Black and White: Tales of the Texas Highway Patrol by Ben H. English

BLACK AND WHITE
Tales of the Texas Highway
Patrol
by
BEN H. ENGLISH
Law Enforcement Biography / Memoir / Ethics & Morals
Publisher: Creative Texts Publishers
Pages: 250 pages
Publication Date: June 7, 2022
 
You know, I never saw an officer, an EMT, a fireman, or an ER crew ask anyone what their politics were and then refuse to care for them because of their answer. The color of skin pigment, the last name, the amount of money in a bank account, none of that mattered.
All that mattered was someone needed help, and they had the skills as well as the burning desire to do so.
Yes, they are only human and internally flawed and prejudiced as any other. But their true nature, their crowning glory in mortal life, is their ability to rise above those flaws and prejudices when called upon.

In a world of hungry, destructive wolves, they stand as the sheepdog who serves and protects the flock.
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review-2-1

A memoir 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 achingly 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 to readers who enjoy memoirs, good law enforcement narratives, and true stories set in rural Texas.

Ben H. English is an eighth-generation Texan who grew up in the Big Bend. At seventeen, he joined the Marines, ultimately becoming a chief scout-sniper as well as an infantry platoon sergeant. Later he worked in counterintelligence and traveled to over thirty countries on four continents.
At Angelo State University, he graduated Magna Cum Laude along with other honors. Afterwards, Ben had a career in the Texas Highway Patrol, holding several instructor billets involving firearms, driving, patrol procedures, and defensive tactics.
After retirement, he decided to try his hand at writing. His first effort, Yonderings, was accepted by a university press and garnered some awards. His second, Destiny’s Way, led to a long-term multi-book contract. This was followed by Out There: Essays on the Lower Big Bend, The Uvalde Raider, and now Black and White: Tales of the Texas Highway Patrol.
His intimate knowledge of what he writes about lends credence and authenticity to his work. Ben knows how it feels to get hit and hit back, or being thirsty, cold, wet, hungry, alone, or exhausted beyond imagination. Finally, he knows of not only being the hunter but also the hunted.
Ben and his wife have two sons who both graduated from Annapolis. He still likes nothing better than grabbing a pack and some canteens and heading out to where few others venture.
Just as he has done throughout most of his life…


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5 Comments

Filed under Biography/Memoir, Book Reviews, Non-fiction

5 responses to “Black and White: Tales of the Texas Highway Patrol by Ben H. English

  1. DAMN. You knocked it out of the park with this review. Spot on, every word. It is truly a terrific book and you shared your thoughts about it so eloquently. Recommend you listen, too. The narration is outstanding and the story is worth revisiting.

  2. Ma’am,

    I sent you a response via Facebook but also felt compelled to respond on your blog site.

    Thank you so much for the review you posted about ‘Black And White.’ I doubt if I ever write another book along the same lines, but when reading your words I realized that I managed to do right by this one.

    From the beginning, this was my main goal.

    So many mentioned in those pages deserved at least that much.

    God bless,

    Ben

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