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Spanning four and a half centuries, James A. Michener’s monumental saga chronicles the epic history of Texas, from its Spanish roots in the age of the conquistadors to its current reputation as one of America’s most affluent, diverse, and provocative states. Among his finely drawn cast of characters, emotional and political alliances are made and broken, as the loyalties e Spanning four and a half centuries, James A. Michener’s monumental saga chronicles the epic history of Texas, from its Spanish roots in the age of the conquistadors to its current reputation as one of America’s most affluent, diverse, and provocative states. Among his finely drawn cast of characters, emotional and political alliances are made and broken, as the loyalties established over the course of each turbulent age inevitably collapse under the weight of wealth and industry. With Michener as our guide, Texas is a tale of patriotism and statesmanship, growth and development, violence and betrayal—a stunning achievement by a literary master.   Praise for Texas   “Fascinating.”—Time   “A book about oil and water, rangers and outlaws, frontier and settlement, money and power . . . [James A. Michener] manages to make history vivid.”—The Boston Globe   “A sweeping panorama . . . [Michener] grapples earnestly with the Texas character in a way that Texas’s own writers often don’t.”—The Washington Post Book World   “Vast, sprawling, and eclectic in population and geography, the state has just the sort of larger-than-life history that lends itself to Mr. Michener’s taste for multigenerational epics.”—The New York Times


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Spanning four and a half centuries, James A. Michener’s monumental saga chronicles the epic history of Texas, from its Spanish roots in the age of the conquistadors to its current reputation as one of America’s most affluent, diverse, and provocative states. Among his finely drawn cast of characters, emotional and political alliances are made and broken, as the loyalties e Spanning four and a half centuries, James A. Michener’s monumental saga chronicles the epic history of Texas, from its Spanish roots in the age of the conquistadors to its current reputation as one of America’s most affluent, diverse, and provocative states. Among his finely drawn cast of characters, emotional and political alliances are made and broken, as the loyalties established over the course of each turbulent age inevitably collapse under the weight of wealth and industry. With Michener as our guide, Texas is a tale of patriotism and statesmanship, growth and development, violence and betrayal—a stunning achievement by a literary master.   Praise for Texas   “Fascinating.”—Time   “A book about oil and water, rangers and outlaws, frontier and settlement, money and power . . . [James A. Michener] manages to make history vivid.”—The Boston Globe   “A sweeping panorama . . . [Michener] grapples earnestly with the Texas character in a way that Texas’s own writers often don’t.”—The Washington Post Book World   “Vast, sprawling, and eclectic in population and geography, the state has just the sort of larger-than-life history that lends itself to Mr. Michener’s taste for multigenerational epics.”—The New York Times

30 review for Texas

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Quite a long time ago, I lived in Texas for a while. That is how I came to understand my distinctly European identity and education. For Texas was different. Very different. I walked to the supermarket with my baby in a stroller. You don't do that in Texas. You take a car. I bought food for a day or two. You don't do that either. You buy for months in advance, loading your giant truck full with groceries. I tried to explore the city centre of Dallas. Well, there is none - not in the European sens Quite a long time ago, I lived in Texas for a while. That is how I came to understand my distinctly European identity and education. For Texas was different. Very different. I walked to the supermarket with my baby in a stroller. You don't do that in Texas. You take a car. I bought food for a day or two. You don't do that either. You buy for months in advance, loading your giant truck full with groceries. I tried to explore the city centre of Dallas. Well, there is none - not in the European sense of the word. After a couple of weeks in the unbearable heat, I felt strangely out of touch with the world, and lost in translation. Someone suggested to go on a road trip to the monasteries around San Antonio, to see the roots of Texan culture. Great advice! On the trip I brought Michener's monumental tale of Texas, spanning the centuries from the Spanish discoveries and settlement over the Alamo to modern oil and real estate empires. Reading and driving, I began to understand what surrounded me. The stockyards in Fort Worth, the ghost towns to the west of Dallas, the NASA in Houston, the beach in Galveston, the government in Austin, the JFK museum and the Southfork Ranch in Dallas, the beauty of San Antonio and the Spanish monasteries, the harsh nature, the sudden rain that could drown a road, the tornado that cut a garden in half, the HEAT! I imagine Michener trying to explore Texas to write its history, and the obstacles that he might have encountered. The hard surface of Texas is not offering much of a narrative in the beginning. But Michener's genius lies in the way he imagines the relationship between country and individuals, and their mutual interdependence. Texas is Texas because of individuals who built their lives in the area over the course of 400 years, and the individuals are what they are because they adapted their dreams to the strange country that they inhabited. To me, stranger in a strange land, the only way to solve the mystery of Texas was to read about its journey towards present times. It made my stay in Texas easier to grasp intellectually and emotionally. It is a Texas-style brick of a book, but definitely worth reading for whoever is interested in the story of one of the most peculiar places I have ever been.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tim

    Too much blatant racism, KKK glorification, religion and noone nonwhite of value. Oil and longhorns excluded. Nevertheless, the stories around these topics are better written and told than not. Good thing since there are over 1100 pages. 6 of 10 stars

  3. 5 out of 5

    Michael Finocchiaro

    I believe this is one of the first behemoth books I ever read. It was certainly my first Michener book. I remember pretty vividly the anecdotes of the origins of Texas, the standoff at the Alamo, the struggles for independence and the capitulation with generous conditions to Washington. I read it before I moved to Texas back in 93 (I lived in Austin from '93-'95 and LOVED it) and it served as sort of a cultural guide. I know, hard to believe because one does not associate Texas with culture beyo I believe this is one of the first behemoth books I ever read. It was certainly my first Michener book. I remember pretty vividly the anecdotes of the origins of Texas, the standoff at the Alamo, the struggles for independence and the capitulation with generous conditions to Washington. I read it before I moved to Texas back in 93 (I lived in Austin from '93-'95 and LOVED it) and it served as sort of a cultural guide. I know, hard to believe because one does not associate Texas with culture beyond bigots and barbecue, but there is diverse culture there if you know where to look for it, and as a professor at UT, Michener certainly took his time and exhaustively researched this book and uncovered a treasure trove of history and stories. Two anecdotes: I recall reading about Texas' oldest church in the small town of Nacodoches which is on the way to Dallas coming from Austin. So on a trip up to see a Rangers game (crappy Dubya-owned stadium with obstructed view for the plebes because of the proliferation of luxury boxes for Bush family cronies) and I stopped in the town of Nacodoches and asked directions to the church. "What church are ya talkin about?" "You know, the old church, like the oldest one in Texas?" "Umm, church you say?" "Yes, an old wooden church built about when Texas joined the Union." "Oh, yeah, well hell, that church burned down last Ji-une if I reckon right. The one that Michener book talks about you say? Yeah, I read sumthin in the paper about that last year. Shame. Well, you have a great day now y'hear." Back in the halcyon days of having some money and no kids, I went to Hawai'i for a month and had a blast. I didn't like Honolulu much (too many luxury hotels and herds of Japanese tourists with cameras (selfie sticks had not been invented yet but had there been, I would probably have had my eye put out)) and spent most of my time on the Big Island where it turned out I had distant relatives. Anyhoo, when I get back, I read a lot about Japanese Ukiyo-e painting because I am a huge Hiroshige and Hokusai fan, and I read in one of them that one of the largest and most diverse collections of Japanese Ukiyo-e prints is in....the collection that Michener donated to Hawai'i and is in a dedicated building in Honolulu. Argh, missed it :( Anyway, the book was great and left a long lasting impression and I can highly recommend it.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin Thomas

