2021 God discount Save Texas: A Journey into the Soul of the Lone new arrival Star State online sale

2021 God discount Save Texas: A Journey into the Soul of the Lone new arrival Star State online sale

2021 God discount Save Texas: A Journey into the Soul of the Lone new arrival Star State online sale
2021 God discount Save Texas: A Journey into the Soul of the Lone new arrival Star State online sale__right

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Product Description

A New York Times Notable Book

National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist


An NPR Best Book of the Year

God Save Texas
is a journey through the most controversial state in America. It is a red state, but the cities are blue and among the most diverse in the nation. Oil is still king, but Texas now leads California in technology exports. Low taxes and minimal regulation have produced extraordinary growth, but also striking income disparities. Texas looks a lot like the America that Donald Trump wants to create.

Bringing together the historical and the contemporary, the political and the personal, Texas native Lawrence Wright gives us a colorful, wide-ranging portrait of a state that not only reflects our country as it is, but as it may become—and shows how the battle for Texas’s soul encompasses us all.

Review

“Beautifully written. . . . Essential reading [for] anyone who wants to understand how one state changed the trajectory of the country.” —NPR

“Compelling. . . . Timely. . . . There is a sleeping giant in Texas, and Wright captures the frustration and the hope that reverberate across the state each time it stirs.” —The Washington Post

“Superb. . . . An elegant mixture of autobiography and long-form journalism.” —The New York Times Book Review
 
“Terrific. . . . Valuable and often provocative. . . . Wright’s words could speak for both Texas and America.” —The Dallas Morning News

“Vivid . . . Affectionate and genial . . . Capture[s] the full range of Texas in all its shame and glory . . . An illuminating primer for outsiders who may not live there but have a surfeit of opinions about those who do . . . It’s a testament to Wright’s formidable storytelling skills that a reader will encounter plenty of information without ever feeling lost.” —The New York Times

“Important, timely, and riveting. . . . Wright, a lifelong Texan and acclaimed author, knows his way around the state’s contradictions, from its wild borderlands to its craziest legislators.” New York

“A godsend . . . . Brilliant analysis. . . . Wright’s treatment flows impressionistically from one topic to the next . . .  introducing myriad characters in a cascade of crystalline sketches.” Newsday

“The most entertaining and edifying nonfiction book I’ve read so far this year . . . [Wright] is a rare beast: an elegant writer and a fearless reporter, with a sense of humor as dry as the plains of west Texas.” Mary Ann Gwinn, The Seattle Times

“At once a piece of journalism, a love letter to a place and a memoir.. . . [Wright] writes about his state with the fervor, knowledge, and ambivalence that comes from deep-seated familiarity.” The Wall Street Journal

“Wright’s affectionate, eye-opening, and, at times, rueful love letter to his native state . . . This is Texas in all its fascinating outrageousness.” The Christian Science Monitor

“The reader comes away with an idea that the state is a place of competing melodies: a bit of Austin country, a few measures of Roy Orbison, a riff from Buddy Holley and, for [Wright], maybe a stanza of ‘Home on the Range.’” The Boston Globe

“Wright tames his sprawling subject matter with concise sentences and laser-precise word choice . . . Gives readers a front-row seat to the battle within the Texas GOP between business-oriented conservatives, led by House Speaker Joe Straus, and the social-conservative wing headed up by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.” Houston Chronicle

 “Both celebratory and melancholy. . . . The grand scale of Texas, and the sheer range of its places and people—Houston to El Paso, the Panhandle to the Valley—is inevitably compelling to any writer, and Wright is happy just trying to get his arms around it all.” —Austin Chronicle


About the Author

Lawrence Wright is a staff writer for The New Yorker and the author of nine previous books of nonfiction, including In the New World, The Looming Tower, Going Clear, Thirteen Days in September, and The Terror Years, and one novel, God’s Favorite. His books have received many prizes and honors, including a Pulitzer Prize for The Looming Tower (now a series on Hulu). He is also a playwright and screenwriter. He is a longtime resident of Austin, Texas.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

One

The Charms, Such as They Are

Subtle was the word my friend Steve used as we drovethrough a spongy drizzle from Austin to San Antonio ona mild February morning. He was referencing the qualityof the pleasures one might experience from observing the Texaslandscape—small ones, requiring discernment—although theactual vista in front of us was an unending strip mall hugging acrowded interstate highway. Subtlety is a quality rarely invokedfor anything to do with Texas, so I chewed on that notion fora bit.

