The University of North Texas Press is the newest university press in North Texas — founded in 1987 and publishing its first book in 1989. The small press is dedicated to publishing scholarly, academic and general-interest books for Dallas-Fort Worth, Denton and international audiences. All of the books published are available for purchase through http://untpress.unt.edu.
Life With a Superhero:
Raising Michael Who Has Down Syndrome
By Kathryn U. Hulings
Cloth cover; 288 pages, with 25 black-and-white photos; $29.95.
Kathryn Hulings tells the most personal of stories in Life With a Superhero.
The author’s son, Michael, was adopted more than 20 years ago. His birth mother had told all of her friends that Michael had died just after he was born.
She lied to keep Michael’s condition — Down syndrome — a secret. Better they think her son dead than deficient.
Hulings adopted Michael expecting to nurture the boy to make the best of a life limited by Down syndrome.
The book tells the story of how much Michael surprised his mother by not just rising above his limits, but going on to save her life and nurture her after Hulings fell gravely ill and was left physically dependent.
Hulings shades her story with memories of Michael’s quirks — running across the roof of a three-story house pretending he could fly, walking into his seventh-grade classroom dressed as Spider-Man, and ringing up 911 after his girlfriend broke his heart.
Hulings hopes to shed light on parenting a Down syndrome child into young adulthood, which the writer feels is a supplement to the many books about the early childhood of people with Down syndrome. Hulings records Michael’s experiences (and hers) in 12 years of public education. She writes about navigating Michael’s puberty, his friendships and his relationships with his community.
Heggie and Scheer’s Moby-Dick:
A Grand Opera for the 21st Century
Libretto by Gene Scheer, text and interviews by Robert K. Wallace,
photos by Karen Almond, foreword by Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer
Performing arts and music
Cloth cover; 240 pages, with 230 color photos; $45.
Author Robert K. Wallace attended the final performance of Moby-Dick, a grand opera by composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer, at the Dallas Opera in 2010.
Then the author decided to document the creation, staging and performance of a grand opera that confirmed Dallas’ place on the cultural map.
Wallace interviewed the creative team as it drafted revisions of the opera — both score and libretto, which is all of the dialogue, aria and chorus text performed. He talked with the principal singers and the production staff during the five-week rehearsal period. He captured the world premiere of the critically acclaimed opera, with each step of the way illustrated by Karen Almond, the opera production photographer.
Heggie first visited the UNT College of Music in 2011 as a fellow of the university’s Institute for the Advancement of the Arts. He returned last spring for the premiere of his Ahab Symphony, sung by UNT voice professor and tenor Richard Croft. The college was interested in bringing Heggie to the campus in part because of Moby-Dick.
Though the book doesn’t touch on the composers work in Denton, it illustrates the depth of Heggie’s musical achievement and the breadth of Scheer’s poetic accomplishment.
They Called Them Soldier Boys:
A Texas Infantry Regiment in World War I
By Gregory W. Ball
Texas history, World War I and military history
Cloth cover; 352 pages, with 21 black-and-white photos; $29.95.
They assembled in Texas, but they ended up in war-torn France. They were the soldiers of the Texas National Guard’s 7th Texas Infantry Regiment.
And it was World War I.
Author Gregory W. Ball focuses on the 14 counties in North, Northwest and West Texas, where officers recruited regiment soldiers in the summer of 1917. Ball also looks at how those counties compared with other Texas counties in terms of political, social and economic attitudes.
The so-called “soldier boys” trained at Camp Bowie in 1917. Then the War Department combined the 7th Texas with the 1st Oklahoma Infantry. The Texas and Oklahoma soldiers were recoined the 142nd Infantry Regiment of the 36th Division.
The dominoes fell fast for the Texas soldier boys. In early October 1918, the 142nd Infantry was assigned to the French Fourth Army in the Champagne region. By Oct. 6, they were in combat for the first time. More than 600 of those soldiers were original members of the 7th Texas.
Ball compares the soldiers’ combat experience to other units for the sake of illustrating just how unique the Texas soldier boys were. An example: The 142nd included Choctaw code talkers, the earliest known users of a tactic made famous in World War II, when Navajo code talkers formed an unbreakable code to protect information.
Ball consults 1930 U.S. Census information to follow the soldier boys from the French front back home. He studies a sample of 500 veterans to see how the soldiers continued their lives after war. Ball also writes about the armistice, and the regiment’s six months in France afterward.