    I have read most of Michener's work, and I rate Texas among the big three, not only in size but in quality. (The other two are Centennial and Chesapeake). I particularly like the way Michener presents the entire history of Texas, and yet focuses on the key aspects of change that make this region so interesting. We see how cotton, cattle, oil, barbed wire, football, etc have changed the very culture of the people of Texas. Each long chapter is another window from which we can see the evolution of I have read most of Michener's work, and I rate Texas among the big three, not only in size but in quality. (The other two are Centennial and Chesapeake). I particularly like the way Michener presents the entire history of Texas, and yet focuses on the key aspects of change that make this region so interesting. We see how cotton, cattle, oil, barbed wire, football, etc have changed the very culture of the people of Texas. Each long chapter is another window from which we can see the evolution of the landscape and the people. We see the hearty characters that made Texas what it is today and examine the very heart of the issues which shape the modern day Texan. For all of this, it is a novel, with the sweeping epic qualities of Gone With the Wind or Michener's other great works. Don't let the size stop you. The novel is as big as the state itself, and worth every minute of the ride.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    As a lover of historical fiction, I knew I would love this book. And, I was not disappointed. I loved how Michener set up this story--a task force has been selected to research the curriculum that will be taught to schoolchildren regarding Texas history, and the history is told through the stories of their families (not the heroes--despite them being mentioned as well). Michener's research in the affairs of Texas is astounding, and his writing was brilliant throughout. The earlier characters are As a lover of historical fiction, I knew I would love this book. And, I was not disappointed. I loved how Michener set up this story--a task force has been selected to research the curriculum that will be taught to schoolchildren regarding Texas history, and the history is told through the stories of their families (not the heroes--despite them being mentioned as well). Michener's research in the affairs of Texas is astounding, and his writing was brilliant throughout. The earlier characters are well defined--you understand why they do the things they do and why they think the way they think. I especially liked the character Otto Macnab--you follow his development from a very young age until his death, and it is quite a ride. The major characteristics of Texas shine through the novel--the Alamo and the battle for independence are well told, and the shifting beliefs and culture with the discovery of oil is very believable. The sensitive subjects--blatant racism, slavery, religious fighting--are all told through the point of view from whoever's story is being told, and for each there is a counter--someone who believes something completely different. At times, it feels as if Michener is being a little cynical or joking in pointing out some of the hypocrisies that present themselves throughout the story, and I really liked this! The only complaint I had about the book was the last Task Force meeting. This did not seem like a valid conclusion to such a great masterpiece (although I did think the very last line was fitting), but this one complaint was not enough to hide the fact that he seems to have captured the essence of Texas and of Texans.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Ray

    Texas, James A. Michener, 1985, 1096 pp. ISBN 0394541545 Fictionalized history of Texas, 1535 through 1984. No likeable characters. Michener writes with worshipful admiration of men who steal, defraud, and murder, in pursuit of their own freedom to do as they will, to others’ cost. (p. 276, 648–649) Men who casually steal their neighbors’ cattle, then murder those neighbors who return the favor. The heirs of wealth gained by theft, murder, fraud, and corruption are here at the end of the story. They Texas, James A. Michener, 1985, 1096 pp. ISBN 0394541545 Fictionalized history of Texas, 1535 through 1984. No likeable characters. Michener writes with worshipful admiration of men who steal, defraud, and murder, in pursuit of their own freedom to do as they will, to others’ cost. (p. 276, 648–649) Men who casually steal their neighbors’ cattle, then murder those neighbors who return the favor. The heirs of wealth gained by theft, murder, fraud, and corruption are here at the end of the story. They use their billions to gamble in asset markets—inflating bubbles they know will burst; rushing to get out before the bust; leaving someone else to take the loss; then preying on the holders of distressed assets. (p. 1076) Michener admires these people. When his billionaire says, “Those who own the country ought to govern it,” Michener in his own voice calls this, “truth.” (p. 1072) Michener sees the absurdity of empowering the occupant of the big house in a mid-1800s German town, to decide who may and may not marry; and of the king of Spain in the 1500s being the only authority able to grant a missionary a new robe. The ascension of Michener’s vile brand of politics is recreating just such an aristocracy of wealth. Michener is blind to it. Michener descends to xenophobia, saying bilingual education will make the U.S. “worse than Canada.” (p. 1021) Dozens of times he calls unauthorized workers “illegals” and “wetbacks.” (pp. 914–922, 930, 1022, 1023, 1037, 1050–1055)

  7. 5 out of 5

    Danny

    This is my favorite book by Mitchner. I read it right before we took our family to Texas to San Antonio to see the Bomans, to Austin to see Debby and Len, and to Houston to visit Doug and Diana. It affected me emotionally. Especially the accounts of the first settlers along the Red River, and how they survived on pecans the first winter after crop failure. When I actually visited the Alamo and San Jacinto I got choked up and every time I saw one of those huge Lone Star flags, or saw the blue bel This is my favorite book by Mitchner. I read it right before we took our family to Texas to San Antonio to see the Bomans, to Austin to see Debby and Len, and to Houston to visit Doug and Diana. It affected me emotionally. Especially the accounts of the first settlers along the Red River, and how they survived on pecans the first winter after crop failure. When I actually visited the Alamo and San Jacinto I got choked up and every time I saw one of those huge Lone Star flags, or saw the blue bells growing along the freeway, I felt a part of something grand.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Christopher