There are some landscapes that are perfect for walking, disclosing themselves so intimately that one must dawdle to takethem in; some that are best appreciated in an automobile at areasonable rate of speed; and others that should be flown over asrapidly as possible. Much of Texas I place in this last category.Even Steve admits that Texas is where “everything peters out”—the South, the Great Plains, Mexico, the Mountain West—alldribbling to an anticlimactic end, stripped of whatever glory theymanifest elsewhere. But in the heart of Texas there is anotherlandscape that responds best to the cyclist, who lumbers alongat roughly the rate of a cantering horse, past the wildflowers and mockingbird trills of the Hill Country. Our bikes were in the back of my truck. We were going to explore the five Spanish missions along the San Antonio River, which have recently been named a World Heritage Site.

Steve is Stephen Harrigan, my closest friend for many years, a distinguished novelist who is now writing a history of Texas. We stopped at a Buc-ee’s outside New Braunfels to pick up some Gatorade for the ride. It is the largest convenience store in the world—a category of achievement that only Texas would aspire to. It might very well be the largest gas station as well, with 120 fuel pumps, to complement the 83 toilets that on at least one occasion garnered the prize of Best Restroom in America. The billboards say The Top Two Reasons to Stop at Buc-ee’s: Number 1 and Number 2, and also Restrooms You Have to Pee to Believe.

But gas and urination are not the distinguishing attractions at Buc-ee’s. Texas is—or at least the kind of material goods that reify Texas in the minds of much of the world: massive belt buckles, barbecue, country music, Kevlar snake boots, rope signs (a length of rope twisted into a word—e.g., “Howdy”—and pasted over a painting of a Texas flag), holsters (although no actual guns), T-shirts (Have a Willie Nice Day), bumper stickers (Don’t Mess with Texas), anything shaped like the state, and books of the sort classified as Texana. There is usually a stack of Steve’s bestselling novel The Gates of the Alamo as well.

One image on the T-shirts and bumper stickers and whiskey jiggers has become especially popular lately: that of a black cannon over the legend Come and Take It. The taunt has a long history, going back to the Battle of Thermopylae, when Leonidas I, king of Sparta, responded to the demand of the Persian leader, Xerxes, that the Greeks lay down their arms. In Texas, the reference is to a battle in 1835, the opening skirmish of the Texas Revolution, when Mexican forces marched on the South Texas outpost of Gonzales to repossess a small bronze cannon that had been lent to the town for defense against Indians. The defiant citizens raised a crude flag, made from a wedding dress, that has now become an emblem of the gun rights movement. Ted Cruz wore a “Come and Take It” lapel pin on the floor of the U.S. Senate when he filibustered the health care bill in 2013.

At Buc-ee’s, an aspiring Texan can get fully outfitted not only with the clothing but also with the cultural and philosophical stances that embody the Texas stereotypes—cowboy individualism, a kind of wary friendliness, superpatriotism combined with defiance of all government authority, a hair-trigger sense of grievance, nostalgia for an ersatz past that is largely an artifact of Hollywood—a lowbrow society, in other words, that finds its fullest expression in a truck stop on the interstate.

I’ve lived in Texas most of my life, and I’ve come to appreciate what the state symbolizes, both to people who live here and to those who view it from afar. Texans see themselves as confident, hardworking, and neurosis-free—a distillation of the best qualities of America. Outsiders view Texas as the national id, a place where rambunctious and disavowed impulses run wild. Texans, they believe, mindlessly celebrate individualism, and view government as a kind of kryptonite that saps the entrepreneurial muscles. We’re reputed to be braggarts; careless with money and our personal lives; a little gullible but dangerous if crossed; insecure but obsessed with power and prestige. Indeed, it’s an irony that the figure who most embodies the values people associate with the state is a narcissistic Manhattan billionaire now sitting in the Oval Office.

Obviously, those same qualities also have wide appeal. Texas has been growing at a stupefying rate for decades. The only state with more residents is California, but the number of Texans is projected to double by 2050, to 54.4 million, almost as manypeople as California and New York combined. Three Texascities—Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio—are already amongthe top ten most populous cities in the United States. The eleventh largest is Austin, the capital, where Steve and I live. Forthe past five years it has been one of the fastest-growing largecities in America, the metropolitan area surpassing two millionpeople, dwarfing the little college town Steve and I fell for manyyears ago.

