“SPELCE HAS WRITTEN AN UTTERLY SPLENDID BOOK”
- Philosophical Society of Texas
WITH THE BARK OFF, A Journalist’s Memories of LBJ and a Life in the News Media has received a literary prize in the category of “Best Book of Non-Fiction about Texas” for 2022 from the prestigious Philosophical Society of Texas, (organized in 1837 by Sam Houston, Mirabeau B. Lamar, and other early Texas founders).
For purposes of this literary award, Texas is defined as having the border of the Republic of Texas as set forth by the Congress of the Republic in 1836, extending into parts of what are now New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Wyoming.
It is written by Neal Spelce, with Thomas Zigal.
The Society at its annual meeting in February 2023 praised the 311-page book as “a highly readable memoir that gives gripping firsthand accounts of many historic events of recent generations.” The 250-member organization specifically singled out two events: “the 1960 presidential campaign and the 1966 UT Tower shooting, where, under fire and in real time, the author showed the world the horrors of a mass shooting.”
“Spelce has written an utterly splendid book,” it concluded.
To receive this recognition from such a distinguished organization prompted Spelce to say “Frankly, I never thought of our book in such high-falutin’ terms. Sure, we were pleased with the memoir. We wrote it as if we were having a casual conversation with the reader. And we appreciated it when readers enjoyed the stories, maybe they were even entertained.”
“But now, there’s confirmation for what one book authority indicated to me earlier when she said it was also ‘an important’ historical work. Let me tell you, this is somewhat humbling to be placed into well-regarded company at such a high level,” he added.
The well-received WITH THE BARK OFF is now in its second printing and is published by the University of Texas Briscoe Center for American History and distributed by the University of Texas Press.