Black and White: Tales of the Texas Highway Patrol by Ben H. English
More than a memoir and very well told!
You run into very few outstanding storytellers over a lifetime, and Ben H. English, the author of Black and White: Tales of the Texas Highway Patrol, is undoubtedly among the best. The words flow, and the stories unfold, and with them comes truth and emotion.
Mr. English is upfront that Black and White was a book he never wanted to write. The subject matter is highly personal, and the people involved are important not only to him but to many others (perhaps the entire state of Texas in some cases.) But he felt the stories needed telling; the subjects deserved to be known, appreciated, and honored. And so we have them. And they are well worth the time you’ll spend sitting, reading, and absorbing.
Black and White is a collection of stories linked together by being incidents occurring during Mr. English’s career with the Texas Highway Patrol. Some of the same individuals are involved in more than one, his coworkers or family members, and you get to know them. Some tell of tragic events, while a few are more light-hearted or end in a good place. Photographs of many individuals who are the subject of these memories are included, making those people much more real.
I appreciated the author sharing these vignettes from his past; you see these men and women usually only on the interstate checking speed or writing citations, but these stories prove there’s so much more to what they handle. I particularly enjoyed the humorous recounting of the recalcitrant Christine, but I was deeply affected by others. (I had to pause and regroup after reading The Memory Thief.) And, too, there is just something about this area of the state where these incidents took place. The author had me feeling the open emptiness and almost tasting the dust. I have driven these counties (always going elsewhere), and now after reading these stories, I want to go back and see the area again with them fresh in my mind.
With its evocative storytelling and exciting action of deeply personal and actual events, I recommend BLACK AND WHITE: TALES OF THE TEXAS HIGHWAY PATROL to readers who enjoy memoirs, good law enforcement narratives, and true stories set in rural Texas.