The Whole Damn Cheese is the first book devoted entirely to the woman whose life in Big Bend country has become the stuff of legend. For more than twenty years — from 1943 until her death in 1965 — Maggie Smith served folks on both sides of the border as doctor, lawyer, midwife, herbalist, banker, self-appointed justice of the peace and coroner.
Maggie’s family history is a history of the Texas frontier, and her story outlines the beginnings and early development of Big Bend National Park. Vividly capturing her rough individualism and warm nature, author Bill Wright demonstrates why Maggie Smith has become an indelible figure in the history of Texas.
“Bill Wright’s lively study of Maggie Smith is far more than a biography of this remarkable Big Bend entrepreneur, trader, healer, protector and single mother. In vivid prose, Wright places Maggie’s extraordinary story in the larger history of the first years of Big Bend National Park” ~ Paul Carlson, author of Deep Time and the Texas High Plains: History and Geology
“Bill Wright helps to fill a void that is vital in understanding life along the border during this era. The story of my great-aunt Mag (English) Smith was not only her own but also of a time, a place, and a way of life that has been dead and gone for nearly half a century now. One could say that when they buried her in Alpine in 1965, a Piece of Texas history, as well as northern Mexico’s was laid to rest alongside her. Within ten more years, the Big Bend would change dramatically from what she ever knew or experienced. It was her time and her place in this world, and it will not come again.” ~ Ben English, author of Yonderings: Trails and Memories of the Big Bend