There’s an element of performance involved with being“Texan.” The boots, the pickup trucks, the guns, the attitude—they’re all part of the stereotype, but they’re also a masquerade.Stylistic choices such as the way Texans dress or the vehiclesthey choose to drive enforce a sense of identity, but they also addto the alienation that non-Texans often feel about the state.

Riding on top of the old stereotypes are new ones—hipsters,computer gurus, musicians, video-game tycoons, and a widening artistic class that has reshaped the state’s image and the waywe think of ourselves. That Texas can’t be captured on a coffeemug or a bumper sticker. “I’m the least Texas person I know,”Steve once observed. I’ve never seen him in cowboy regalia, oreven a pair of jeans. He hasn’t owned a pair of boots since he wassix years old. In college, he took horseback riding as a physicaleducation requirement and got an F. He contends that must havebeen a clerical error, but the last time he was on a horse he felloff and broke his arm.

Neither Steve nor I could have lasted in Texas if it were thesame place we grew up in, but we’re so powerfully imprinted bythe culture it’s impossible to shake it off. Still, both of us haveconsidered leaving and often wondered why we stayed. Manytimes I’ve considered moving to New York, where most of mycolleagues live, or Washington, which is Lotus Land for political journalists. I’ve never felt at home in either spot. Washington is a one-industry town, and although writers have influence, they are basically in the grandstands watching the action. New York intellectuals sometimes put me off, with their liberal certitudes, their ready judgment of anyone who differs with them. The city is a pulsing hive of righteous indignation. In any case, I think I’m too much of a rustic to survive there. Once, when I was walking up Sixth Avenue in Manhattan, I saw a nicely dressed older man standing in the street beside the curb. He was turning around in small, distracted circles. All my prejudices against the city came up: here was a man in need, but people were walking by, evidently uncaring. In Texas, we wouldn’t let a confused old man place himself in danger. I approached him as any gallant Texan would and said, “Sir, are you okay?”

He looked at me in puzzlement. “I’m waiting for a cab,” he said.

***

Writers have been sizing up Texas from its earliest days, usually harshly. Frederick Law Olmsted, a journalist before he became the designer of New York’s Central Park, rode through in 1854. “Horses and wives were of as little account as umbrellas in more advanced states,” he noted. In 1939, Edna Ferber arrived on a prospecting trip that led to her novel Giant. That book, finally published in 1952, was a sensation. It popularized the image of Texas millionaires as greedy but colorful provincials, whose fortunes were built largely on luck rather than hard work or intelligence. That there was truth in this summation was part of the sting. When the New Yorker writer John Bainbridge passed through the state in 1961, gathering material for his book The Super-Americans, he found Texans still reeling from what he called ednaferberism. “Few documents since the Emancipation Proclamation have stirred as much commotion,” Bainbridge observed; however, he also noticed that the movie had just come out, and it was booked on nearly every screen in the state. In the movie version, Rock Hudson plays the cattle rancher with a spread the size of several states; James Dean is the roughneck, who rises from nothing to build a stupendous fortune; and Elizabeth Taylor is the civilizing Easterner, who acknowledges the exploitation of the Mexicans who do all the labor but fail to reap the profits. It’s been three quarters of a century since Giant first appeared on bookshelves, but the archetypes that Ferber codified still color the perceptions of Texans by both outsiders and Texans themselves.

Bainbridge observed that the condescension of non-Texans toward the state echoes the traditional Old World stance toward the New. “The faults of Texas, as they are recorded by most visitors, are scarcely unfamiliar, for they are the same ones that Europeans have been taxing us with for some three hundred years: boastfulness, cultural underdevelopment, materialism, and all the rest,” Bainbridge wrote. He diagnosed the popular disdain for Texas as a combination of “hostility born of envy” and “resentment born of nostalgia.” He added: “Texas is a mirror in which Americans see themselves reflected, not life-sized but, as in a distorting mirror, bigger than life. They are not pleased by the image.”

When Bainbridge visited, Texas was in the backseat of the national consciousness, a marginal influence despite its swelling oil wealth and sui generis political culture. By the time Gail Collins, The New York Times’s op-ed columnist, arrived to research her 2012 manifesto, As Texas Goes . . . How the Lone Star State Hijacked the American Agenda, the accumulation of economic and political power meant that Texas now had a hand on the steering wheel. Alarm had set in. “Texas runs everything,” Collins wrote, expressing a typical liberal complaint. “Why, then, is it so cranky?”

