In one of the most timely political books in years, Gail Collins declares that "what happens in Texas doesn't stay in Texas anymore."
Gail Collins's fascination with Texas began rather abruptly in that distant spring of 2009 when she heard Governor Rick Perry - back to the wall, boots to the ground - address a Tea Party rally full of passionate Texans who seemed to be interested in seceding from the Union. "How long had this been going on?" she wondered, on behalf of the rest of the nation. "Was it something that we said?"
The more she looked at Texas, the more she realized it was at the heart of the American political story. The Tea Party had Texas roots, with its passion for states' rights and sense of persecution by an overreaching Washington. But Texas also seemed to be running the federal government it despised. Through its vigorous support of banking deregulation, which began with the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s and ended calamitously with the Wall Street crash of 2008, Texas' boot prints were deep.
In education, Texas had managed both to be the model for the wildly influential No Child Left Behind law and to provide some of the loudest political voices calling for the law to be trashed. In energy, Texas was the heart of the drill-baby-drill movement and the war against the whole concept of global warming.
Collins brilliantly frames this national movement through the outsized behavior and inimitable swagger of some of Texas' most colorful and influential political figures, from former House of Representatives Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who got into politics when the EPA banned his favorite fire ant repellent, to Perry himself, who when confronted with the fact that his state had the country's third-highest teen pregnancy rate, defended its abstinence-only sex education policy by doggedly asserting, "I'm just going to tell you from my own personal life. Abstinence works."
Digging beneath the veneer of cowboy hats, oil derricks, and Alamo cries, Collins has produced a profoundly original work demonstrating that much of what ails America was first birthed in Texas.
Like it or not, as Texas goes, so goes the nation.
©2012 Gail Collins (P)2012 Random House Audio
"Gail Collins is the funniest serious political commentator in America. Reading As Texas Goes... is pure pleasure from page one." (Rachel Maddow)
"There's no funnier writer about politics than Gail Collins, and in Texas she's found the perfect canvas. The state's record at producing some of the nuttiest characters ever to enter American public life is matched only by its recent prowess in infecting the other forty-nine states with those politicians' most crackpot policy ideas. Collins serves up hilarity and horror in equal measure and leaves you rooting for Rick Perry to make good on his threat to lead Texas out of the Union." (Frank Rich)
"Here is the WPA guide to the follies of our time. Gail Collins walks us through a vast and formerly prosperous land that has lost itself in delusions of its own magnificence; that has set itself ablaze with a crusade against learning; that has grown dizzy with free-market fantasies that no amount of real-world failure seems able to correct. Yes, Texas is a hell of a place to be a corporation, but for humans it's a different story." (Thomas Frank, author of What's the Matter with Kansas?)
I love Gail Collins’ columns in the New York Times, and this book would have maintained her famous sharp wit if someone else had narrated it. But here is a case when the author, in my opinion, shouldn’t have narrated the book. Some of her funniest points are made by quoting the Texans she discusses, in the same way that Molly Ivens was funny with such descriptions, but Molly narrated better. Despite this disappointment, it is full of interesting and thought provoking information about the influence of Texas politics on the whole country.
This is a scary story but brilliantly written.
I listened to this nearly all in one sitting.
Anyone who has ever had to deal with the Texas culture, the unwarranted arrogance and absurdities that goes with it will certainly appreciate the wit and humor that Gail Collins brings to the subject.
Only if Ms. Collins sticks to writting and leaves the narration to the professionals. While some may find her "dead pan performance" suitable to the narrative I found insufferable.
Although there is a serious and dark side to this book there is also much that is a real giggle.
I have a daughter going to college in Texas this fall. Thought I would pick up a book to learn a little about the Texas culture. I got a little of what I was looking for. It started out fun with an perspective of the Alamo and the politics of wide open spaces. It took a strong left turn as it went on. Gail Collins was an easy listen, however I think to give one state with a group of of characters credit for so much change is a bit of a leap. I think you could probably write the same book about about characters in some Eastern states and one state along the great lakes that begins with I. Still a fun listen for those who aren't offended by listening to the left agenda.
As a Texas outsider (even though I came to live here in grade school 30+ years ago), I was thrilled someone had decided to examine and explain(expose) the Texas mystique.
Gail collins is able to maintain a dead pan performance that suits her comedic style perfectly. There is also an almost bored quality to her narration that helps keep the narrative from being too emoitionally raw, and keeps the hysteria to a minimum.
Mrs. Collins likes to set up straw men and then laugh at how smart she is as she knocks them down (she’s so happy with herself). For anyone that has been paying any attention to politics over the last 10 years can see how hard she works to make Texas (and Republicans) look bad. She said nothing new in this book about Texas, and she could have written the same things about California, New York or Massachusetts. All in all, it is not a very funny book and the repeated attempts at hummer fall flat. Save your money.
Rachel Maddow fans and liberal elites in desperate need of someone else to look down on.
Nicholas Wapshott - Keynes Hayak
Her incessant invocation of "Don't Mess with Texas", which was never a political statement, rather a simple admonishment not to trash Texas highways.
Snarky, unfunny, largely inaccurate, and a complete waste of bandwidth.
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