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Houston: The Unknown City, 1836-1946 Hardcover – November 1, 1991


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Hardcover, November 1, 1991
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Texas A&M University Press; 1 edition (November 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0890964769
  • ISBN-13: 978-0890964767
  • Product Dimensions: 10.4 x 7.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #394,217 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"If a city could write its autobiography, this is the one that Houston would proudly produce.."--Houston Post
(10/10/1992 Houston Post)

"Houston: The Unknown City, though it provides a general history, is as much a history of families who shaped Houston: the Andersons, Bakers, Browns, Claytons, Cullinans, Cullens, Hughes, Hobbys, and Hoggs. . . . [Johnston] did a good job showing how people can affect their chosen city."--Austin American-Statesman
(Austin American-Statesman (Mike Cox's Texana) 1992-04-05)

" . . . does include chapters and references to black Houstonians, relating their accomplishments despite the discrimination they endured in a highly segregated society. . . . It is Johnston's ability to sustain a historical narrative which prevents the social notes and details from sounding like gossip-column copy." --Review of Texas Books
(Review of Texas Books)

" . . . Johnston's book is a rich and colorful mosaic of mini-biographies of those who gave to the city, whose names are identified with many of its greatest institutions. . . . But there are other reasons for relishing Johnston's book: not only the personal details on these folks, but also the wealth of detail on popular culture, trivia in the happiest sense of the word."--Texas Books in Review
(Texas Books in Review)

" . . . a popular history of the city up through the end of World War II. . . . The visual impact of the volume augments her approach, for the book contains seventy-one short, journalistic chapters, printed in double columns and amply documented with numerous photographs. The freshness of light reporting makes the book easy reading."--Southern Historian
(Southern Historian)

" . . . a genuine pleasure to read and is a welcome addition to the literature on the Bayou City."--Houston Review
(Houston Review)

" [The result  is] Marguerite Johnston's rich chronicling of the early days of Houston and the people who imbued it with a unique heritage and flavor. . . . "--Houston Chronicle
(Texas Magazine (Houston Chronicle Sunday magazine)) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

MARGUERITE JOHNSTON, a native of Birmingham, Alabama, and graduate of Birmingham-Southern College, was Washington bureau chief for the Birmingham News and London Daily Mirror in 1945-46. In 1948 she covered the U.N. Conference on Freedom of Information and the Press in Geneva for Editor and Publisher and the Houston Post, for which she wrote a daily column from 1947 to 1968. Now a resident of Houston, she is also the author of a previous book, A Happy Worldly Abode, the history of Houston's oldest church.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Shannon Deason on November 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Uh, these reviews are really hard on this book, I mean get real, of course this book focuses on the powerful in Houston at the time and their impact on the city, it's a history of Houston's rise, people, not The Grapes of Wrath. I for one enjoyed this book, I found the history very interesting and got a real feel for why Houston has emerged at the dawn of the 21st Century as an economic jugernaut, this has always been a city of entrepenuers and alpha males...and alpha females for that matter, and that spirit enfuses the city to this day. I mean who would have thought a city founded on the edge of a mosquito infested big ditch, miles inland from the Gulf, would become one of the great world ports and the energy capitol of the world? Read this book and you get your answer.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I haven't read the book yet - bought it used - came in excellent condition and was signed by the author with a personal note to a family who obviously meant a lot to Houston. That was a great bonus!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is such a great book for someone who is from Houston. Each chapter reads separately. Fascinating to read about the people behind the names and how this big, sprawling city came to be.
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By C. Mcdonald on October 2, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Love it
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful By L. Carnes on March 27, 2000
Format: Hardcover
In an academic style, Margurite Johnson leads us through a description of Houston as a small Gulf Coast community to a thriving Port City backed by the oil investment. She does a great deal to enrich the readers knowledge of Texas metropolitan outlook on it's relationship to it's environment. It serves as a good primer for further research.
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9 of 16 people found the following review helpful By David Raphael Smith on January 27, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This was one of the worst histories I have ever read. I finally had to put it down after finishing about 250 of its 400 pages, because I thought I might go insane if I continued.
The book consists largely of recitation of facts, repetition of thousands of names of old Houston families, and constant musings about how wonderful Houston was in those old, carefree days. (The author even writes that in those simpler, happy times no one complained about Houston summers.)
She has researched her subject thoroughly, talking with hundreds of people who can recall the city in the early 20th century; but there's hardly any context or analysis for this blob of material. It's just thrown out there in this haze of "the wonderful old days."
Yes, one can parse through all the verbiage about how much fun it was to go the park, sail in the bay, etc. etc., and pick up some useful morsels about the facts behind Houston's growth and development.
But they are few and far between.
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