If you read this blog often, you will recall that last year I had a bit of a fling with large-sized books. (Big Booty Bios! Big Booty Bios!) I’m happy to report that my infatuation has continued into the new year. The other day I was working on the stacks of books in my office when I came across this gigantic blue book. Always intrigued by larger than average tomes, I flipped through and determined it was about Texas. Now, I’ve never been the biggest fan of the state, but the size of the book had my attention. Also, a year or so ago I read a great book about Oklahoma City called Boom Town by Sam Anderson. I was hoping this new find would be as good.
It was. (And it wasn’t.)
Being from Indiana, I only knew a little bit about Texas history, but this book was some much more detailed. It had maps of big events and photographs of the people discussed. Author Stephen Harrigan was also very clear about what Texas myths were real (almost none) and which ones had taken on a life of their own. For instance, according to Harrigan, the Alamo happened at dawn, not in the middle of the afternoon. Also, I was amazed at the number of people that were killed in this book. Texas was a rough place and there were several stories of settlers (including women and children) that were kidnapped by Indians. Some eventually resurfaced, but some were never heard from again. All of this was incredibly and strikingly interesting.
Here’s where I get fussy (and no one else would probably even notice). I am a self-avowed weather nerd. Harrigan’s book did cover the great Galveston Hurricane of 1900. I got a few pages about it. However, there were no mentions of tornadoes anywhere in the 800+ pages. What? I would have thought they would have at least been mentioned. Outside of the hurricane, weather was pretty much a non-issue all together.
And that made me sad (but again, no one else cared).
As a non-Texan, I found this book fascinating and a little mind-blowing. It was long, but somehow managed to keep me engaged. If you don’t have enough Texas in your life, this book could fix that.
Happy ridin’ the range…
Big Wonderful Thing
Don't mess with [big books from] Texas!