978-1-57441-050-1 / 1574410504

Confessions of a Maddog: A Romp through the High-flying Texas Music and Literary Era of the Fifties to the Seventies

by Milner, Jay Dunston

Publisher:University of North Texas Press



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About the book:

Maddog Inc. was a loose confederation of Texas writers and "picker poets," as Jay Milner calls them, whose heydey lasted from the late 1950s to about the mid-'70s. This self-conscious gaggle of merrymakers (the group even had an official Maddog membership card) frequently got together to party through the nights and days.

The merry pranksters he fell in with included the likes of Billy Lee Brammer, Bud Shrake, Gary Cartwright, Dan Jenkins, Larry L. King, Pete Gent and (to an extent, though only peripherally, it appears) Larry McMurtry. The singers and songwriters were Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker, Guy Clark, Billy Joe Shaver and others.

I highly recommend Confessions of a Maddog, especially for those such as myself who are a bit younger than the author's generation of Texas writers but have heard tell of their legendary exploits. The Dallas Morning News, Tom Pilkington, January 3, 1999.

In the 1960's and '70s, a number of Texas writers began emerging as significant comers on the literary landscape. They were, for the most part, a rambunctious and talented lot who worked hard and played harder, and before they got too old to socialize till sunrise--among them, Larry L. King, Dan Jenkins, Bud Shrake, Gary Cartwright and Billie Lee Brammer--they left an indelible imprint on the world of letters in Texas and beyond. They and some of their friends called themselves Maddog Inc.--a label that, given the culture of the times, seemed entirely fitting to their unequivocal disregard for restraint.

Fort Worth resident, Jay Milner, a native of West Texas, was one of the Maddogs. A former reporter and writer for the esteemed New York Herald Tribune, he published a well-regarded novel, Incident at Ashton, before returning to Texas in 1961 to teach journalism, including duty at TCU and SMU. In Milner's new book, Confessions of a Maddog, published by the University of North Texas Press, Milner recounts the lives, loves and losses of his good friends and fellow writers. From Editor's Note preceding four page excerpt in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, November 15, 1998.

A writer is someone who puts his thoughts into words. Jay Milner has a way of putting everyone's thoughts into words. He knows where he is, therefore, he is able to position everything around him in relation to himself, which seems to be a good spot. His insight into the mental stumblings of an entertainer are uncanny. Maybe it's because he is also an entertainer. In other words and on the other hand and in addition to it all, out of a possible ten, Jay Milner is a twelve.--Willie Nelson

"When I first met Jay Milner, dinosaurs and the one-and-only original Hank Williams were a long time dead; John F. Kennedy and William Faulkner only recently so. Lyndon Johnson, Martin Luther King, Bobby Kennedy, Jackie Gleason, Red Foley, Chet Huntley and a rowdy bunch of hard-drinking, pot-smoking, lady-chasing Texas writers--many of whom make appearances in this book--were alive and semi-well. So were our dreams--collectively and individually--of soon running Norman Mailer out of town, embarrassing Kurt Vonnegut into retirement and reducing Saul Bellow to full-time school teaching. It didn't exactly happen that way, but my-oh-my didn't we have a good time trying?" Larry L. King.

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