    "Resistance is futile." This was a chore. Honestly. A book nearly as big as the state which, unless you already love it, is somewhat impenetrable and unknowable. There's a meta-narrative within the book of a liberal family that moves to TX from Michigan and is "in, but not of" yet over a slow battle of attrition, eventually becomes so thoroughly Texan that they end up voting straight Republican while their now baton-twirling daughter marries a hulking Dallas Cowboys lineman and all is just about "Resistance is futile." This was a chore. Honestly. A book nearly as big as the state which, unless you already love it, is somewhat impenetrable and unknowable. There's a meta-narrative within the book of a liberal family that moves to TX from Michigan and is "in, but not of" yet over a slow battle of attrition, eventually becomes so thoroughly Texan that they end up voting straight Republican while their now baton-twirling daughter marries a hulking Dallas Cowboys lineman and all is just about perfect. That's what I felt this book was trying to do to me, instead of making me appreciate, understand, or even LIKE Texas--it was trying to convert me. It failed. The novel never quite succeeded as either history or fiction. The history was shoehorned into the fiction as MAMMOTH exposition dumps and the fiction lacked real drama (despite telling some otherwise interesting tales) because the characters were given some horribly awkward dialogue and due to the aforementioned history dumps. I knew it was a lost cause when chapters described HS football with the same level of gravitas as the Alamo. I'm out.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Garrett

    Kind of hard to get through. Very dense stuff. There are some jewels in here, and the way he choose to structure the book is very interesting: the story within the story. Well, after about 2 years I have finally managed to complete this one. The first third was very hard to get through (remember that the entire book was over 1300 pages). The middle part was really pretty good and enjoyable. The last third was just OK. I read the final two thirds in 4 months. However, I only read it here and there Kind of hard to get through. Very dense stuff. There are some jewels in here, and the way he choose to structure the book is very interesting: the story within the story. Well, after about 2 years I have finally managed to complete this one. The first third was very hard to get through (remember that the entire book was over 1300 pages). The middle part was really pretty good and enjoyable. The last third was just OK. I read the final two thirds in 4 months. However, I only read it here and there when I was in the mood. I'm not sure how to rate this book. Is it a historical? Is it historical fiction? What is the author's angle of vision/slant on this? How accurate were the accounts? I really don't have anything to base or judge these questions. So, I'll forego my usual analysis of character, setting, plot, and conflict. Instead, I just want to talk about my reactions. Obviously, I have trouble getting into it. The most interesting time period for me was the late 1700s to early 1800s. I grew to admire the spunk of some of the people he wrote about. Some I detested even though they were praised in the book. I think the early part of the book was so difficult for me to get through because nothing seemed important or to matter. There didn't seem to be a point - no overarching message or topic (except, of course, Texas). I can say, after reading this, that I am glad that I've never lived in Texas and I will definitely not consider it in the future (which may have been the opposite effect from what the author or other Texans would anticipate). Sure, some of the history was compelling and interesting. But, I can't say that I felt proud of the accomplishments of Texas. Maybe it's the hauteur, maybe it's the forbidding landscape, maybe it's the provincialistic nature of the people there. I just know that the author did not paint a captivating enough picture for this reader. Would I recommend it? Not really. If you are interested, listen to the abridged audio - it will be less painful to get through.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    I first picked up Michener's Texas because I am a fan of Edward Rutherfurd. Both authors tell the story of a specified place through the interlocking stories of certain families through the ages, a method which I usually enjoy. This novel then, is meant to be a fictional narrative of Texan history. Michener examines important events like the battle at the Alamo and the Civil War and factors like religion, the immigration of various different ethnic groups, oil and American football and examines I first picked up Michener's Texas because I am a fan of Edward Rutherfurd. Both authors tell the story of a specified place through the interlocking stories of certain families through the ages, a method which I usually enjoy. This novel then, is meant to be a fictional narrative of Texan history. Michener examines important events like the battle at the Alamo and the Civil War and factors like religion, the immigration of various different ethnic groups, oil and American football and examines how they affected the Texan spirit. At first I thought I was reading an okay, fairly slow book. About halfway through I realised I was really enjoying it. This was despite usually not liking the characters. Being English and someone who has hardly ever seen a gun in real-life some of the stories and personalities made me feel almost like I was reading about an alien species. I think I am meant to feel like that as well. I really enjoyed some chapters, in particular The Mission and The Fort. However you don't always find out what happens to all the characters - in particular the female characters - for example Franziska Allerkamp Macnab and Emma Larkin Rusk. Either that or I blinked and missed it. I would have liked to find out more about what happened to the family of Mordecai Marr as they could have made an interesting example of an Hispanic-American family as compared to the all-Hispanic family of the post-Benito Garzas. I think there could have been more Native American and black viewpoints and stories as well. The weakest parts of the book were the chapters set in the twentieth century as it becomes harder to make an adventure out of arrogance, optimism and greed in times within many reader's memories. Overall, I would recommend this book. In view of political events which post-date this book I found it particularly enlightening. I wonder what Michener would have thought, but we will never know as he passed away in 1997.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    I finally finished it. Not quite history, not quite fiction, this book was... well, historical fiction. And it really taught me why I don't like historical fiction. Many of the made-up historical "facts" are pointless, the characters are one-dimensional, and everything about Texas has to make it into the plot, no matter how unrelated. Armadillos... football... hunting... Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders... chicken-fried steak. That said, there were reasons I kept reading this 1096-page behemoth. Sinc I finally finished it. Not quite history, not quite fiction, this book was... well, historical fiction. And it really taught me why I don't like historical fiction. Many of the made-up historical "facts" are pointless, the characters are one-dimensional, and everything about Texas has to make it into the plot, no matter how unrelated. Armadillos... football... hunting... Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders... chicken-fried steak. That said, there were reasons I kept reading this 1096-page behemoth. Since moving to Texas three years ago, I have become curious about Texas history and culture, and this book familiarized me with both, and gave me perspective on the character and political views of Texans. It had just enough plot to keep me reading, on a cheap level. But that's about it. Some of the sentiments, while perhaps true in the minds of many Texans, had no place in a historical work: "[Scottish descendants:] would govern India and South Africa and New Hampshire, and wherever they went they would leave schools and hospitals and libraries, for they were the seeds of greatness and of civilization." p. 269 "When it seemed that Santa Anna... was about to trap the fleeing Houston and his entire ragtag of defenders, one of those romantic miracles occurred which still convince Texans that God is on their side." "The slave, Cobb reflected, lived well, under the loving care of kind masters." p. 592 "Around the world, in all times and places, whenever men go on an ethical rampage they feel that they must discipline women. 'Your dresses are too short.' 'You tempt men.' 'Your behavior is salacious.' 'You must be put in your proper place.' This stems, of course, from the inherent mystery of women, their capacity to survive, their ability to bear children, the universal suspicion that they possess some arcane knowledge not available to men. Women are dangerous, and men pass laws to keep them under restraint..." p. 853 Um, may I propose that it actually stems, of course, from the inherent agressiveness of men and their need to feel superior to women? I mean, whose perspective are we coming from here? Sometimes Michener expresses such sentiments as thoughts of the characters, but sometimes they come from the anonymous narrator. It is clear that such quotes, while hopefully not representing the attitudes of Michener or of modern Texans, represent primarily the attitudes of white male Texans throughout Texas history. Yes, there is positive discussion about women, Indians, slaves, and Mexicans, but the unseen narrator is decidedly a white male. This aspect of the book left me with a bad taste in my mouth. All in all, I would prefer to read my history from a history book. But the Alamo chapter was great.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mitch

