James McCollom, The Last Sheriff in Texas-A True Tale of Violence and the Vote

James McCollom is the author of The Continental Affair: The Rise and Fall of the Continental Illinois Bank. A native son of Beeville, Texas, he has worked as a banker and business executive in the Northeast before settling back in his hometown.

About The Last Sheriff in Texas:

Beeville, Texas, was the most American of small towns--the place that GIs had fantasized about while fighting through the ruins of Europe, a place of good schools, clean streets, and churches. Old West justice ruled, as evidenced by a 1947 shootout when outlaws surprised popular sheriff Vail Ennis at a gas station and shot him five times, point-blank, in the belly. Ennis managed to draw his gun and put three bullets in each assailant; he reloaded and shot them three times more.

Time magazine's full-page article on the shooting was seen by some as a referendum on law enforcement owing to the sheriff's extreme violence, but supportive telegrams from all across America poured into Beeville's tiny post office. Yet when a second violent incident threw Ennis into the crosshairs of public opinion once again, the uprising was orchestrated by an unlikely figure: his close friend and Beeville's favorite son, Johnny Barnhart.

Barnhart confronted Ennis in the election of 1952: a landmark standoff between old Texas, with its culture of cowboy bravery and violence, and urban Texas, with its lawyers, oil institutions, and a growing Mexican population. The town would never be the same again.

The Last Sheriff in Texas is a riveting narrative about the postwar American landscape, an era grappling with the same issues we continue to face today. Debate over excessive force in law enforcement, Anglo-Mexican relations, gun control, the influence of the media, urban-rural conflict, the power of the oil industry, mistrust of politicians and the political process--all have surprising historical precedence in the story of Vail Ennis and Johnny Barnhart.

Event date: 
Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - 5:00pm to 7:00pm
Event address: 
306 Pearl Parkway
Suite 106
San Antonio, TX 78215
The Last Sheriff in Texas: A True Tale of Violence and the Vote Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781619029965
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Counterpoint LLC - November 14th, 2017

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