July 3, 2017
In her latest book, Janet M. Neugebauer, deputy director emerita of the Southwest Collection at Texas Tech, brings to life the extensive political career of longtime U.S. Representative George H. Mahon, who represented West Texas's 19th District in Congress for 44 years.
"A Witness to History" opens with a thank-you letter penned by Mahon to Judge W. R. Ely of Abilene, TX on the day Mahon was sworn in as a congressman in 1935. The letter serves as an example of Mahon's character, the influence of Ely on Mahon's career, and as a foreshadowing of Mahon's forthcoming role as congressman.
Shortly after the letter and Mahon's first day in Congress are introduced, a switch in timelines occurs, bringing the reader to George Mahon's early years. Travelling back to 1900, Mahon's roots are introduced. From details about his parents to their move from Louisiana to Texas, Neugebauer sets up the background that would shape Mahon as he grew into adulthood, thus giving a better understanding of the man he came to be.
Following Mahon's early years are chapters dedicated to pinnacle moments in Mahon's career, ranging from the construction of a pilot training base in Lubbock to serving extensively on the House Committee on Appropriations. By including personal letters written by Mahon throughout the book, along with several pages devoted to photographs, Neugebauer creates a more hands-on, personable account of history.
"A Witness to History" provides the perfect example of what it means to serve with integrity. Through thorough research made possible by a grant from The CH Foundation, Neugebauer leaves no stone unturned in the telling of George H. Mahon's career. Not only is this book a great asset to those studying U.S. politics, it also shines a light on the more unknown areas of West Texas history.
You can purchase "A Witness to History" from Texas Tech University Press.