    TEXAS This book was so long I had to take notes so I would remember what happened. Below is a basic summary of the whole thing. It spans from the 1500s Mexico till just up after the 1984 election. Essentially there are a bunch of different things that make Texas what it is today: Mexico, cotton, shooting people, willful ignorance, oil and ranching money and the baby Jesus. According to the book everyone is basically super rich and successful unless they’re Mexican. And most of them are somewhat t TEXAS This book was so long I had to take notes so I would remember what happened. Below is a basic summary of the whole thing. It spans from the 1500s Mexico till just up after the 1984 election. Essentially there are a bunch of different things that make Texas what it is today: Mexico, cotton, shooting people, willful ignorance, oil and ranching money and the baby Jesus. According to the book everyone is basically super rich and successful unless they’re Mexican. And most of them are somewhat to extremely unlikeable assholes. But there is a charm to the land, a romantic narrative that’s undeniable. By the end I was envying Texas as much as I was annoyed with it. SUMMARY:   So there’s task force assembled by the governor of Texas to agree up on the definitive and all-encompassing history of Texas. The task force pretty much agrees that the history is broken up into a bunch of digestible parts. Part 1: A kid in southern Mexico hears from a crazy naked guy that there are some cities of gold up north. Then he and some Spanish priest guys and explorers go up there and find out it’s a dump. That dump turns out to be Texas. There’s also some long scenes about how it was frowned up upon for real Spaniards to marry mestizos. Part 2: A few padres try to make a go of it in Texas and start San Antonio with ranching and dancing. The Spanish crown sends in some people from the Canary Islands seemingly to punish them for being too uppity. Essentially the mission system establishes the beginnings of modern settlement. Then the apaches kill everyone. Oh and also irrigation. Part 3: People are still really hung up on who’s gonna marry whom. Spanish people from Spain want their daughters to marry other Spanish Spaniards but there’s not enough of them and it’s shitty. But there are some decent French dudes from New Orleans and some Spanish guys who were born in Mexico that might cut the mustard. The hottest woman in what will become San Antonio goes down the Camino Real to go dude sniffin’. She falls for a French guy who gets killed by the Comanche. Then an American Guy shows up he’s missing a tooth and is ready to kick ass at the drop of a hat. He wants to set up shop in Tejas because he sees is as being a good place to trade with the US in the near future. He tries to marry the hot chick but then ends up going for a richer chick which makes the grandpa of the hot chick mad. The two have a duel and gramps dies. The hot chick marries this Garza dude and he hauls off and knocks the American guy on his ass. This book contains excessive use of the word ‘dour.’ Part 4: It’s now the 1800s and a family from Tennessee is making their way down to Tejas via Louisiana, which is now part of the US. Along the way they meet a drunken Irish priest. The family is super hung up on getting some land of their own. The priest says they have to be catholic to get into Tejas and get land. No Methodists allowed. So they convert but then when they get there are confined to Nacogdoches and are told they can’t have any land. They take off with the drunk priest in search of Steve Austin’s colony. The shit is still Mexico but they let Steve Austin sell land to Americans in his colony. The wife of the family is a hardass and the kid is a big puss. They shoot a lot of Indians. Mexico decides to outlaw slavery but then Steve Austin is like, “we need slavery to grow, y’all!” Tennessee boy and his Mexi friend Garza head back to Tennessee to sell some land and get money. Puss boy doesn’t wanna join because he’s a big puss.  Dad meets Sam Houston in Tennessee who’s the king shit there until he gets disgraced and has to leave for trying something pervy with his young wife. Then Tennessee Dad dies from cholera on his way back to Tejas. There’s a brief interlude where the present day committee learns about Methodists and how they came to Texas to be super religious AND hypocritical which is why Texas likes to claim a moral uprightness while at the same time being pro-slavery and having lots of murderers and degenerates. Part 5: This chapter starts out about more people from Tennessee coming down to Texas and that the influential ones were Irish but then jumps to early 1800s Scotland and goes on about the MacNabs and their smart kid and how Catholics are just the worst. The MacNab kid decides he doesn’t want to go to school and do Presbyterian stuff and wants to steal people’s livestock instead so he goes to Northern Ireland and pisses a bunch of people off. His type are now called Scots-Irish and they like to drink and steal stuff and hate authority. Pretty soon he moves to America with his son who hears about Texas and becomes jazzed. There are conflicting rumors about what happens when you get to Texas. Is there a bunch of free land? Kinda sorta. Shady scrip salesmen try to rip our Scotsmen off by selling bogus guarantees. MAcNab decides to walk down to Texas from Cinci while droving a bunch of cattle with his kid and a woman dog named Betsy. But then they sell their cattle make it to Texas with another Scots-Irish guy and try to scoop up some land. They end up marrying Mexican girls and the son takes to Texas life like stink on a stinky person. One of the Scots gets busted for livestock thieving and it’s made clear Mexican dudes, even if they’re solid horse-cow-farm people, love to whoop on their women. And that’s OK right now. So is slavery. People are pretty gung ho about one’s right to slave up even though not many folks actually do. Then we jump back to the present and there’s a discussion about whether the people that settled in Texas from the US were criminals or deadbeats or dumbasses or actually really awesome, cream-of-the-crop Americans. Jury is still out but folks have opinions and site various sources. The book is starting to use the name ‘Quimper’ more often, which sounds vaguely vaginal but in a fun weekend/boating sense. Part 6: Mexico’s pissed about people in Texas doing their own thing. They’ve got this on-again-off-again ruler named Santa Anna who loves to kick ass and he rides up to Bexar aka San Antone to fuck the rebels up and that’s just what he does. The Mexican guy who’s the descendent of the kid from Part 1 and whose sisters have been married to the Scots-Irishmen from Part 5 sides with the Mexicans because he’s Mexican and is sick of Yankees coming down to Texas acting like they own the fuckin’ place. The two Scots die fightin’ the Mexes. Campbell at the Alamo. And MacNab at the massacre of Goliad. Lots of white dudes get straight up shot by Santa Anna’s men. The MacNab kid though escapes and he’s fuckin’ pissed. So he goes off to join up with Sam Houston who sounds like a bad motherfucker that can outsmart Santa Anna a fuck him right in his proverbial ass. And he does. Houston’s company, which is filled with whiny bitches who doubt his command, retreats and retreats until Santa Anna’s supply lines are stretched to long then they beat the ever-lovin’ shit out them at San Jacinto. The MacNab kid, Otto is his name, kills a bunch of Mexicans and spares the Garza dude from getting his throat cut.  The Quimper kid randomly captures Santa Anna himself even though he’s still kind of a little bitch. Houston uses the general as a hostage and gets the Mexican armies to go back to Mexico and calls Tejas Texas and says it’s its own country now. There was also a French guy who kicked a lot of ass too called Lamar. Part 7: Texas is a country and now the people there are doing a lot of fiddlin’ around with how to run it. The Quimper kid and Otto MacNab have some land and are gonna get rich off it. A bunch of counties are named after the guys that fought or died in the confrontations with Mexico in the previous part. Xavier (the Campbell guy), Lamar, Fannin, Houston, Harrison, Bowie, Travis and Rusk. One of the big problems is that Texas doesn’t have any money. The U.S. can’t give them any because they’re having a financial panic of their own and when the Texians as they’re called now try to print their own, it’s shitty and worthless. So some folks try to issue private currency backed in with their own property: land, boats, cattle and “n****r slaves.” Another problem is Mexicans, including Garza, who keep coming back trying to say some of the land is there. So the Texas Rangers are established and Otto MacNab joins up and they kill a bunch of Mexicans.  They also kick the shit out of some cherokees but then the comanches come in. They ride horses and give zero fucks. Comanches kill a lot of white people and there’s now a concerted attempt at a vice versa. Meanwhile the Texians, as they call themselves now, talk a lot about education but aren’t really into it and also invent pecan pie.   Then it switches to Germany where people are having a rough go at it due to harsh winters that are causing crop failures.  