Spare Time in Texas

9780292718890: Paperback
Release Date: 1st September 2008

112 b&w illus.

Dimensions: 178 x 254

Number of Pages: 300

Series Jack and Doris Smothers Series in Texas History, Life, and Culture

University of Texas Press

Spare Time in Texas

Recreation and History in the Lone Star State

Paperback / £34.00

What do Texans' pastimes and recreations say about their characters? Looking at Texas history from a new angle, David McComb starts from the premise that how people spend their leisure time may well reveal more about their true natures and interests than the work they do or their family connections. In this innovative book, McComb traces the history of various types of recreation in Texas, gathering significant insights into the characters of Texans from the pleasures they have pursued.

Reflecting the frontier origins of Texas, McComb starts with the recreations that were most popular with men in a crude, still-developing society—drinking, gambling, and whoring. He goes on to show how, as Texas became more civilized, so did its diversions. He describes how Texans have connected with nature in parks and zoos; watched football and baseball in great stadiums such as the Astrodome and Cotton Bowl; discovered the pleasure of reading in public and university libraries; and enjoyed radio, TV, movies, and live theater in places such as Houston's Alley Theatre.

This recreational history reveals that Texans are open-minded and generous; that they respect the land; oppose prostitution but indulge in gambling and drinking; support racial and gender rights; love zoos; champion libraries; take pride in theatrical productions; and adore sports.

  • Introduction
  • 1. The Licit and the Illicit
  • 2. Parks and Other Public Spaces
  • 3. The Great Stadiums
  • 4. The Pleasure of Libraries
  • 5. Theater and the Electric Revolution
  • 6. Conclusions and Afterthoughts
  • Notes
  • A Bibliographic Note
  • Index

David G. McComb taught United States history, world history, sports history, and the history of technology at Colorado State University, where he retired as a professor emeritus in 2002. He has published fourteen books, including the award-winning Galveston: A History; Texas, a Modern History; and Spare Time in Texas: Recreation and History in the Lone Star State.