Steve and I have talked over the question of whether Texas is responsible for fomenting the darker political culture that has crept over our country, which is the charge that outsiders like Collins often make, citing as evidence Lyndon Johnson and Vietnam, George W. Bush and Iraq, Tom DeLay and redistricting, Ted Cruz and the Tea Party—an impressive bill of particulars that has contributed to the national malaise. Steve takes the position that Texas is simply a part of the mainstream. Its influence may seem disproportionate, but it’s a huge state and it reflects trends that are under way all across the country. “If you visualize America as a sailing ship, Texas is like the hold,” he says. “When the cargo shifts, it’s bound to affect the trajectory of the vessel.”

I’m less forgiving. I think Texas has nurtured an immature political culture that has done terrible damage to the state and to the nation. Because Texas is a part of almost everything in modern America—the South, the West, the Plains, Hispanic and immigrant communities, the border, the divide between the rural areas and the cities—what happens here tends to disproportionately affect the rest of the nation. Illinois and New Jersey may be more corrupt, Kansas and Louisiana more dysfunctional, but they don’t bear the responsibility of being the future.

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Top reviews from the United States

Nowhere Tribune
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
"Shaking off the Mythic Illusions and Telling...About Who We Really Are"
Reviewed in the United States on April 26, 2018
A friend from another country once asked me why Texans are so proud of their state. Other than my dad’s attempt to move us to Florida when I was four (we moved back to Texas in eight months), and my year of teaching in Oklahoma, I’ve lived in Texas my whole life.... See more
A friend from another country once asked me why Texans are so proud of their state.

Other than my dad’s attempt to move us to Florida when I was four (we moved back to Texas in eight months), and my year of teaching in Oklahoma, I’ve lived in Texas my whole life. My roots are deep here--there are two streets in Fort Worth named after my great-grandfather, whose father farmed the banks of the Trinity River. I’ve lived in East Texas, South Texas, North Texas, West Texas and the panhandle. I’m thoroughly Texan. In college, I was on the rodeo team—the Tarleton Texans. I mix Spanish with English, wear boots without irony, and know the price of cotton and cattle. I even--I hate to admit--have an armadillo tattoo (the official small mammal of Texas), a remnant of my Tarleton Texan days. Still, the question above is a tough one.

In his book, “God Save Texas: A Journey into the Soul of the Lone Star State,” Lawrence Wright attempts to answer that question and others.
I read this book with more interest than I have any other in a long while. That’s partly because the material is familiar to me—the author writes about places I’ve visited, lived, and loved. But it’s also because of the author’s style. He is a remarkable writer who can really spin a yarn (Texan for “tell a story”) with vivid detail and subtle humor.

One of Wright’s main subjects is the political culture of Texas, how it began, how it evolved, and why it matters, not just to Texas, but to the whole country. In short:

“The political story in Texas both reflects and influences the national scene.”

Wright misrepresents nothing; Texas is exactly as he describes it. And he has the necessary background to get it right—he was born and raised in Texas and knows many of his subjects personally—George and Laura Bush among many others.

In the early part of the book, Wright describes three levels of culture: level one—the most basic and authentic level. The early German settlers in the Texas hill country built their homes from limestone because limestone is what was available. Level two culture is the least authentic, when a place adopts a foreign culture to become more sophisticated. Northeastern high rises in Austin, Texas, for instance. And level three—an informed return to the original culture: “Returning to one’s roots with knowledge, self-confidence, and occasionally, forgiveness…Level Three requires shaking off the mythic illusions and telling new stories about who we really are.”

