The Wonderful Country wasn't quite over when I got the first inquiry from the Klebergs about doing a book on the history of the King Ranch. The centennial of the ranch was coming up, and they wanted a little monograph and well, actually, a good part of five years of my life went to that King Ranch…Bob Kleberg..taught me so much about how to look at country, what he saw in country and what he saw in animals..we rode all over that vast acreage very slowly and ..he would tell me things that had happened in various places on the ranch, and how he'd changed this and changed that…From the standpoint of a creative writer, The King Ranch was a kind of prison for the imagination because it was all simply a factual thing, and you had to prove every fact. The problems of writing nonfiction were so very different from the creative effort of a novel. I learned a considerable amount about how to handle facts that I hadn't known about. I had no background, no training for this kind of thing…

I think Al Lowman [Hertzog's biographer] has a somewhat exaggerated idea about the greatness of the book and the typography, but it's very pleasing to me what he says. I think Carl created one of the most interesting books ever printed in this part of the country as far as design is concerned. A lot of collectors wanted what is now called the Saddle Blanket Edition, but Carl and I never called it that. We just called it the Ranch Edition, but I think Walter Webb dubbed it the Saddle Blanket Edition. That was how it was bound, of course, so that's how it's become known. Anyway, we produced the book and it's still a pretty solid piece of work.


Tom Lea talking to Adair Margo in Tom Lea, An Oral History, El Paso: Texas Western Press, 1995, pps. 112 – 114.