Broke Germans are hearing good things about Texas. So a family named Allerkamp moves there with nothing on a shitty boat. One of them, Ernst, rides with the Texas Rangers for an expedition and meets Otto MacNab who has the hots for his sister. The sister has the wets for MacNab in return. The German family is super industrious and builds a saw mill and sews popular bonnets. Their other son goes back to the bay they arrived at and helps build the port of Indianola. Benito Garza is a sought after bandito. Eventually Texas is admitted to the USA by president Polk. Then we’re back in the present talking about how Texas has a bunch of different land types: wasteland desert, plains, hills, forests, and plantation-y places. The task forces people all shit on the narrator for not owning a ranch because one of the key things about being Texan is to own some of Texas.   Part 8: President Polk wants some more land so he sends Zachary Taylor down to Texas to grab some more of Mexico. He wants everything clear down to Panama but they end up settling for the Nueces Strip. In order to do it they need the help of the Texans whom every body from up north thinks are piles of shit because they wear dusters and play by their own rules. Santa Anna is still around and loses a leg and this is important to Mexicans. Also the Commanche are fucking everybody up while the men are away fighting with Mexico. Otto MacNab becomes quite the baddass and will literally shoot anyone. He ends up marrying the German girl. Garza is still a big time bandito. Part 9: Cotton is a big deal in Texas so they’re pumped about slavery. When people up north start saying it’s bad they get their collective snatch in an uproar. This cotton family from South Carolina and Georgia bring their slaves and shit to Texas and set up a giant successful plantation so they’re naturally predisposed to succession and “preservin’ our way of laff!” They ally themselves with Yancy Quimper who is still held in high regard and has proclaimed himself a general. He’s generally a fuckstick and a shitbag. The Germans who’ve made nice lives for themselves and their community without slaves are against slavery because they left an oppressive place and don’t think they should set up a slave state in their new home. For this the pro-slave people hate them and kill them. Sam Houston keeps saying he wants to preserve the union. Pro-slave assholes hate him for that. Basically the pro-slave people are the worst people ever and just can’t fathom doing their own work or that enslaving people isn’t the most moral course of action. They are so stoked about owning people that they’re willing to go to war for it. MacNab and the Rangers ride against the Union because I guess he’s a dick now too. But the South doesn’t win and the slaves are free. Then in in the present the task force argues with people whether Texas is considered a smart state. It’s not. But they argue that it’s a powerful one. And it is. The task force discusses the influence of the deep southern immigrants (Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, etc.) on Texas culture. All agree that Texas is replete with southern culture (chivalry, limited women’s rights, okra, etc.) but is not a southern state. Part 10: The Civil war is over. Some people are still bitter. There’s an Indian problem. President Grant thinks the best thing is to send down Pennsylvania Quakers to befriend the Indians and tame them. Texans think that’s a pile of shit and are basically right when the Commanche go nuts and start raidin’ and rapin’ and cuttin’ folks’ dicks n tits off. Eventually the Texans convince the Quakers that the Commanche are animals and start kicking their asses. They also finally kill Garza and thus end his career of bandito-ing. The Commanche had kidnapped a little girl, Emma Larkin, who they raped and burned the ears and nose off of. She gets rescued and is later married to the main Quaker guy, Rusk, who inherits all her land. Good move. In the present, it’s communicated that black people really didn’t get a fair shake from history. Turns out they did a lot of fighting (as buffalo soldiers and whatnot) but Texas whites are racist as shit. Part 11:  Rusk and Larkin are trying to build their ranch into a town. They meet a travelling salesman who introduces them to barbed wire which will keep their valuable cattle from wandering off. To pay for the fence they have to put their whole ranch in hock to the bank. Bankers later turn out be parasites who cheat people out of their land. Fencing shit off pisses off other ranchers who don’t have their own waterin’ holes so Texans start doing what they do best besides being racist, they shoot each other. Eventually one of the slave-owner guys from Part 9, who is now a senator, passes some laws saying rich ranchers need to share shit but the laws aren’t super enforceable. Texans are prone to fighting with each other which leads to shooting each other. One feud starts because a guy has a shitty brother so his good brother shoots a judge whose family and friends get pissed and start fighting back and after a bit a bunch of people get killed. Eventually MacNab the Ranger comes in and forces a truce but then the judge’s people bring in a hired gun and the good brother (who’s actually an asshole) gets shot. Then MacNab dies getting shot by the same hired gun who then gets killed by more Rangers. Rule of law! The widow of MacNab goes to visit her brother in Indianola. A hurricane comes and destroys everything. She survives. The Rusks have the shittiest kid ever. He’s a surly fatass and who shits on his ma for being kidnapped by Commanche when she was a kid. He really sucks and his dad is a huge puss so his ma puts him on a cattle drive where he shoots two people in Dodge City. The cowboys bring him home and everyone determines that he is truly a fat piece of shit. The community decides to build a courthouse and hires a fancy pants architect who brings in some Italian stonecutters. The people of Larkin/Fort Garner don’t care for the Italians because they’re papists. One of the Italians falls for a local girl but she’s such a bitch he carves a statue of her puss and it gets put on the courthouse. She leaves town and he blows his brains out afterward. In the present the Task force gets a panel of people who feel the urge to impress upon them that nothing bad ever happened in Texas as well as a bunch of weird apologist, racist, bible thumping shit. “Don’t say women did anything besides have kids. Make sure people know our slavery was the good kind. Don’t talk about Mexican contribution. Don’t talk about Jews or Chinamen or labor unions. Let’s ban dancing while we’re at it. Make sure Texas is seen as absolutely perfect and white and everything outside of it is a den of homo commie satan filth, amen.” (These sound like the people that lobby for public funding to build a creation museum.) Then a meteorologist shows up and talks tornadoes, ‘huricuns’ (evidently Galveston had a motherfucker of a huricun at the turn of the century), and blue northers. Boogity! Part 12: This part opens with people arguing whether 1900 or 1901 should be the true turn of the century. The Quaker Rusk guy thinks it should be 1901 and everybody else calls him a heretic. When 1901 comes around he celebrates and gets trampled to death by a horse. Boll Weevils show up and eat the old slavery supporters’ cotton, forcing them to move to Waxahachie where it doesn’t rain as much. Boll Weevils like rain. And corn. Politics is examined and shown to be totally corrupt with people ferrying Mexicans over the border and getting them to vote fraudulently. Republicans and Democrats are equally shitty. Then it switches to Baptist revival preachers who come to town to make everything suck.  They hate dancing and entertainment and sound like they really fucking suck and my be big contributors to the state’s religious backwardness today. Fuck ‘em. In fact the town starts feeling so super upright that there’s a resurgence of the Klan, yay! And they make sure the blacks and the jews move out. Then they murder a guy for living with a woman he’s not married to even though they aren’t banging and she’s gross. And who’s the leader of it all? The fat fucking Rusk piece of shit kid. Then the best thing happens that made me almost say fuck these people and their shitty state: A dude comes to town and gets bullwhipped by fatass Rusk and his klansmen and THEN goes to Rusk afterwards to tell him that there’s oil on some land he has the mineral rights to. Awesome. Fortune smiles on the shitty in Texas! One the Cobb plantation people is convinced to run for senate after winning a minor battle in church defending girls who went to a school dance. So … he has to figure out the proper way to be corrupt and rig some votes. Rusk gets super rich and becomes obsessed with high school football and spends a bunch of money to fill his local team with 22-year-olds. Also his ma helps preserve the Texas Longhorn cattle breed before dying. Back in the present, the task force learns that the Texas character is based on three things: the ranch, the oil well and Friday night football. (The rest won't fit in the provided space.)