These levels of culture are also stages that we pass through in life; maybe the author hints at that. His discussion of Level Three reflects his own position in writing this book. He isn’t blindly patriotic about his native state, but he’s not ashamed of it, either. Rather, he sees it accurately—the good and the bad, appreciates it for what it is, and helps readers do the same.
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jowct
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Correction: the title should have read, "God Save Texas . . . From the Republicans!"
Reviewed in the United States on August 27, 2018
The only "soul" plumbed is revealed via an egocentric exercise by the author that thankfully begins to bubble to the surface only in the book''s later stages. However, that is preceded by 250 pages decrying Texas'' failure--with the exception of Austin, of course--to have... See more
The only "soul" plumbed is revealed via an egocentric exercise by the author that thankfully begins to bubble to the surface only in the book''s later stages. However, that is preceded by 250 pages decrying Texas'' failure--with the exception of Austin, of course--to have morphed into California. One can visualize the author on his knees praying that Texas’ electoral votes will soon join California and New York in erecting an eternal barrier to any but Progressive candidates for national office. Lulling one into a false sense of the author''s purpose, however, are the first 60-70 pages that offer cute vignettes describing Texas'' origins and its heroes, but reader beware of the pitfalls to come.
In one particularly pitiful chapter, the author describes the terrors of Hurricane Harvey, which he blames on global warming, which was, of course, the Republicans’ fault, but into which he declares himself forced to drive to work on a play that wasn’t going to open—for reasons obvious to everyone but him (aren’t Pulitzer Prize winners supposed to be smarter than that?).
One might continue reading, as I did, hoping against hope for some semblance of sanity, or at least some recognition of reality. One can perceive humor, but it’s invariably unintended. In the final analysis, the last page arrives as an immense relief.
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gammyjill
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Excellent look at Texas...
Reviewed in the United States on April 21, 2018
Lawrence Wright is a noted writer of non-fiction - his book, "The Looming Tower" was a Pulitzer Prize winner - and one work of fiction. As an almost life-long resident of Texas, his latest book, "God Save Texas: A Journey into the Soul of the Lone Star... See more
Lawrence Wright is a noted writer of non-fiction - his book, "The Looming Tower" was a Pulitzer Prize winner - and one work of fiction. As an almost life-long resident of Texas, his latest book, "God Save Texas: A Journey into the Soul of the Lone Star State", is a journey through the history of the state as well as a bit of a journey through his life. He and his family have lived decades in Texas - mostly in Austin - and he''s lived though some of the most important events since 1950. His book is like a road trip through Texas with his interesting narrative along the way.

Wright''s written a rather idiosyncratic view of Texas. Less a history than assorted chapters about what has made Texas, Texas, Wright''s book talks about history, politics, society, and that spirit that leaves much of the rest of the United States saying, "huh", when we hear about something outlandish that makes the news. Wright attempts to explain the vagaries of the Texas political structure, which has flipped almost completely from Democratic to Republican in the past 30 years. He also writes about the music scene and Texans timeless endearment of firearms. His book is also a love letter to the city of Austin and it''s "Keep Austin Weird" vibe. But in all his writing, I couldn''t detect much, if any nastiness about his subject. That''s not saying Lawrence Wright is not critical about his beloved state, but what is said critically is said with a love the reader can''t miss. Sort of like a parent writing about a much-loved, if slightly exasperating, child.

It took me a while to read "God Save Texas". I began it on Tuesday when it was released and just finished it. It was a book that I savored. It was like the fact that I have liked every Texan I''ve ever met in the flesh, as opposed to who - and what - I see in the news. It''s not difficult to dislike Texas and its people if you don''t know any Texans or you haven''t read a book like Lawrence Wright''s.
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Rick, Austin
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Even a Texas leftist found it superficial and condescending
Reviewed in the United States on November 20, 2018
I’m a native Texan who has always been a “flaming liberal.” But even I found it difficult to find anything useful in this name-dropping joke of a book. As others have noted, it’s more or less a not-very-good travelogue from a writer who has done impressive work in the... See more
I’m a native Texan who has always been a “flaming liberal.” But even I found it difficult to find anything useful in this name-dropping joke of a book. As others have noted, it’s more or less a not-very-good travelogue from a writer who has done impressive work in the past. On the other hand, it’s also clear that most of the 1-star reviews are from unreconstructed right-wing zealots who can neither comprehend nor accept that the future of Texas is purple shading into blue. And to “flyguy,” trump is a lot of things, but he is most assuredly not “my president.” Beto is here: get over it.
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Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Newsflash: Wright is a leftist with typical views of conservatives
Reviewed in the United States on October 5, 2018
Lawrence Wright''s The Looming Tower is a masterpiece. This book, not so much. Wright is a hard-left liberal who believes all conservatives are bigots, racists, sexists, etc. He repeatedly emphasizes this position throughout this work. I''m disappointed that I wasted my... See more
Lawrence Wright''s The Looming Tower is a masterpiece. This book, not so much. Wright is a hard-left liberal who believes all conservatives are bigots, racists, sexists, etc. He repeatedly emphasizes this position throughout this work. I''m disappointed that I wasted my time with it.
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Russ Conser
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Engaging and insightful stories capturing Texas culture, but not (yet) de Tocqueville.
Reviewed in the United States on May 27, 2018
I loved Looming Tower - objectively deep and insightful presented in a simple and compelling read. Having lived here most most of my adult life, I also love Texas, having long ago overcome the scorn of it developed growing up in the midwest. So the idea of Lawrence Wright... See more
I loved Looming Tower - objectively deep and insightful presented in a simple and compelling read. Having lived here most most of my adult life, I also love Texas, having long ago overcome the scorn of it developed growing up in the midwest. So the idea of Lawrence Wright taking on an effort to capture the essence of the Texas culture, for better or worse, was an irresistible read. My hope was for something along the lines of de Tocqueville''s description of early America - sharply insightful and timeless. I devoured the book in days and deeply enjoyed it. And yet, I would say the book more the laid the groundwork for further insight yet to come, than delivered the insight I hoped might be there.

