BLACK AND WHITE:
Tales of the Texas Highway Patrol
BEN H. ENGLISH
Genre: Law Enforcement Biography / Memoir / Ethics & Morals
Publisher: Creative Texts Publishers
Publication Date: June 7, 2022
You know, I never saw an officer, an EMT, a fireman, or an ER crew ask anyone what their politics were and then refuse to care for them because of their answer. The color of skin pigment, the last name, the amount of money in a bank account, none of that mattered.
All that mattered was someone needed help, and they had the skills as well as the burning desire to do so.
Yes, they are only human and internally flawed and prejudiced as any other. But their true nature, their crowning glory in mortal life, is their ability to rise above those flaws and prejudices when called upon.
In a world of hungry, destructive wolves, they stand as the sheepdog who serves and protects the flock.
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As a huge fan of shows such as COPS and LIVE PD, I was so interested in picking up this book as a way to fill that programming void that I have been experiencing since I just don’t have time to watch television anymore. I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to read this, as it was very much like being in the front seat with law enforcement.
I used to say that Interstate 10 was the greatest show on earth, and behind the wheel of a black and white provided for the best seat in the house.”
This is an incredibly well written and riveting account of a dedicated and honorable career. Much like the tv shows, you will feel like you are right there alongside him; however, his stories bring the much needed personal side of being in law enforcement. While shows like COPS and LIVE PD were designed to appeal to the average person and show how random and intense policing is, the short and quickly changing vignettes shown on screen emphasize the action and drama over the personalized and individual accounts. I enjoyed how each chapter showcases moments in time that shaped and spanned the author’s career. Readers will feel the connection as though you are on a ride along without being physically in the car. The stories feel like an action-packed drama, but they are in fact riveting true life accounts of those that serve and protect.
This isn’t just a small glimpse into an officer’s day, but an intense account of a man’s legacy. The author is not afraid to be frank and honest in the fact that this isn’t an easy path to walk and not everyone is count out for policing. Situations can change in a second and everything you believe will be tested. Ultimately, the only thing that can be predicted is that every day is unpredictable.
This is a masterful storytelling experience that will give anyone a deeper understanding and discerning perspective of law enforcement officers. The rich and descriptive narrative along with the photographs sprinkled throughout enhance the author’s ability to convey a living history. As the wife of a former police officer, the over-generalizations, stereotypes, and constant ridicule of the profession can hit hard, but we always have to remember that a few bad apples doesn’t spoil the bunch. Lead by example and simply put, do onto others as you would have done onto you.
Overall, this is a very compelling read full of human interest that will keep you captivated and running the emotional gamut until the very end.
Ben H. English is an eighth-generation Texan who grew up in the Big Bend. At seventeen, he joined the Marines, ultimately becoming a chief scout-sniper as well as an infantry platoon sergeant. Later he worked in counterintelligence and traveled to over thirty countries on four continents.
At Angelo State University, he graduated Magna Cum Laude along with other honors. Afterwards, Ben had a career in the Texas Highway Patrol, holding several instructor billets involving firearms, driving, patrol procedures, and defensive tactics.
After retirement, he decided to try his hand at writing. His first effort, Yonderings, was accepted by a university press and garnered some awards. His second, Destiny’s Way, led to a long-term, multi-book contract. This was followed by Out There: Essays on the Lower Big Bend, The Uvalde Raider, and now Black and White: Tales of the Texas Highway Patrol.
His intimate knowledge of what he writes about lends credence and authenticity to his work. Ben knows how it feels to get hit and hit back, or being thirsty, cold, wet, hungry, alone, or exhausted beyond imagination. Finally, he knows of not only being the hunter but also the hunted.
Ben and his wife have two sons who both graduated from Annapolis. He still likes nothing better than grabbing a pack and some canteens and heading out to where few others venture. Just as he has done throughout most of his life.
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2 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW | Black and White: Tales of the Highway Patrol”
Terrific review! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I listened to the audio version and was just as impressed as you. Definitely 5 stars.
I would like to thank you for the fine review you did on my latest release ‘Black And White: Tales of the Texas Highway Patrol.’
I appreciate the thoughtful words, and understanding of the personal side of being a peace officer that so many never consider. Of all the books I have written, this was the only one I really did not want to write.
But it needed written.
Ben H. English
HS Teacher: 2008-2010
Facebook: Ben H. English
‘Graying but still game’