On the Gulf edge of Texas between land and sea stands Galveston Island. Shaped continually by wind and water, it is one of earth's ongoing creations—time is forever new. Here, on the shoreline, embraced by the waves, a person can still feel the heartbeat of nature. And yet, for all the idyllic possibilities, Galveston's history has been anything but tranquil. Across Galveston's sands have walked Indians, pirates, revolutionaries, the richest men of nineteenth-century Texas, soldiers, sailors, bootleggers, gamblers, prostitutes, physicians, entertainers, engineers, and preservationists. Major events in the island's past include hurricanes, yellow fever, smuggling, vice, the Civil War, the building of a medical school and port, raids by the Texas Rangers, and, always, the struggle to live in a precarious location.
Galveston: A History is at the forefront of a trend in writing urban biographies emphasizing technology as the dynamic force in urban development. David McComb explores this often contradictory relationship between technology and the city, and provides a guide to both Galveston history and the dynamics of urban development.