Like Tocqueville, Wright tells many stories, most often personal, of the what he has seen and experienced from a surprisingly often front-row seat as a citizen of the state. In each story, there are nuggets of sharp insight of the good, bad or ''just here'' elements of the things that make Texas unique. The stories are both historical (e.g. Lyndon Johnson) and current right up through recent events (e.g. Hurricane Harvey in Houston and the 2017 political scene in Austin). Even elements of natural beauty and cultural history like music are told in engaging and relevant ways. It''s just hard to get much better than insights from an admittedly liberal author who might go through the steps of getting a concealed carry permit solely for the purpose of skipping long lines at the Capitol building, have breakfast with Karl Rove, and and play keyboards in a blues band in a dive bar on a Friday night. Wright''s narrative is dominantly first hand, credible and compelling. It is unquestionably real Texas and not an academic evaluation written from a distance.

But still, I found myself wanting just one more layer of synthesis that just never came - thus the 4 stars. I was really hoping for a final chapter or two that would draw out the common elements of the collective stories in some kind of description of the culture of the Texas I know and love, but it just never came. Perhaps this is the result of the inherent challenge of trying to describe the thing he himself is a part of? Unlike de Tocqueville, Wright is more like a fish describing the water he lives in, than a diver going in and out of it from a boat floating above it.

In the end, I think my hopes were just set too high. God Save Texas is an insightful historical and current record of the things about Texas that can make one love it and hate it at the same time, and is relevant to the direction of tensions shaping our country. But it is likely not the last word on the subject of Texas culture that will live beyond its time. Still, I think such a work might be within Mr Wright''s grasp, so I hope he returns to the subject to pull some insights together in a future work.

I really enjoyed reading God Save Texas. I think anyone inside wanting to deepen their understanding of who we in Texas collectively are and where we''re going (for better or worse), or outsiders seeking to just get a glimpse of of what''s behind the things that drive you crazy about Texas, will enjoy and be enriched by the read. Thanks to Mr wright for sharing his story, and I''ll look forward to hopefully reading more someday.
18 people found this helpful
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Franklin the Mouse
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The Macho State
Reviewed in the United States on March 28, 2019
The New York Times Book Review accurately labeled ‘God Save Texas,’ “… An elegant mixture of autobiography and long-form journalism.” Mr. Wright’s excellent books ‘The Looming Tower’ about Al Qaeda and 9/11and ‘Going Clear’ which was a report on Scientology were why I... See more
The New York Times Book Review accurately labeled ‘God Save Texas,’ “… An elegant mixture of autobiography and long-form journalism.” Mr. Wright’s excellent books ‘The Looming Tower’ about Al Qaeda and 9/11and ‘Going Clear’ which was a report on Scientology were why I picked up a copy of ‘God Save Texas.’ It is different than the previous two I mentioned because he infuses more of himself into the work. I am a lifelong Mainer. Texas and my state are leagues apart when it comes to culture, the environment, and business. The Lone Star State is also where our adopted sons were born, so that added to my interest in it. Viewed from New England, Texas has caused me a multitude of emotions over the years, most of them negative, and it left me quite confused. ‘God Save Texas’ helped to broaden my understanding of their culture.

