Beginning in 1987 with the UT College of Liberal Arts’ “Texas List of Unrequired Reading,” faculty and alumni have developed various lists of must-read books to establish a reading plan for those who want to continue the educational experience they started on the 40 Acres. After all, the ability to read is one of the things that separates Longhorns from Sooners, Aggys and the like. For those interested in learning more about UT – Austin and Longhorns sports, Horn Sports has started a “List of Unrequired Reading” of its own.
Objective school-specific publications are difficult to find. Prior to the advent of digital publishing, the economics of writing books that were both informative and, when necessary, critical of a given university lead to few such books being published. Hagiographic and embellished publications were far more likely to be purchased by alumni of a school, and they dominate any list of books written about most universities. Sadly, this has lead to much of the history of college sports being replaced with fairy tales, fables and historical distortions.
The Horn Sports “List of Unrequired Reading” aims to provide a list of works suggested by the fan base for those who wish to learn more about the history of the University of Texas and Texas Longhorns athletics. This list is not limited to any single format. Objectively written books and articles are prevalent, but what surprised me in compiling this list are the extremely well-written doctoral theses about UT, including those written by candidates not studying at the university.
The original “Texas List of Unrequired Reading” was a four-year reading plan of philosophy, science, literature and history. It included 48 books with 48 additional selections (for a total of 96 books), ranging from the Bible to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Alcalde first published the list in its March/April 1987 issue, and it remains one of the the most-requested pieces they have ever published. In the May/June 2007 issue, Alcalde published an updated list of 89 books titled “The Ultimate Longhorn Reading List.” This list was compiled by contacting the 90 members of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers (a body that was created in 1995 by University President Robert Berdahl to recognize the University’s top professors) and asking them for suggestions. (Both lists are available here).
The best sports-related brain trust I can think of are the members of Horn Sports, so I open the discussion to you to offer suggestions, comments and feedback. I have listed a few PDFs along with a book titles with links. Unquestionably, there are others that some of you would like to share. Hopefully, this will help make for interesting discussions, allow us to direct others to where they can find interesting reading and assist those looking for something to give the ultimate Texas Longhorn fan for birthdays, Christmas, Father’s Day or just because.
History of the University of Texas
Oil, Power, and Universities: Political Struggle and Academic Advancement at the University of Texas and Texas A&M, 1876–1965. A Thesis in Higher Education, by Susan R. Richardson (2005).
The Early Years of the Permanent University Fund from 1836 to 1937. Dissertation Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School of The University of Texas at Austin (2006).
Texas Longhorns sports-specific
The History of Texas Longhorn Football, by Bill Little (2001).
Breaking the Ice: The Racial Integration of Southwest Conference Football, by Richard Pennington.
Championship Football: A Guide for Player, Coach and Fan, by Dana X. Bible.
Coach Royal: Conversations With a Texas Football Legend, by Darrell Royal, written with John Wheat.
Game of My Life: Texas Longhorns: Memorable Stories of Longhorns Football, by Michael Pearle and Bill Frisbie, foreword by Lee Corso.
Longhorn Football: An Illustrated History, by Bobby Hawthorne.
Tales of the Texas Longhorns, by Steve Richardson.
If you have suggestions for books that need to be added to this list, please leave a comment below with your suggestion(s). We will continue to update the list during the offeseason.