Galveston on your mind?

If you love that island city as much as my family and I do you might be interested in some of the books that inhabit the ‘Galveston Shelf’ of the bookcase in my study. I’m currently (which means off and on for the last decade and more) working on a mutigenerational saga, my third novel set in Galveston, so all of the books on this list are well worn and much highlighted and tabbed (a couple have brandy or wine splotches on some of the pages from burning the midnight oil). If you want a deep dive into one of the most historic and unique cities I know of, this list might be a good place to start a deep dive.


Gary Cartwright. Galveston: A History of the Island(a readable, and enjoyable narrative – my favorite)

David Willett (Editor), Galveston Chronicles. The Queen City of the Gulf(perspectives by several writers)

J. Wright-Smith & J. Marines. Galveston: A City on Stilts(collected historic photos with helpful captions)

Beasley & Cox. Galveston Architecture Guidebook (historical buildings’ histories, with photographs)

David G. McComb. Galveston: A History and a Guide (published by Texas State Historical Association)

Specific (in historical order):

Jack E. Davis. The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea(Pulitzer winning ecological history of the gulf)

A.S. Gatschet. The Karankawa Indians: The Coast People of Texas

Cabeza de Vaca: Chronicle of the Narvaez Expedition of 1528

William C. Davis. The Pirates Lafitte(much here about pirate Jean Lafitte, who once ruled the island)

Randolph B. Campbell. An Empire of Slavery: The Peculiar Institution in Texas

Benard Marinbach. Galveston: Ellis Island of the West  

Marj Gurasich. Letter’s to Oma: A Young German Girl’s Account of her First Year in Texas 1847 (a novel)

E. Wesley Fornell. The Galveston Era: The Texas Crescent on the Eve of Secession

James M. Schmidt. Galveston and the Civil War: An Island City in the Maelstrom

Edward Williams. A Weekend in September (an excellent account of the 1900 Galveston Hurricane)

Erik Larson.  Isaac’s Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History

Isaac Cline.  Storms, Floods and Sunshine(Cline’s memoir of his career in meteorology)

Botman, Belshaw & McCaslin. Galveston’s Maceo Family Empire: Bootlegging and the Balinese Room

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