There is plenty of Texas trivia which was always interesting. The author also includes personal history about the author being born, raised, leaving, and then returning to his home state. Naturally, like all civilizations, Texas is not one monolithic entity but a mixture of many conflicting elements. Mr. Wright is proudly progressive, so his observations are accurate but infused with his personal opinions about the matter being addressed. This probably will irk readers who are of a more conservative bend. ‘God Save Texas’ covers such topics as oil and fracking, notable cities such as Houston, Texas, Dallas, Austin as well as smaller places like Lubbock and El Paso, the three U.S. presidents Lyndon Johnson and both Bushes, the cowboy style, the gun culture, the conflict between progressive and conservative Texans, the affluent, the homeless, the burlesque nature of Texas politics, notable politicians, immigration, its complex relationship with Mexico, and border control. The author is also very much into the arts scene, so there are numerous inclusions covering music, painting, sculpture, and theater. He mentions certain people in passing with the assumption the reader will know who they are. I was quite the googling fool looking up numerous references. Each chapter includes a black-and-white illustration purely as an embellishment. There are also many funny observations and stories throughout the book.

Mr. Wright’s work is more of a meander through some of Texas. It would take a multi-volume gigantic series to give the state its due. ‘God Save Texas’ was uneven in its execution and did not meet my expectations when compared to ‘The Looming Tower’ and ‘Going Clear.’ The last thirty pages I could’ve lived without them. They were more a rural diary of him and his wife exploring the western portion of the state by camping and road trips. Mr. Wright is a wonderful informative writer. If you have an interest in knowing more about the state, you could do a lot worse than ‘God Save Texas.’
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amber
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
He’s clearly living in Austin.....
Reviewed in the United States on January 7, 2019
This was a disappointing read. I love Texas and proud of our history. He does know how to twist things around. He clearly lives in Austin. He lacks the knowledge of how true Texans actually live, believe, and treat others. At least he’s keeping Austin weird. Save your... See more
This was a disappointing read. I love Texas and proud of our history. He does know how to twist things around. He clearly lives in Austin. He lacks the knowledge of how true Texans actually live, believe, and treat others. At least he’s keeping Austin weird. Save your money, nothing to read here.
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Top reviews from other countries

Tony Byworth
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Texas revealed!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 23, 2018
Texas has frequently been a source of controversy, often drawing criticism (even, sometimes, from those who have never been there!) about such as gun laws, minority groups, immigration, politics and, most recently, as a heartland for Donald Trump supporters. Yet, at the...See more
Texas has frequently been a source of controversy, often drawing criticism (even, sometimes, from those who have never been there!) about such as gun laws, minority groups, immigration, politics and, most recently, as a heartland for Donald Trump supporters. Yet, at the same time, possessing a diverse population and revealing Texans with a characteristic friendliness. Author Lawrence Wright, an Oklahoman who lived in several different States but now calls himself a Texan, has penned a book which takes an impartial view of the Lone Star state. Combining personal reminiscences and facts, the book commences with a potted history of the state that was under the thumb of several nations before joining as the 28th state of the union in 1845. It then built its wealth with cattle, cotton and oil, with technology now adding to its economic growth. The book continues its journey with passages on oil wells, US Presidents, big cities and small towns, Mexico and border problems, culture, changes in political party support and the Texas legislature (with a rather ponderous look at the controversial “Bathroom Bill” that defined access to public toilets by transgender individuals). And, scattered throughout, small anecdotal items. Written informally with a storyteller’s touch, “God Save America” reveals the State’s ever growing importance within the United States. It also adds considerably to knowledge already gathered for those, like myself, who have spent time working there.
Texas has frequently been a source of controversy, often drawing criticism (even, sometimes, from those who have never been there!) about such as gun laws, minority groups, immigration, politics and, most recently, as a heartland for Donald Trump supporters. Yet, at the same time, possessing a diverse population and revealing Texans with a characteristic friendliness. Author Lawrence Wright, an Oklahoman who lived in several different States but now calls himself a Texan, has penned a book which takes an impartial view of the Lone Star state.

Combining personal reminiscences and facts, the book commences with a potted history of the state that was under the thumb of several nations before joining as the 28th state of the union in 1845. It then built its wealth with cattle, cotton and oil, with technology now adding to its economic growth. The book continues its journey with passages on oil wells, US Presidents, big cities and small towns, Mexico and border problems, culture, changes in political party support and the Texas legislature (with a rather ponderous look at the controversial “Bathroom Bill” that defined access to public toilets by transgender individuals). And, scattered throughout, small anecdotal items.

