As Texas Goes...: How the Lone Star State Hijacked the American Agenda
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As Texas Goes...: How the Lone Star State Hijacked the American Agenda

4.4 9
by Gail Collins
     
 

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“Gail Collins is the funniest serious political commentator in America. Reading As Texas Goes… is pure pleasure from page one.” —Rachel MaddowAs Texas Goes . . . provides a trenchant yet often hilarious look into American politics and the disproportional influence of Texas, which has become the model for not just the Tea Party but also the

Overview

“Gail Collins is the funniest serious political commentator in America. Reading As Texas Goes… is pure pleasure from page one.” —Rachel MaddowAs Texas Goes . . . provides a trenchant yet often hilarious look into American politics and the disproportional influence of Texas, which has become the model for not just the Tea Party but also the Republican Party. Now with an expanded introduction and a new concluding chapter that will assess the influence of the Texas way of thinking on the 2012 election, Collins shows how the presidential race devolved into a clash between the so-called “empty places” and the crowded places that became a central theme in her book. The expanded edition will also feature more examples of the Texas style, such as Governor Rick Perry’s nearsighted refusal to accept federal Medicaid funding as well as the proposed ban on teaching “critical thinking” in the classroom. As Texas Goes . . . will prove to be even more relevant to American politics by the dawn of a new political era in January 2013.

Editorial Reviews

Lloyd Grove - New York Times Book Review
“[Collins] set off on a whirlwind tour to discover the Lone Star State and its transcendent meaning, deploying a breezy, wisecracking polemical style familiar to fans (including me) of her twice-­weekly column in The Times.”
Steve Almond - Boston Globe
“New York Times columnist Gail Collins makes a compelling case in As Texas Goes… that much of what ails the nation began down in the Lone Star State.”
New York Times
“The reader who senses a touch of sarcasm would not be wrong…. [Collins] has a good eye for absurd details.”— Erica Grieder
New York Times Book Review
“Collins devotes the very entertaining first quarter of her book to the foundational myth of Texas’ brief, shining moment as an independent republic from 1836 to 1845 and the sacred memory of the Alamo. ...[Collins] set off on a whirlwind tour to discover the Lone Star State and its transcendent meaning, deploying a breezy, wisecracking polemical style familiar to fans (including me) of her twice-­weekly column in The Times...”— Lloyd Grove
Boston Globe
New York Times columnist Gail Collins makes a compelling case in As Texas Goes... that much of what ails the nation began down in the Lone Star State… her larger thesis has a chilling ring of truth. Texas represents a kind of dark bellwether for the rest of the country: a two-tiered society in which the affluent rig the system in their favor while a vast underclass struggles to pay for basic services such as medical care.”— Steve Almond
Anthony Lewis
“There is no one like Gail Collins: uproarious fun on every page, but with a serious point. In this wonderful book she devastates Texas for its hypocrisy, its ignorance, its worship of wealth. But you cannot keep laughing as she shows how the Texan mind works a baleful influence on the rest of the country.”
Erica Grieder - New York Times
“The reader who senses a touch of sarcasm would not be wrong…[Collins] has a good eye for absurd details.”
Booklist
“With wit and humor, Collins focuses on major Texas figures, from Davy Crockett to Rick Perry, to offer a portrait of an outsize state anxious to take on the task of setting the rest of the country straight and of the broader implications that has for the rest of the country.”
New York Times Book Review - Lloyd Grove
“[Collins] set off on a whirlwind tour to discover the Lone Star State and its transcendent meaning, deploying a breezy, wisecracking polemical style familiar to fans (including me) of her twice-­weekly column in The Times.”
New York Times - Erica Grieder
“The reader who senses a touch of sarcasm would not be wrong…[Collins] has a good eye for absurd details.”
Boston Globe - Steve Almond
“New York Times columnist Gail Collins makes a compelling case in As Texas Goes… that much of what ails the nation began down in the Lone Star State.”
Publishers Weekly
The outsized influence of the union’s largest state is decried in this by turns amused and appalled study of Texas’s government and its discontents. New York Times columnist Collins (When Everything Changed) revels in the state’s 10-gallon self-regard, Alamo-inspired cult of suicidal last stands, and eccentric right-wing pols. But the upshot of all that, she argues, is a disastrous model of public policy that inspired the Republican Party’s national platform: a rickety economic boom based on insecure, poverty-level jobs and massive state incentives to corporations; financial deregulation that led to banking meltdowns; a raft of ill-advised education nostrums, from the prototype of the No Child Left Behind Act to abstinence-only sex-ed programs and textbook guidelines that frown on evolution; skimpy public services, high rates of poverty and inequality, and low rates of health coverage and graduation. Collins’s book is really an indictment of what she calls America’s “empty-places” creed—the rural conservative populism that favors small government, low taxes, and lax regulation—through a takedown of its colorful epicenter. Much like the late Texas dissident Molly Ivins, she slathers plenty of wry humor onto a critique that stings like a red-hot brand. Agent: Alice Martell. (June)
Rachel Maddow
“Gail Collins is the funniest serious political commentator in America. Reading As Texas Goes… is pure pleasure from page one.”
Frank Rich
“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 49 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.”
Deborah Yetter - Louisville Courier-Journal
“Collins lays out a convincing case that many of the nation’s more misguided—sometimes outright wacky—policies originated in Texas, ranging from public education to environmental regulation to teaching kids about sex… Worth a read.”
Louisville Courier-Journal
Collins lays out a convincing case that many of the nation’s more misguided—sometimes outright wacky—policies originated in Texas, ranging from public education to environmental regulation to teaching kids about sex… Worth a read.— Deborah Yetter
Louisville Courier-Journal - Deborah Yetter
“Collins lays out a convincing case that many of the nation’s more misguided—sometimes outright wacky—policies originated in Texas, ranging from public education to environmental regulation to teaching kids about sex… Worth a read.”
From the Publisher
“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?
 