  13. 5 out of 5

    Greg

    This book is the reason I’ve read so few others this year. At 1322 pages (and small type), it beats "Atlas Shrugged" as the longest novel I’ve ever read. It’s a sweeping epic of 850 years of Texas history that’s part "Lonesome Dove" and part "One Hundred Years of Solitude." It begins in 1535 with Coronado leading the first Europeans from Ciudad de México into what would become Texas on a quest to discover the Seven Lost Cities of Gold, and ends in the mid 1980s with a longhorn auction and the ar This book is the reason I’ve read so few others this year. At 1322 pages (and small type), it beats "Atlas Shrugged" as the longest novel I’ve ever read. It’s a sweeping epic of 850 years of Texas history that’s part "Lonesome Dove" and part "One Hundred Years of Solitude." It begins in 1535 with Coronado leading the first Europeans from Ciudad de México into what would become Texas on a quest to discover the Seven Lost Cities of Gold, and ends in the mid 1980s with a longhorn auction and the art museums of Fort Worth. Generations of various fictional families weave in and out of the narrative - the Garzas, Quipmers, Rusks, Allerkamps, Cobbs and Macnabs - usually representing some Texas archetype: the Spanish loyalist, the cowboy, the transplanted Southerner, the German immigrant, etc. Every 200 pages or so could be a novel in itself; some chapters begin in Scotland, Germany, and antebellum South Carolina, with 100 or so pages dedicated to descriptions and narratives before the characters immigrate to Texas. If Michener were able to update this book, he’s surely include things like the Bushes, Ross Perot, the continued immigration debate to the degree that Texas could eventually become a solid blue state, and probably even the San Antonio Spurs dynasty. Michener has written eponymous novels about "Alaska," "Hawaii," "Chesapeake," "Iberia," "Caribbean" and "Poland," as well as one on Jews and Jerusalem called "The Source." If they’re as well-researched, captivating and epic as "Texas," I’m going to have to read them as well.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    Michener, as always, is long on tooth, but in "Texas" he broke up the time periods very nicely, by reverting to a modern day committee formed to research Texas history and propose guidance for the teachings of Texas history. So, for the breaks in time, you come back to characters you know and which are still being developed. The interesting twist is that the committee members are decedents of those you read about in the historical fiction. The book covers 1540 AD through 1983 AD. Michener points Michener, as always, is long on tooth, but in "Texas" he broke up the time periods very nicely, by reverting to a modern day committee formed to research Texas history and propose guidance for the teachings of Texas history. So, for the breaks in time, you come back to characters you know and which are still being developed. The interesting twist is that the committee members are decedents of those you read about in the historical fiction. The book covers 1540 AD through 1983 AD. Michener points out in an introduction where history is factual and where the stories are fiction. Was fun to go back to that introduction after I finished the book. At 1400 pages, classify "Texas" as a tome. This was first published in 1985.

