psuedo-historian, Galveston: A History of the Island should be a part of your literary collection.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R. Stephens on August 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book was really a great read. As a new Galveston resident, I read the famous account of the great storm of 1900, "Isaac's storm", given to me as a gift, but I haven't finished it yet, mostly out of fear, living as I do in front of the mighty Gulf. This book on the other hand is a great read I mostly couldn't put down. Well written and covering the whole history from the Native Americans and French, Spanish and English pirates to the Big families of this sand bar attached to the USA, but not reaching the most recent storm, Ike. It kind of tapered off at the end, beating the Moody family like a dead horse, but overall, I really enjoyed the book and learned alot.
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