August 1, 2023
The spirit of legendary Texas storyteller J. Frank Dobie comes alive in a brand-new audible version of The Essential J. Frank Dobie, narrated by popular radio personality W.F. Strong, host of “Stories From Texas” on The Texas Standard.
This treasury of Dobie’s best writings recalls a bygone age when a crackling campfire could conjure up a rich story. Now, at last, today’s Texans can hear Dobie’s tales in the way they were meant to be shared.
"To get to be the voice of Dobie for so many of his classic works is an incalculable honor,” says narrator W.F. Strong. “As a storyteller telling the stories of an icon like Dobie, I was in literary heaven. I was thrilled to narrate this collection for Audible where Dobie's work has been virtually (and ironically) non-existent."
“W.F. Strong’s warm, rich Texas voice is the perfect match for Dobie’s words,” adds Steven Davis, curator at Texas State University’s Wittliff Collections, who compiled the anthology of Dobie writings. “When Dr. Strong approached us about narrating Dobie’s book we instantly realized it was a brilliant idea. Listening to him deliver Dobie’s stories is as captivating as sitting around the campfire with Dobie himself.”
J. Frank Dobie (1888-1964) captured priceless social history while producing some of the most fascinating, best-informed writing about Texas. He bore eloquent witness to the passing of ancient pastoral lifeways and he was decades ahead of his time in championing civil rights and protecting the environment. He helped rescue the Longhorn and Bighorn Sheep from extinction in Texas and also helped inspire Big Bend National Park.
This anthology contains stories only Dobie could tell—those enriched by his matchless personal adventures. “Dobie would ride by mule for months across Mexico’s Sierra Madre in search of the greatest lost mine in North American history,” Davis says. “He eventually found the mine, but what really inspired him was the people he met along the way and the stories they shared.”
Strong adds, “When I started the narration, I found quickly that Dobie and I were kindred souls. I felt at one with his rhythms, his love of the landscapes he traveled in, and his marvelous sense of humor. More than anything I wanted to be worthy of him so I recorded some chapters three or even four times to get the nuances just right. My favorite story was ‘Sancho the Tamale-Loving Longhorn.’ I couldn't get through telling that story without getting quite misty-eyed."
W.F. Strong is a Fulbright Scholar, the author of two books, and Professor of Communication and Culture at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. He wrote his dissertation on Mark Twain's Speaking, where he developed his intense interest in storytelling as an art form. Raised on working farms and ranches in South Texas, he has a deep connection with the Texas soil, as did his ancestors who farmed and ranched in North Texas for over a century. His familial background has nurtured his love for the vibrancy of Texas history, literature and culture.
The print version of The Essential J. Frank Dobie was published by Texas A&M University Press in The Wittliff’s Literary Book Series. The audible version includes the complete text of the published book. As with the print edition, all royalties of The Essential J. Frank Dobie are dedicated to the J. Frank Dobie Library Trust, which provides funding to help small Texas libraries purchase books.
For more on the audiobook visit audible.com: