“The arrival of Union soldiers in Texas in June 1865 symbolized a turn in Texas history, including Texas legal history. The aftereffects of war and Reconstruction, an expanding population, and new economic opportunities all combined to make this period one of turbulence and growth.” So begins a chapter in “Lone Star Law,” a legal history of Texas written by Michael Ariens, a professor at St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio. Ariens says he has spent more than five years working on the book, which will be published in October by Texas Tech University Press. “There’s no other book on the legal history of Texas,” Ariens says. “I think that Texas has great historians who have written of the background and development of the state. This was an opening, a gap in the literature.” He notes that the book is written for nonlawyers and lawyers, and that the first two chapters are a chronological history of Texas law from 1718 to the 1920s. “I wanted to give readers, in the first two chapters, how Texas created its own common and civil law,” he says. The remaining chapters highlight different practice areas such as criminal, tort, family and business, he says. The greatest difficulty in finishing the book was deciding “what you put in and what you leave out,” he adds. He shortened the original manuscript from 280,000 to 220,000 words. He says the book will be available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble, but he hopes independent book stores also will carry it.
-- Jeanne Graham