Books | Joe Nick Patoski

All books in print are available through an independent bookseller

October 2012 Hardcover

Joe Nick Patoski, The Dallas Cowboys: The Outrageous History of the Biggest, Loudest, Most Hated, Best Loved Football Team in America

978-0-316-07755-2, $29.99


From Dandy Don Meredith and Roger Staubach to the three Super Bowls won by the unbeatable trio of Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, and Emmitt Smith in the mid-nineties, to TO, Tony Romo, and the glitzy soap opera team of today, the Cowboys have been the NFL’s star franchise for 50 years. Love them or hate them-the Dallas Cowboys are known as “America’s Team.”

But the Cowboys have never been just about football. With their oil baron roots, overbearing, ego-driven owner, players who can’t stay out of the tabloids, a palatial new home that sets the standard for modern stadiums, fans as enthusiastic as cheerleaders, and cheerleaders who are as famous as the team itself, the Cowboys have become a staple of Americana.

Joe Nick Patoski plumbs all these stories in a book that is a rich, sometimes scandalous, and always vivid portrait of a time, a place, and an irreplaceable team.


Joe Nick Patoski is the author of the award-winning Willie Nelson: An Epic Life as well as biographies of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Selena. He has written for No Depression, Texas Monthly, Rolling Stone, Country Music, TV Guide, and the Austin American-Statesman. He lives in the Texas Hill Country.

To purchase online, go to

Generations on the Land: A Conservation Legacy

To keep the land in the family . . . To operate the land profitably . . . To leave the land better than they found it . . .

Each year, Sand County Foundation’s prestigious Leopold Conservation Award recognizes families for leadership in voluntary conservation and ethical land management. In Generations on the Land: A Conservation Legacy, veteran author and journalist Joe Nick Patoski visits eight of the award-winning families, presenting warm, heartfelt conversations about the families, their beloved land, and a vision for a healthier world.

Generations on the Land celebrates these families’ roles as conservation leaders for the nation—far beyond the agricultural communities where they live—and reinforces the value of trans-generational family commitment to good land stewardship. The eight landowners profiled by Patoski include six ranchers, a forester, and a vintner. They reside across the country: in California, Nebraska, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Their conservation accomplishments range from providing a habitat corridor for pronghorn antelope to hammering out an endangered species “safe harbor” agreement for grape growers.

A short introduction by a fellow conservation or ranching professional precedes each of the personal portraits by Patoski, which are written in an informal, conversational style. Brent Haglund, president of the Sand County Foundation, provides an introduction to the purpose and work of the foundation, and a conclusion summarizes the substantive conservation contributions of the Leopold Conservation Award recipients.



Generations on the Land Symposium

The “Generations on the Land” symposium, which was comprised of over 140 participants, brought together 11 of Sand County Foundation’s Leopold Conservation Award winning families, from all over the country, to share their stories and philosophies of land management and conservation with other landowners and students.

The recently published Generations on the Land celebrates the conservation leadership of eight recipients of the Leopold Conservation Award. The book captures the sacrifices and rewards these outstanding agricultural families experience as they work to keep their operations economically and environmentally sustainable. Click here to purchase.

An Epic Life Willie Nelson 


Celebrate Willie
Nelson’s 75th birthday with Joe Nick Patoski




The realization Texans are different from everybody else hit me
about an hour after I’d first set foot on Texas soil. I was only
two years old but I distinctly remember my father picking up my
mother, my sister and me at the Greater Fort Worth International
Airport and driving us to our new home in Fort Worth, stopping along
the way at the Big Apple Barbecue on Highway 183. The waitresses
talked funny and the smoked beef brisket covered in barbecue sauce
we were served tasted like nothing I’d experienced, vaguely familiar
and strange and exotic all once. Even as the hot spices set fire
to my lips and the inside of my mouth, I immediately wanted more.

Read my MVP
Q&A with Mickey Raphael
, which ran in the next to last issue
of No Depression. Order
Willie Nelson: An Epic Life from Amazon here.

Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park is one of the few places left in America
where a person can literally get away from it all. This book is
the first and only comprehensive photographic and word portrait
of Big Bend National Park. Joe Nick Patoski complements Laurence
Parent’s photography with a masterfully crafted word portrait
of Big Bend National Park. Patoski describes the powerful geologic
and volcanic forces that created the awe-inspiring landscape of
the Big Bend. He reviews the park’s natural history and also its
human history. Patoski also summarizes recent conservation efforts
that have led to the protection of 2.1 million acres. Although
no single book could ever hope to contain the vastness of Big
Bend National Park between two covers, this one beautifully captures
its essence.

Buy Now University
of Texas Press

Hardcover: 112 pp., 82 color photos, 1 map
ISBN-10: 0-292-71441-6; ISBN-13: 978-0-292-71441-0



Texas Coast

This beautiful book combines Laurence Parent’s magnificent photographs
with Joe Nick Patoski’s entertaining text to create a one-of-a-kind
portrait of the Texas coast. Joe Nick takes you on a verbal tour
of the Texas coast. He describes the irresistible allure of this
undramatic yet somehow unforgettable chain of barrier islands
and bays. He also acknowledges the human activity that has always
been a part of the coastal story-the arrival of immigrants to
settle Texas; Civil War battles; towns that flourished and then
suddenly folded after devastating hurricanes; the building of
a huge petrochemical industry; and the successful effort to create
wildlife refuges.

Buy Now University
of Texas Press

Hardcover: 108 pages, 68 color phots ISBN: 029270299X
an excerpt
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By John Dyer. Introduction by Joe Nick Patoski, who describes the
origins of the music and its place in contemporary life, and Juan
Tejeda, who pays tribute to the importance of conjunto and of musicians
such as Valerio Longoria and Tony de la Rosa. Together, the photographs
and essays clearly proclaim that conjunto is a true American roots

published by University
of Texas Press

Hardcover: 128 pages ISBN: 0292709315
a review of Conjunto in Rumbo
; Joe
Nick on Conjunto

Texas Mountains

In this book, Laurence Parent and Joe Nick Patoski join forces
to offer breathtaking views of the Texas mountains. With magnificent
images and words, they take us on a journey not only through the
familiar Guadalupe, Davis, and Chisos mountains, but also through
lesser-known ranges with evocative names such as Sierra Diablo,
Eagle, Chinati, Beach, and Christmas.

Buy Now University
of Texas Press

Hardcover: 156 pages, 120 color photos ISBN: 0292765924

The Tex-Mex Cookbook

Joe Nick Patoski wrote the chapter on The Story of Tex-Mex music
for Robb Walsh’s Tex-Mex Cookbook. Go on a grand tour complete with
larger-than-life characters, colorful yarns, rare archival photographs
— and a savory assortment of crispy, crunchy Tex-Mex foods.

published by Broadway

Paperback: 268 pages ISBN: 0767914880


Tex and the Mex


My Soul Looks Back in Wonder

This new book collects the stories of ordinary Americans who were
involved in the civil rights movements. Joe Nick Patoski contributes
oral histories of B.B. King, Jim Dickinson, Ruben Bonilla, Jr.,
Diane Wilson, Raylawni Branch, Ron Kirk, Sputnik Monroe, Eddie Wilson,
Reverend Kenneth Lyons, and Quentin Mease. Hardcover: 240 pages,
Published May 2004, ISBN: 1402714157

Voices of Civil Rights Bus Tour

Joe Nick is joined up from September 17th – October 8th, 2004
for the 70-day journey to collect personal civil rights stories.
Rights blog

Selena: Como La Flor

Joe Nick Patoski’s biography of Selena is widely regarded as the
most insightful portrayal of the beloved pop star. “If you’re going
to buy one Selena biography, this one is it,” Cristina Saralegui,
the Cristina Show, Univision; excerpted for VH1’s “Behind The Music”.

Stevie Ray Vaughan - Caught in the Crossfire

Stevie Ray Vaughan: Caught in the Crossfire

Joe Nick Patoski and Bill Crawford put together the first biography
of the meteoric guitarist. Stevie Ray Vaughan fused blazing technique
with deep soul in a manner unrivaled since the days of Jimi Hendrix,
and the genuineness and passion of his music moved millions.