Written informally with a storyteller’s touch, “God Save America” reveals the State’s ever growing importance within the United States. It also adds considerably to knowledge already gathered for those, like myself, who have spent time working there.
2 people found this helpful
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B. Vaughan
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Well written
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 25, 2018
The writing style would make this author a joy to read on any subject.
The writing style would make this author a joy to read on any subject.
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Rainer Schönfeldt
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Tiefe Einblicke, schön geschrieben
Reviewed in Germany on December 29, 2020
Auch wenn es nicht ganz einfach zu lesen war, die Sprache ist sehr schön und vor allem liefert das Buch wie versprochen tiefe, zum Teil erschütternde Einblicke in die Funktion des politischen System der USA. Gerade in diesem Jahr 2020 sehr interessant.
Auch wenn es nicht ganz einfach zu lesen war, die Sprache ist sehr schön und vor allem liefert das Buch wie versprochen tiefe, zum Teil erschütternde Einblicke in die Funktion des politischen System der USA. Gerade in diesem Jahr 2020 sehr interessant.
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Forestan
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Not really about Texas
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 18, 2018
Pushes the monotonous trendy narrative that all that''s liberal is great and those that wish to disagree are uneducated peasants, all delivered under the pretext of explaining about Texas - which sadly doesn''t really happen
Pushes the monotonous trendy narrative that all that''s liberal is great and those that wish to disagree are uneducated peasants, all delivered under the pretext of explaining about Texas - which sadly doesn''t really happen
2 people found this helpful
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J. McDonald
4.0 out of 5 starsVine Customer Review of Free Product
God Save Texas.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 14, 2018
In this book Lawrence Wright presents the reader with a personal assessment of the US state in which he lives and clearly loves. It is by turns anecdotal, analytical, critical and affectionate; generally good humoured, he nevertheless doesn`t shy away from exposing some of...See more
In this book Lawrence Wright presents the reader with a personal assessment of the US state in which he lives and clearly loves. It is by turns anecdotal, analytical, critical and affectionate; generally good humoured, he nevertheless doesn`t shy away from exposing some of the damaging extremes of the politics, economic disparity and aspects of Texas lifestyles such as gun culture. It is also very informative in that he touches on diverse themes like music, food, literature, cinema and cultural stereotypes. The Texan model – as opposed to the Californian model - is suggested as the current trend in the social/economic direction the USA as a whole may well take, though it`s fascinating to note that Texas may be on the verge of turning into a “blue” (Democrat) state in the future, as opposed to the “Red” state it has been for decades. It`s a relatively easy and enjoyable book to read, though a little understanding of the American political system is helpful. The narrative charting the passage of the “Bathroom Bill” as it was debated in the state Capitol is almost like a black-humoured pantomime; a rather petty, pedantic and unnecessary piece of legislation, this contentious bill was the subject of hours of debate, while vastly more important problems such as that of education funding remained unresolved; it highlights the fault-lines that exist in the Texan Republican party between economic Conservatives and cultural Conservatives. A balanced, thoughtful and entertaining portrait of this enormous and influential state and a considered projection of it`s relevance in the future of the USA.
In this book Lawrence Wright presents the reader with a personal assessment of the US state in which he lives and clearly loves.

It is by turns anecdotal, analytical, critical and affectionate; generally good humoured, he nevertheless doesn`t shy away from exposing some of the damaging extremes of the politics, economic disparity and aspects of Texas lifestyles such as gun culture.
It is also very informative in that he touches on diverse themes like music, food, literature, cinema and cultural stereotypes.
The Texan model – as opposed to the Californian model - is suggested as the current trend in the social/economic direction the USA as a whole may well take, though it`s fascinating to note that Texas may be on the verge of turning into a “blue” (Democrat) state in the future, as opposed to the “Red” state it has been for decades.
It`s a relatively easy and enjoyable book to read, though a little understanding of the American political system is helpful. The narrative charting the passage of the “Bathroom Bill” as it was debated in the state Capitol is almost like a black-humoured pantomime; a rather petty, pedantic and unnecessary piece of legislation, this contentious bill was the subject of hours of debate, while vastly more important problems such as that of education funding remained unresolved; it highlights the fault-lines that exist in the Texan Republican party between economic Conservatives and cultural Conservatives.

A balanced, thoughtful and entertaining portrait of this enormous and influential state and a considered projection of it`s relevance in the future of the USA.
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