  15. 5 out of 5

    texast

    FINALLY! It took me so long to read this book. I mean, it's a big one. Weighs five freakin' pounds. Anyway, I really loved this book up until they started talking about Texas football (more than halfway through). I skimmed over that part, most of the bits about Houston real estate, and some of the randomness toward the very end. The last section of the book didn't feel that cohesive to me, while the rest of the sections addressed very specific subjects like war, immigration, politics, slavery, f FINALLY! It took me so long to read this book. I mean, it's a big one. Weighs five freakin' pounds. Anyway, I really loved this book up until they started talking about Texas football (more than halfway through). I skimmed over that part, most of the bits about Houston real estate, and some of the randomness toward the very end. The last section of the book didn't feel that cohesive to me, while the rest of the sections addressed very specific subjects like war, immigration, politics, slavery, farming, etc. As a native Texan, I grew up learning a pretty one-sided view of Texas history. This book tells both/all sides, and it's fascinating. I am surprised by how much I enjoyed it. My favorite part is about the armadillo: "How beautiful, how mysterious the armadillos were when one took the trouble to inspect them seriously, as Mr. Kramer did. They bespoke past ages, the death of great systems, the miracle of creation and survival; they were walking reminders of a time when volcanoes peppered the earth and vast lakes covered continents. They were hallowed creatures, for the had seen the earth before man arrived, and they had survived to remind him of how things had once been."

  16. 4 out of 5

    Simon Robs

    This is my 3rd Michener read, the others so long ago I forget except the titles. Texas is a big state with a big history that is amenable to whopper size telling too and JM is at it here as he traverses 4-plus centuries of border(s) type contrast and conflict which even now, maybe moreso than ever a reflection of shifting dynamics coursing for inexorable change. Michener uses narrative characters past and present, lineage some factual some not, all aimed at the various Texas expansion from explo This is my 3rd Michener read, the others so long ago I forget except the titles. Texas is a big state with a big history that is amenable to whopper size telling too and JM is at it here as he traverses 4-plus centuries of border(s) type contrast and conflict which even now, maybe moreso than ever a reflection of shifting dynamics coursing for inexorable change. Michener uses narrative characters past and present, lineage some factual some not, all aimed at the various Texas expansion from exploration through mid-80's real estate boons and broke. He separates long chapters each with a special focus that make up the kaleidoscope of Texas, some of these issues are as relevant today as hundreds of years ago. It's a big long travelogue of years chockfull of colorful personalities and lore, myths, legends. The Texas Rangers. Well, I had a negative reading experience with a book (recently) mostly lauded and so, enjoying this book, its thickness of scope and straightforwardness of prose for me, is just better, I 'got' what was there for getting and left with a smile and some questions to ponder. Ya'll.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Anthony

    This was a LONG'un! Thankfully I chose the Kindle edition, so I wasn't carrying around 10lbs of book. I enjoyed the majority of this book, but didn't particularly care for the Task Force interludes between chapters. Also, I felt that the last chapter ran a little long for me. I think I enjoyed reading Centennial a bit better than Texas, but this was still a great read regardless. One really gets a good sense of Texas character after reading this book (assuming the representation is accurate) so This was a LONG'un! Thankfully I chose the Kindle edition, so I wasn't carrying around 10lbs of book. I enjoyed the majority of this book, but didn't particularly care for the Task Force interludes between chapters. Also, I felt that the last chapter ran a little long for me. I think I enjoyed reading Centennial a bit better than Texas, but this was still a great read regardless. One really gets a good sense of Texas character after reading this book (assuming the representation is accurate) so it did the job it set out to do. Also, it satisfied my "his-fic fix" with plenty of 1800s western migration, money-hungry bastards, southern aggression, Indian fights, horrendous tortures, shootings, burnings, and War. There was so much to offer, which is why I love books like these.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Laura Jean

    I think Michener did a good job of tackling the various ethnic groups as well as the entire historical and geographic scope of Texas. He covers armadillos, the immigration issues and Texas football as well as the Comanche, Texas Rangers and other more historic things I assumed he'd include. I think Michener did a good job of tackling the various ethnic groups as well as the entire historical and geographic scope of Texas. He covers armadillos, the immigration issues and Texas football as well as the Comanche, Texas Rangers and other more historic things I assumed he'd include.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Dave Harmon

    Eh, its not very good. not worth finishing. page 171

  20. 5 out of 5

    Vern

    Enjoyable read, but a heck of a slog. It is a loooooooooooooooooong book. I am assuming it was historically accurate, which makes it educational, interesting, surprising, awesome, as well a awful and appalling at times. Only the truly committed and hard men and women survived the early years, and then not even all of them. The characters were delightful, though even some of those with redeeming values certainly had qualities that that were less than admirable. The bias and prejudices displayed b Enjoyable read, but a heck of a slog. It is a loooooooooooooooooong book. I am assuming it was historically accurate, which makes it educational, interesting, surprising, awesome, as well a awful and appalling at times. Only the truly committed and hard men and women survived the early years, and then not even all of them. The characters were delightful, though even some of those with redeeming values certainly had qualities that that were less than admirable. The bias and prejudices displayed by supposedly leaders of the community really was disturbing by most standards. I must admit though, that after reading this book I can understand why Texans feel such a proud attachment to their state. If you are ready and willing to devout many evenings to this book, and understand that there is language used that you will likely find offensive, but are willing to accept the literary purposes necessary for the language used, I say go for it. If not, you will not like it and there is a good chance you will not finish the book.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Vikas Datta

    Again a tale of men (mostly) at their most heroic, resilient, and innovative and also at their most ignoble, unreasonable, greedy and grasping and (brutally) intolerant as it provides a broad pageant of history of what is now Texas... The framing device of the task force is again Mr Michener at his most inspired and serves to create a viable lens for the stories of the Lone Star state down the ages - from the first Spanish settlements, the Americans' arrival, war and Independence, the Civil War, Again a tale of men (mostly) at their most heroic, resilient, and innovative and also at their most ignoble, unreasonable, greedy and grasping and (brutally) intolerant as it provides a broad pageant of history of what is now Texas... The framing device of the task force is again Mr Michener at his most inspired and serves to create a viable lens for the stories of the Lone Star state down the ages - from the first Spanish settlements, the Americans' arrival, war and Independence, the Civil War, and the troubled legacy afterwards - Ku Klux Klan, oil discovery and the like. At one ends, it leaves you disgusted at the callous disregard of human life and vibrant difference and the lack of ethics in business, but on the other, the larger-than-life characters and activities compel some sense of awe. Characters are, again as usual, drawn very well and the appearance of historical figures is woven seamlessly - especially Sam Houston, and Ulysses Grant's cameo...

