2014 Book Goal: 52 (mostly non-fiction)
2014 Books Read: 23 (83% non-fiction)

gail collins lameI picked up As Texas Goes…: How the Lone Star State Hijacked the American Agenda by Gail Collins at the library because I figured it might be an interesting look at the political achievements of my state.  Well, this book is nothing like that.  Sure, Gail Collins gives some backhanded compliments to the Lone Star State in this sarcastic telling of how Texas has become such an important part of the United States culture, economy, politics and more.  In the end though, this is a mean-spirited book that feels more like petty jealousy than journalism. (Collins is most known for being a columnist for the New York Times.)

Every bit of the “history” spelled out in the book is revisionist at best.  Collins ignores anything positive and puts a decidedly mean-spirited spin on almost everything.  She spent a long time making the story of the Alamo out to be a bunch of yokels that got suckered into dying in San Antonio.  She then goes on to suggest that the story was almost entirely fictionalized.

I get that Collins, born in Ohio, didn’t have the benefit of growing up in a state that takes pride in their history.  I get that just like the New York Yankees, there is no neutral ground.  You either love Texas or you blame unfairness for why it has had any success.  Its all a bit weak from someone who purports to be a journalist.

If you want to hear someone whine for 277 pages, give it a read.  The PR team for the book sell it as a “comical” political commentary, but it doesn’t come across as mirthful at all – just angry and sarcastic.

Chris Doelle