“There is no one like Gail Collins: uproarious fun on every page, but with a serious point. In this wonderful book she devastates Texas for its hypocrisy, its ignorance, its worship of wealth. But you cannot keep laughing as she shows how the Texan mind works a baleful influence on the rest of the country.”—Anthony Lewis
Dan Rather
“This book is especially relevant during this campaign.”
Library Journal
So you think the nation's political divide is between the coasts and the heartland? The Christian Far Right and the rest of us? The one percent and the 99 percent? Nope. Collins (columnist, New York Times; When Everything Changed) takes us to the source: Texas. With her characteristic wry amusement, Collins observes a state where politicians hew to an "ideology of empty places," even as 80 percent of the country lives in/near its major cities. As Collins puts it, Texas says, "You leave me alone and I'll leave you alone." Trouble is, she goes on to note, Texas is not actually leaving us alone. From financial deregulation to strong-arming national textbook publishers to follow Texas mores on sex education, guns, and God, to the swagger of Texan U.S. presidents who have dragged more than Texas into war, to meager insurance coverage of its people, and massive job numbers at or below the minimum wage, to pro-oil and antiglobal warming initiatives, Texas has preached states' rights, while its national players, from Tom Delay to Phil Gramm, George W. Bush, and Rick Perry, promote their agendas nationally. Collins maps the invasion of Texas credos into our lives and into the U.S. financial, medical, educational, political, military, and legal infrastructure. The prognosis for Texas's future influence is less clear; the state will be majority Latino soon. Will that bring change? VERDICT A fascinating book, written with great wit and a power to disturb. Essential reading before November. [See Prepub Alert, 12/5/11.]—Margaret Heilbrun, Library Journal
Kirkus Reviews
New York Times political columnist Collins (When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present, 2009, etc.) zeroes in on what makes Texas so important and why the rest of the country needs to know and care about what's happening there. Texans, writes the author, think they live in a wide-open empty space where carrying a concealed weapon is acceptable because people have to take care of themselves, and the government has no business telling them what to do. In her inimitable style, the unabashed liberal examines the shenanigans of Texans from four angles: first, a hilarious look at some of Texas' past heroes and present politicos and at how the empty-space ethos has shaped the state's policies; second, a close-up examination of several areas wheres she says the state has gone wildly, sadly wrong (its deregulation of financial markets, attempts at reforming schools and funding, or defunding, education, and major missteps on sex education, energy, the environment, pollution and global climate change); third, a scathing report on the two-tiered, low-tax, low-service economy of the state; and finally, Collins' take on where Texas, soon to be a Hispanic-majority state, is heading. The author loads her report with funny but dismaying anecdotes and dozens of revealing interviews. She does not neglect the hard facts. An appendix includes "Texas on the Brink," a report compiled by the Legislative Study Group of the Texas House of Representatives. It gives an especially grim picture of the failings of our second-largest state. Among the states, it is first in executions and in the amount of carbon dioxide emissions but 45th in SAT scores and 49th in the percentage of low-income people covered by Medicaid. In Collins' view, the rest of us feel the influence of Texas in our lives every day, and "if Texas goes south, it's taking us along." A timely portrait of Texas delivered with Collins' unique brand of insightful humor.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780871403605
Publisher:
Liveright Publishing Corporation
Publication date:
03/04/2013
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
425,966
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.80(d)

