Arts & Humanities

Texas A&M Press Publishes Book About Clayton Williams

With Clayton Wheat Williams Jr., what you see is what you get, and then some, for he is many things to many people.
August 16, 2007

“With Clayton Wheat Williams Jr., what you see is what you get, and then some, for he is many things to many people . . .” So begins Claytie: The Roller-Coaster Life Of A Texas Wildcatter, a comprehensive, candid, and fast-paced biography of Clayton W. Williams Jr.

The native son of a distinguished West Texas family and a 1954 graduate of Texas A&M whose career and personal pursuits have ranged from farmer to insurance salesman to wildcatter, pipeline entrepreneur, rancher, banker, real estate mogul, big game hunter, conservationist, philanthropist, front-running gubernatorial candidate, and oil tycoon, Claytie is by all measures one of a kind.

He has repeatedly been on the Forbes list of the 400 wealthiest Americans, yet more than once Claytie has also been on the verge of bankruptcy, in stratospheric debt.

This book captures the unabashed dimensions of his fascinating life and personality: his determined work ethic and honesty; his passionate interests and rough-hewn style; his devotion to wife and constant companion Modesta and family; his all-in wildcatter bets and integrity-above-all payoff of debts; his patented gaffes in the “wildest, woolliest Texas governor’s race ever” and their spotlighted consequences for the state and nation; and running through it all, both unrestrained celebrations and knees-on-the-ground repentance.

His many notable successes, his most admirable traits, as well as his most outrageous flaws are all portrayed in this book, often in Claytie’s own words or in the extensive comments, revealing anecdotes, and first-person accounts of others, supplemented by family and business documents, as well as contemporary journalistic records.

This biography of one of the most original characters in recent Texas history also vividly uncovers a time capsule of the past century of the Lone Star State. Here are exciting, ennobling, heartbreaking, and regretful stories told with candor, insight, and flair.

This book has it all, wrapped around one distinctive maverick who has left his boot prints all across Texas for 75 years.

Mike Cochran has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in journalism, all of it in Texas and most of it with the Associated Press. He has covered many memorable news stories in Texas during the past four decades, such as the JFK assassination, the U. S. space program, and most statewide political campaigns, and has earned several journalistic awards in the process. He is the author of three previous books.

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