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mark Stephenson

    Published in 1985 in the aftermath of Reagan's decisive re-election victory over Mondale this demonstrates the ability of Michener, a loyal Democrat, to understand and to sympathetically report on the ideas and motivations of his Republican fellow citizens. Ransom Rusk, the main character of the latter chapters, is a hard working and patriotic Texas billionaire who evolves into a philanthropist. Rusk's grandparents are also major and heroic characters who throw light on the very troubled relatio Published in 1985 in the aftermath of Reagan's decisive re-election victory over Mondale this demonstrates the ability of Michener, a loyal Democrat, to understand and to sympathetically report on the ideas and motivations of his Republican fellow citizens. Ransom Rusk, the main character of the latter chapters, is a hard working and patriotic Texas billionaire who evolves into a philanthropist. Rusk's grandparents are also major and heroic characters who throw light on the very troubled relations between the Anglo-Saxon settlers of Texas and the American Indians they displaced. By far the most amusing segment is the twelfth, The Town, with its hilarious tale of Texan high school football. The Hispanic heritage of this great and influential state is also vividly brought to life through the characters Benito Garza, Eloy Muzquiz and his daughter Enriqueta, among others.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Greg

    I very much enjoyed the state of 'Hawaii' (beautiful beaches, parks, flowers, green hills everywhere) but didn't care much for the state of 'Texas' (the beaches don't really count as they are only gulf beaches, it's relatively flat and brown everywhere). And, as art does imitate life often, I felt the same about the books. (I know many people love the state of Texas, especially those born there, it's just that I like beautiful, turquoise water when I go to the beach, and I like lots of green eve I very much enjoyed the state of 'Hawaii' (beautiful beaches, parks, flowers, green hills everywhere) but didn't care much for the state of 'Texas' (the beaches don't really count as they are only gulf beaches, it's relatively flat and brown everywhere). And, as art does imitate life often, I felt the same about the books. (I know many people love the state of Texas, especially those born there, it's just that I like beautiful, turquoise water when I go to the beach, and I like lots of green everywhere.)

  24. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    Weaving the lives of families in Texas together over several centuries, Texas is an epic novel that sometimes reads as non-fiction. As with most books by Michener, it is exceedingly long, but that length is not a drawback in the least. Some storylines are more interesting than others, but they all constantly intersect in various ways. The biggest negative I could see was that it ends in 1985 (when it was published). I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Texas history with a lot of Weaving the lives of families in Texas together over several centuries, Texas is an epic novel that sometimes reads as non-fiction. As with most books by Michener, it is exceedingly long, but that length is not a drawback in the least. Some storylines are more interesting than others, but they all constantly intersect in various ways. The biggest negative I could see was that it ends in 1985 (when it was published). I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Texas history with a lot of time to read a book!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Monica

    4 stars because Mirabeau Lamar got a serious spit shine (gleaming glory-style); education in Texas (actually it's an impressive attribute of the state's citizenry) gets short shrift; and because the rich history of achievements and contributions by Texas blacks and women goes unrecognized. Overall, a most enjoyable read for someone who typically shuns historical fiction because of the unnecessary license taken with fact and fancy. 4 stars because Mirabeau Lamar got a serious spit shine (gleaming glory-style); education in Texas (actually it's an impressive attribute of the state's citizenry) gets short shrift; and because the rich history of achievements and contributions by Texas blacks and women goes unrecognized. Overall, a most enjoyable read for someone who typically shuns historical fiction because of the unnecessary license taken with fact and fancy.

  26. 5 out of 5

    John Boettcher

    Again, one of my favorite books by Michener. You can just tell by the way the characters develop how Texas got it character, charm, and stubbornness. Michener takes the reader through the entire gambit of the history of Texas, from dealing with the Apache and Comanche indians, to the Mexicans. This book has just about everything in it. A fun read!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Allyson

    Finished! This is well worth the time it takes to read it and I especially loved reading about so many places I recognise. I think one huge omission was a chapter about the space program, but still a great read.

  28. 4 out of 5

    David

    It took me a long, long time, but the book was still excellent. Not the best Michener I've read, but entertaining and as relevant as ever. It took me a long, long time, but the book was still excellent. Not the best Michener I've read, but entertaining and as relevant as ever.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Cliff Ward

    This 1430 page epic covers four and a half centuries of Texan history from the Spanish Missionaries up to the modern day US State in the 1980s of Oil Rich Texas with grand real estate in Houston and the Cowboys football team in Dallas. Michener's characters are followed through various generations as we see the early Spanish building missions, white immigration from England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany and various eastern US States especially sponsored by Steven Austin. The Indian wars against the This 1430 page epic covers four and a half centuries of Texan history from the Spanish Missionaries up to the modern day US State in the 1980s of Oil Rich Texas with grand real estate in Houston and the Cowboys football team in Dallas. Michener's characters are followed through various generations as we see the early Spanish building missions, white immigration from England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany and various eastern US States especially sponsored by Steven Austin. The Indian wars against the Apache and Comanche, fighting the French, Mexican Independence, Sam Houston and the battles at the Alamo and San Jacinto, the Texas Rangers, ranching and cattle driving, the invention of barbed wire, cotton and slavery, gun culture, the railways, oil technology and even modern day sporting traditions. Reading this book means I finally understand what happened at the Alamo and then San Jacinto, and why the sacrifices of men like Davy Crocket and Jim Bowie and then the Yellow Rose of Texas were so important. What does it mean to be a Texan? A place so large it fits my entire country into it nearly three times. It's possible to live a whole long life in Texas and not know or care what's going on in the rest of the world. The many dis-similar descendants of this land fought their various battles for survival. What we see now as part of the USA was for so long part of Spain and then Mexico and even for 10 years an independent country.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Donna Melton

    Very good. Great for getting an understanding of Texas politics and culture. The stories kept me coming back. Using a fictional committee made up of various Texas citizens to tie the chapters together, Michener covers Texas history from the first Spanish explorers through 1984. I enjoyed the stories of how settlers from various came to Texas and added their culture to the mix. I really appreciated the list at the beginning of the book that I could refer to while reading each chapter. That list t Very good. Great for getting an understanding of Texas politics and culture. The stories kept me coming back. Using a fictional committee made up of various Texas citizens to tie the chapters together, Michener covers Texas history from the first Spanish explorers through 1984. I enjoyed the stories of how settlers from various came to Texas and added their culture to the mix. I really appreciated the list at the beginning of the book that I could refer to while reading each chapter. That list tells the reader which characters and events are fictional and which are historical. He carries each major fictional family throughout the book. Set aside time for this one. At over 1,000 pages, it will take some time. I enjoyed the ride.

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