What People are saying about this

Dan Rather
This book is especially relevant during this campaign.
Rachel Maddow
Gail Collins is the funniest serious political commentator in America. Reading AsTexas Goes...is pure pleasure from page one.
Frank Rich
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 49 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.
Anthony Lewis
There is no one like Gail Collins: uproarious fun on every page, but with a serious point. In this wonderful book she devastates Texas for its hypocrisy, its ignorance, its worship of wealth. But you cannot keep laughing as she shows how the Texan mind works a baleful influence on the rest of the country.

Meet the Author

Gail Collins, the best-selling author of When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960
to the Present, is a national columnist for the New York Times. She lives in New
York City.

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As Texas Goes...: How the Lone Star State Hijacked the American Agenda 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
BurdyBlue More than 1 year ago
Couldn't put it down. Interesting to see how outsiders perceive Texas and how the state ranks in health, education, and welfare. It is an excellent resource to read for those interested in relocating, working, visiting, or doing business in Texas. A defining book. Fascinating and lively. Captures the State's culture.
ilovebooks24764 More than 1 year ago
I've spent the last 5 years exiled in Texas and can hardly wait until I can come back to the U. S. Most democrats in this part of Texas are in the "closet" and are not free to express a point of view that would give us away. We few democrats are hated, but since Obama is hated here, I am in good company. I enjoyed this book and felt that someone had reached out to me and said, it's ok, you are not alone. Gail Collins is correct in her observations and her analysis of what is going on down here. The truth does not need to be exaggerated, these people are REAL.
caroleg More than 1 year ago
Gail's easy way of writing makes even some of her dry statistics interesting. I was very surprised at the low standards of education in this wealthy state. Lack of a workers compensation law-only state in the US not to have one-is difficult to imagine. I learned a great deal about Texas and Gail's research is commendable.
volta09 More than 1 year ago
An excellent commentary on Texas politics, and insight into the conservative thinking that goes on here. Amusing at times, but also troubling when you look at where Texas is in terms of education, health, and the environment. The author has done her homework and has the data to back her up. As a life-long Texan, I can tell you that she has it exactly right!  But it's not just about Texas, it's how the politics here may have outreach into other places. A good wake up call! 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Houston may be considered "cool" by the "in" people but Texas is anything but. I never realized how much of a backward state it is. Good read by Gail Collins
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have been enjoying this book in fits and starts, since B&N's "Read in Store" app is very persnickity about how long you must wait between "RIS" sessions. Education is not particularly valued in Texas, except as a means of having a football team, as football is a de-facto religion for all practical purposes in Texas. (Yes, I did live in Texas for a while.)
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