Horton Foote: America's Storyteller


"… engrossing, multifaceted biography … gracefully lyrical … an ideal companion piece to a most laudable life."
–Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun-Times

"… a carefully detailed and quietly revealing biography …"
–Everett Evans, Houston Chronicle

"… a loving, thoughtful portrait and breezily written bio."
–Lewis Whittington, Edge

"…simple, graceful prose about its self-effacing subject."


The town of Wharton, Texas, lies 45 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico on an alluvial plain formed by the Colorado River and a smaller waterway called Caney Creek, because of the giant switch cane that once grew along its banks. It resides on part of two leagues of land ceded by the Mexican government in 1824 to William Kincheloe, one of the original 300 settlers who came to Texas from Louisiana with Stephen F. Austin.

The town was officially put on the geographic map in 1838 when the fledgling Republic of Texas added it to a mail route and named the community for two brothers, John and William Wharton, who fought in the Texas war of independence from Mexico. It first appeared on the literary map a hundred years later in a one-act play called Wharton Dance, written by an aspiring young actor named Horton Foote, a native son.

Over the course of the ensuing seventy years, Wharton became the setting, under a variety of names, for a canon of work that included more than sixty plays, films and television dramas and that defined 20th century America. The man responsible for turning it into a metaphoric Hometown, U.S.A. was the first-born child of the fourth generation of extended families on both sides of an unlikely union.

Selected Works

The story of one of America’s greatest playwrights and screenwriters, who won two Academy Awards and the Pulitzer Prize but lived a quiet family life out of the spotlight.
An account of the day John F. Kennedy was shot in Dallas, told by a cub reporter who was suddenly thrown into covering its tragic events.
The day terrorists attacked New York City, told through the eyes of those who suffered personal loss in the collapse of the Twin Towers.
Two wars that changed the course of the Middle East, told through the eyes of a reporter who covered them.
The rise and fall of the young man from Tupelo, Mississippi, who created a new music that became rock and roll and became its king.
The story of a bad kid from the Baltimore dockyards who rose from a reform school playground to become the greatest baseball player ever to step on a diamond.

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