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As Texas Goes...: How the Lone Star State Hijacked the American Agenda [Kindle Edition]

Gail Collins
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)

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Book Description

“Gail Collins is the funniest serious political commentator in America. Reading As Texas Goes… is pure pleasure from page one.” —Rachel Maddow

As 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


“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

About the Author

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

Product Details

  • File Size: 568 KB
  • Print Length: 277 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0871404079
  • Publisher: Liveright; 1 edition (March 4, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007NQVU8K
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #337,819 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
102 of 132 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
"We feel Texas' influence in our lives every day..." Gail Collins

Four and a half OVERALL Stars! (On my second pass through, this excellent book gains one star!) Texas has "way more influence than one-fiftieth of the union deserves" asserts author Gail Collins. She began to pay more attention to the large influence of the Lone Star State in 2009 when the star-crossed presidential hopeful Governor Rick Perry became a political lightning rod throwing around the word "secession" at times. Looking deeper into the matter she now sees Texas as a more highly-influential state than she originally suspected across a number of political and social fronts, but not without its own unique and sometimes self-inflicted problems which she documents in this sometimes humorous, fact-laden book. She is amazed at how we make things 'bigger' in Texas, starting with the state capitol building, and how politicians from Texas are in the front rank of influence on the national legislative and presidential matters, reminding us that a (non-native born) Texan has been President or Vice President 20 of the last 32 years in the person of Bush 41 and 43. She keys in on two cities to explain the "empty place" ethos: Houston, a city that "goes on forever", with no zoning, as a prime example of 'crowded places with empty spaces in between' (and beyond the city limits), where an 'empty spaces' less-government attitude prevails. And Midland, a struggling city on the upswing, that has had its ups and downs riding the prevailing trends for survival. She also sprinkles in words like "passle" and "bidness" (I know no one who talks like that in my 'deep in the heart of Texas' city except TV car dealers).
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An Outsider's Look At Texas April 6, 2013
"As Texas Goes" is a full-throated critique of Texas state policy and the ills it exports to the rest of America. Collins devotes the book to arguing that no matter how good Texas may look to outsiders (e.g. low unemployment, low cost of living, no income tax), it is a actually a blot on the union that parasitically steals other states' companies and college graduates, while foisting upon the country pollution, censored textbooks, and loony Republican politicians.

Collins' argument is easy to follow, if not always convincing. Collins blames Texas for, among other things, the Savings & Loan Crisis, No Child Left Behind, and presidents who "have led the country into every land war . . . since Vietnam." Often, she seems to work backwards; first announcing a conclusion, then presenting one-sided evidence with sarcasm and stale rhetoric. Other times, she abandons even the pretense of serious analysis. For example on page 151, when discussing Texas's pro-business policy, she states, "Perhaps Texas has the recipe for growing the national economy. Great! On the other hand, maybe job growth is mainly due to accidents of the state's location, and the competition is just a way to blackmail other states into bankrupting themselves for no good reason whatsoever expect corporate greed. Of course, the truth could lie somewhere in the middle . . . but for the moment, I'm going with the blackmail-and-bankrupt scenario." This is not how a serious author would write on a complex subject.

This is a short book, but Collins packs in a lot of material and a lot of unoriginal, generalized observations.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Cheap shot May 14, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Full disclosure: I'm a Northern liberal and I despise what I know of Texas. That said, this book isn't the place to go for a careful analysis of Texas and/or its (putative) impact on the nation. Certainly the Board of Education impact on textbooks is accurate, I'll give her that. But apart from that, this is just a series of cheap shots written in a hokey-jokey style that I found extremely irritating. Texas may be an extreme example of libertarian excess, but that tendency has been broadly characteristic of much of the US since the late 18th century. I just found this book to be embarrassingly shallow ("embarrassingly" because I'd like to have seen a good analysis of what's wrong with Texas). At the end I had a visceral sensation of having eaten too much cheap candy.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars As Texas Goes, So Goes the Nation? December 25, 2012
***I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an impartial review..

As Texas Goes: How the Lone Star State Hijacked the American Agenda has a definite liberal tint, just look at who offers endorsements on the back cover. I can understand the thoughts of some reviewers who call it a Texas hating book written by a liberal. There's not terribly much that Texans would love in this book (although Gail Collins does mention the hospitality and friendliness of Texans.) Then again, I don't think there's much to love about pathetic education, health care, and employment stats presented in this book.

Collins acknowledges that even the framers of much of the controversial legislation laid out in the book probably didn't intend them to be the model of national legislation like banking regulation or No Child Left Behind, but still the reader gets the overwhelming feeling that Texas has done little right since Lyndon Johnson was president. I think Collins makes a perceptive point about bad things happening when a small group of people get to make decisions for everyone. But this book smacks of liberal overtones and the running commentary throughout the book gets old after awhile
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars An amusing book, if you want to be amused
I guess if you write for the NYT you can be permitted confusing the casual anecdote with a serious analysis. Read more
Published 28 days ago by RJS
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Published 3 months ago by Steven Starwalt
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Collins nails it!
Published 4 months ago by Sean Estes
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing if you are expecting satirical and funny anecdotes..
First of all, the book is listed at 277 pages when actually it is only 197 pages. The other 80 pages are the bibliography, index, excerpts from book reviews, part of an interview... Read more
Published 6 months ago by George K.
4.0 out of 5 stars Gail Collins voice is fantastic
The topic is frightening, her research is extensive but it goes down with such a snappy voice that the material is absorbed without wanting to flee the country or skip the next... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Beadrin Urista
4.0 out of 5 stars A few good points - very fun/easy read
I'd recommend this book to anyone interested in Texas politics. Even if you don't agree with the author it is hard to deny that the book is interesting and a fun read. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Mario
1.0 out of 5 stars Gail Collins seems to have a grudge going here.
Research my aunt fanny. Bigoted view by a NY blogger of a state too complex to be summarized by her small mind. Don't bother.
Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Gail Collins - she informs you and makes you laugh
A great fan of Gail Collins in the NY Times and this book. I passed it around to my friends and they all loved it.
Published 9 months ago by Donald Barton
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but one sided
I think all Texans should read this book. It focuses on education, but also talks about finance in Texas. It is written by a reporter and you can tell she is liberal leaning. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Randi S
4.0 out of 5 stars Good bookk
I enjoyed this book, so true and troubling about the state of Texas. I will read this book again soon.
Published 10 months ago by Martriarch73
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More About the Author

Gail Collins was the Editorial Page Editor for the New York Times from 2001-2007--the first woman to have held that position. She currently writes a column for the Times' Op-Ed page twice weekly.


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