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Confessions of a Maddog: A Romp through the High-flying Texas Music and Literary Era of the Fifties to the Seventies Hardcover – October 1, 1998
From the Inside Flap
Once upon a time there was an innocent lad from West Texas who wrote a novel and fell in with a rabble of Texas writers as they were bridging the literary gap between J. Frank Dobie and his paisanos and the current bumper crop of Texas writers who seem to be everywhere writing about everything. This rowdy rabble of gap bridgers bonded in a sort of literary and social club they called Maddog Inc. (Motto: Doing indefinable services to mankind.) But our hero managed to live through it all anyway. This is his story.
Jay Milner was part of a generation of Texas writers whose heyday lasted from the late 1950s through the 1970s. The group comprised Billie Lee Brammer, Edwin "Bud" Shrake, Gary Cartwright, Dan Jenkins, Larry L. King, Pete Gent, and (peripherally) Larry McMurtry and Willie Morris, among others.
From the musical scene there were the "picker poets" such as Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker, Guy Clark, Billy Joe Shaver, and Waylon Jennings.
Some of the primary works coming from this generation of writers include Brammer's The Gay Place, Shrake's Strange Peaches, Cartwright's Confessions of a Washed-up Sportswriter, King's The Whorehouse Papers and None But a Blockhead, Jan Reid's The Improbable Rise of Redneck Rock, and Willie Nelson's album Phases and Stages.
About the Author
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Top Customer Reviews
College gridiron star at Mississippi Southern, later drafted in the 100th round, thereabouts, by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Helped edit the editorial pages of the beloved New York Herald Tribune in the days leading to its demise. Hid out in Lufkin, Tex., (peaceful place for people who "can't afford Betty Ford's sanitarium," says Jay) for more than 20 years while completing his second book. Published his book, "Confessions of a Maddog" (University of North Texas), it's a fascinating collection.
Much of the fun in this book takes place in the mid 60s through mid 70s Texas, when Milner's running buddies include folks such as writers Gary Cartwright, Billie Lee Brammer, Larry L. King, and Edwin Shrake, former Texas Governor Ann Richards, Dallas Cowboy wide receiver turned novelist Peter Gent, and country music legends Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker, and Kris Kristofferson.
Since this book is also autobiographical, it would be easy for Milner to embellish the high points of his life, and choose the frames from his internal "home movie" that would be in the book. Yet Milner does no such thing. He describes his life, and the activities surrounding it, with the objectivity of a trained "old school" journalist--either in the middle of a 60s or 70s scene involving sex, drugs, and country rock and roll--or in his honest and thoughtful analysis of what he considered his own inner demons.
Jay Milner's book is more than just a fun read. It is also a reliable history of a modern, creative period when artistic endeavors coming out of Texas began to be taken seriously by the rest of the world.
"Confessions of a Maddog" is an important work in this regard. I predict that it will be required reading in any college course involving the literature of the southwest for years to come.
Lee Leatherwood Austin, TX 31 March 01