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Publisher's Summary

The story of Texas is the story of struggle and triumph in a land of extremes. It is a story of drought and flood, invasion and war, boom and bust, and of the myriad peoples who, over centuries of conflict, gave rise to a place that has helped shape the identity of the United States and the destiny of the world. 

"I couldn't believe Texas was real", the painter Georgia O'Keeffe remembered of her first encounter with the Lone Star State. It was, for her, "the same big wonderful thing that oceans and the highest mountains are." 

Big Wonderful Thing invites us to walk in the footsteps of ancient as well as modern people along the path of Texas's evolution. Blending action and atmosphere with impeccable research, New York Times best-selling author Stephen Harrigan brings to life with novelistic immediacy the generations of driven men and women who shaped Texas, including Spanish explorers, American filibusters, Comanche warriors, wildcatters, Tejano activists, and spellbinding artists - all of them taking their part in the creation of a place that became not just a nation, not just a state, but an indelible idea. 

Written in fast-paced prose, rich with personal observation and a passionate sense of place, Big Wonderful Thing calls to mind the literary spirit of Robert Hughes writing about Australia or Shelby Foote about the Civil War. Like those volumes it is a big book about a big subject, a book that dares to tell the whole glorious, gruesome, epically sprawling story of Texas.

©2019 Stephen Harrigan (P)2019 Recorded Books

What listeners say about Big Wonderful Thing

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Just wonderful! I didn't want it to end.

I had no idea what I was in for, but the confluence of Harrigan's writing and Guidall's voice is immediately mesmerizing. Mr. Harrigan made me love heroes and villains and even inanimate trees, escarpments, and old bones. He has a genius for pulling the right word like an arrow out of his vast lexicon quiver to impact everything; perfectly do-se-doing between colloquial terms, fifty cent words, and even words hitherto never written like "Fergusonian". The most magical thing Mr. Harrigan has done with this book about Texas however is he has somehow managed to make me feel as if both he and the I are discovering all of it at the same time. in other words, not only are Sam Houston, Cynthia Ann Parker, and Ann Richards "characters" in this book, our dear author is indeed a character himself; as awe-struck as Huck Finn as he navigates this river of time past characters/events. It's a long journey, but I encourage you to come along with Mr. Harrigan. I remember asking a host at a busy restaurant if it was worth the wait. She said "We ain't busy for nothin', darlin'". Well reader, this book ain't long for nothin' either. Enjoy!

2 people found this helpful

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A Wonderful Accomplishment

As a native Texan, I know all about the Alamo and Sam Houston and cotton and oil and Southwest Airlines the Bushes. This book goes so much farther to tell the story from so many different perspectives. The level of scholarship and the accessibility of the narrative are breathtaking. It reminds n m e of Bob Stiles’ biography of the Beatles. Just when you think you’ve heard it all, it redefines and reshapes the conversation.

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Like oceans and the highest mountains...

This 28-hour compelling history of Texas is so well formulated, so craftily organized, so beautifully written, and so expertly performed that finishing it is like parting with an old friend. Since I was transplanted in Texas from Ohio as an adult, I never knew the depth and breadth of this state’s story. Now, hearing such a big, wonderful recounting as a senior citizen, I am bowled over. Having George Guidall read to me is icing on the cake.

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It was indeed "Wonderful."

Great listen. Anyone who lives in the Lone Star State should find it fascinating. George's narration is great as always.

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Guidall is in top form with very good material

The book is full of interesting information and it is written well and is engaging listening. Guildall could read a telephone book and make that interesting..so given this good a book to read it is all very pleasant. You just sort of have to let some of the Austin liberal loony jibes pass you by and it is time well spent

3 people found this helpful