Texas A&M University Press is set to publish my book in April 2014! Here’s a draft of the book jacket text:
Ask Texans about their favorite rivers and most will mention the Colorado, the Rio Grande, the Guadalupe, or perhaps the Brazos. These hold special meaning in the lives of those who inhabit their banks, paddle their waters, or ply the lakes compounded in their runs. But the Sabine River is different.
Flowing on the eastern boundary of the state, where it is hard to see whereTexas ends and Louisiana begins, the Sabine holds the mystery and roughness of territory not claimed by river outfitters, visited by weekend kayakers, or profiled in travel magazines. If the Rio Grande is a river out of Lonesome Dove, the Sabine is a river out of Deliverance.
Growing up near the Sabine, journalist Wes Ferguson, like most East Texans, steered clear of its murky, debris-filled waters, where alligators lived in the backwater sloughs and an occasional body was pulled from some out-of-the-way crossing. The Sabine held a reputation as a haunt for a handful of hunters and loggers, more than a few water moccasins, swarms of mosquitoes, and the occasional black bear lumbering through swamp oak and cypress knees.
But when Ferguson set out to do a series of newspaper stories on the upper portion of the river, he and photographer Jacob Croft Botter were entranced by the river’s subtle beauty and the solitude they found there. They came to admire the self-described “river rats” who hunted, fished, and swapped stories along the muddy water—plain folk who love the Sabine as much as Hill Country vacationers love the clear waters of the Guadalupe. Determined to travel the rest of the river, Ferguson and Botter loaded their gear and launched into the stretch of river that charts the line between the states and ends at the Gulf of Mexico.
Running the River: Secrets of the Sabine invites readers to join Ferguson and Botter for an adventure on the Sabine, “a brown run of water” that winds a twisting path through the places “where Texas blends into the forests and swamps of Louisiana.”