Lone Star Pasts: Memory and History in Texas

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The past has long fingers into the present, but they are not just the fingers of fact. How we remember the past is at least as important as the objective facts of that past. The memories used by a people to define itself have to be understood not just as (sometimes) bad history but also as historical artifacts themselves. Texas’ pasts are examined in this groundbreaking volume, featuring chapters by a wide range of scholars.

Current historians’ views of Texas in the nineteenth century and especially the significance of the Alamo as a site of memory in architecture, art, and film across the years comprise a major element of this volume. Other nineteenth-century historical events are also examined through their memorializations in the twentieth century: the construction of Civil War monuments by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, public and private Juneteenth celebrations, and the Tejano memorial on the Capitol grounds commemorating the history of Mexicans in Texas. Twentieth-century chapters include collective memories and meaning attached to the Ku Klux Klan, the significance of the civil rights movement in the eyes of different generations of Texans, and the lasting (or fading) Texan memories of Lyndon Baines Johnson.

The volume editors offer these studies as a model of how Texas historians can begin to incorporate memory into their work, as historians of other regions have done. In the process, they offer a more nuanced and even a more applied version of Texas history than many of us learned in school.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“...an important revisionist piece of Texas history that deserves wide readership. No other book does exactly what it does, and while myth has been talked about with regard to Texas history, such a sophisticated ‘meditation’ on the complicated relationship between collective (or folk) memory and scholarly, archives-based history exists no where else in print.”--John Boles, Journal of Southern History
True West
For Texas worshippers and historical researchers, this one is for you.
. . . if you enjoy questioning the past and exploring your own assumptions about how history is made, this book is a must read. Lone Star Pasts negotiates the land mines of Texas history, all while trying to remind the public that revisionist history is not just about myth busting.
Austin American-Statesman

. . . it does demonstrate that we built our history and that it is still under construction. It needs to be read by anyone who feels compelled to wade in the next time there's a fight about the propriety of maintaining an old monument to a Confederate soldier or whether modern-day Texas should apologize for slavery, an institution that no living person has anything but a collective, constructed memory of.

John Boles
“...an important revisionist piece of Texas history that deserves wide readership. No other book does exactly what it does, and while myth has been talked about with regard to Texas history, such a sophisticated ‘meditation’ on the complicated relationship between collective (or folk) memory and scholarly, archives-based history exists no where else in print.”—John Boles, Journal of Southern History
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Product Details

Meet the Author

GREGG CANTRELL is the Erma and Ralph Lowe Professor of History at Texas Christian University and the author of Stephen F. Austin: Empresario of Texas.
ELIZABETH HAYES TURNER, an associate professor at the University of North Texas, is the author of Women, Culture, and Community: Religion and Reform in Galveston, 1880–1920.
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