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Gone to Texas: A History of the Lone Star State Paperback – February 12, 2004

4.1 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Anyone who believes that the history of Texas is written only in tub-thumping braggadocio will quickly be set straight by this superb history of the Lone Star State. A leading historian of Texas (Sam Houston and the American Southwest, etc.), Campbell writes with authority and clarity about one of the nation's most distinctive components. His thoroughly contemporary approach sets early Texas history firmly within the checkered development of Mexico and keeps African-Americans, both slave and free, as well as native tribes at the center of his story. His coverage of such matters as the Texas Revolution, the state's 10 years as an independent republic and the cattle business are models of their kind, and surely no one has written so well while so briefly about how Texas became Southern. Because much of the book is spent on the state's lively political history, however, there may not be enough about Texas society (and certainly not about the state's complex, mixed culture) to satisfy some readers. What's best about the book and what will make it attractive beyond Texas borders is Campbell's healthy skepticism about claims that Texas is unique among the states. He's also critical where criticism is clearly warranted, such as when arraigning "the general lack of concern for civil rights that characterized the state's politics after the 1870s." Campbell shows an unusual ability to judge people in 21st-century terms without losing sight of the long-ago context of their acts. A dividend for readers is the book's unusually good maps and diagrams.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review


"What we finally have in Gone to Texas, then, is a history for a diverse, mature, and self-confident people willing to take a balanced look at their own past. It's a quantum leap forward from T.R. Fehrenbach's classic Lone Star, first published in 1968 . . . "--Texas Books in Review


"The best, most comprehensive account of the Lone Star saga I know of, the place to start if you prefer Texas history to Texas mythology."--Fritz Lanham, Houston Chronicle


"The new standard history of America's most unusual state. It is a balanced account, beautifully written, with verve and wit."--William H. Goetzmann, Jack S. Blanton, Sr. Chair of History and American Studies, University of Texas at Austin


"One of the very best crafted, thoroughly researched, and masterfully presented histories in one volume ever written about this state. It establishes standards of scholarship and literary merit that will endure for years to come.... Nothing short of an historical tour de force."--Light T. Cummins, Guy M. Bryan, Jr. Professor of History, Austin College


"Authoritative, gracefully written, and fully conversant with the newest scholarship, this book will henceforth be the standard history of Texas for both academic and general readers--a significant historical and cultural achievement."--John B. Boles, William P. Hobby Professor of History, Rice University


"Eminent scholar Randolph Campbell presents a full length portrait, unsparing of blemishes and scars, that stands alone in its thoroughgoing portrayal of the Lone Star State's luminous past. Campbell's colorful pageant of the winners, sinners, heroes and highbinders who roamed the legendary landscape of that 'other country'--Texas--is a dandy, best of breed. Gone to Texas will inform and excite Texans, while inviting others to go to Texas in the pages of this book."--Kent Biffle, Texana columnist, The Dallas Morning News


"Anyone who believes that the history of Texas is written only in tub-thumping braggadocio will quickly be set straight by this superb history of the Lone Star state. A leading historian of Texas, Campbell writes with authority and clarity about one of the nation's most distinctive components. His thoroughly contemporary approach sets early Texas history firmly within the checkered development of Mexico and keeps African-Americans, both slave and free, as well as native tribes at the center of his story. Hisgth coverage of such matters as the Texas Revolution, theds state's 10 years as an independent republic and the cattle business are models of their kind, and surely no one hase written so well while so briefly about how Texas became Southern.... What is best about the book and will make it attractive beyond Texas borders is Campbell's healthynd skepticism about claims that Texas is unique among the states."--Publishers Weekly


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (February 12, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195138430
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195138436
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 1.3 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #218,932 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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It really depends on what you like, but I think this is the best of the lot. Better than Fehrenbach. Better than Haley. A word of warning about all Texas histories: They tend to subordinate everything to politics. This one does a better job than the others concerning Texas' rich cultural history, but the major emphases are still what you'd expect. Spanish settlement. Texas Revolution. Civil War. Development of the Oil Empire and its relation to state politics. I really hope someday we get a good comprehensive cultural history of the state, but until then this one will have to do. And it does quite well.

This book is very well written and researched, with a nice balance of biography, demographics and narrative. I'd say it's probably a bit more scholarly than popular, but the writing is still easily accessible. Buy this one if you're serious about Texas history.
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Format: Hardcover
In Randolph B. Campbell's Gone To Texas he discusses every aspect of Texas's society, political nature, economy, etc. He starts out during the first arrival of humans in the area and ends with George W. Bush as governor of the state. The reading is quick and easy, passing from one topic to the next with ease. It does not feel like you are reading a textbook. It feels as if you are reading an intriguing tale about the people and events that affected the growth of Texas into what it is today.

It is impressive in its scope and depth. Only reading through it once, I have learned a vast amount about Texas's fight for independence from Mexico, the role Texans had in the numerous United States wars, the political atmosphere of Texas (being mainly a one party state) after the Civil War, and the many political and non-political figures that shaped the personality of the state. Anything you need to know about Texas is in this book and I would highly recommend it to Texas enthusiasts and history buffs. Everyone enjoy!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Concise and well written. It could have had more maps, but almost all histories have this fault. Campbell is a better writer than many other historians, but in places he does reflect a modern prejudice or failure to understand the thinking of the times about which he writes.

Writing of slavery, he says, "Planters did not have their capital 'tied up,' as some like to say, in slaves. Slave property could be liquidated easily. But planters had no economic or financial reason to do so." Well, some "like to say" this because it is relevant to a different question: not the question of what individual planters could do, but what they could do as a class if the slavery system were suddenly ended. In that event, planters would not at all have been able to easily liquidate slave property, and they knew that. Thus ending slavery peacefully would have had to overcome this financial problem, though not necessarily to everybody's perfect satisfaction. Solutions were possible, but the slave-holding class claimed that the system could continue unchanged indefinitely. Ultimately, because of polarization and failure to compromise, slavery was ended in the worst manner possible, through civil war.

I sometimes wonder whether history writers of our time are sufficiently knowledgable of religious formation in their historical period. Campbell writes, of a certain freedman, that he was "well versed in the survival skills learned in bondage" and "had served as the supervisor of registrars in his district, traveling at night for safety and acting, he wrote, 'as wise as a serpent and as harmless as a dove.'" But this particular freedman likely knew, not just "survival skills learned in bondage," but also the Gospels.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I must admit I checked this book out from the Library three times prior to purchasing it. This is one of those books that you can pick up and read anytime any where and choose the topic you want to research. The author has done a superb job of making the information interesting and full of facts AT THE SAME TIME! Imagine that....readable and informative. I really enjoy having this book in my library and telling people all the new things I have learned about History. I have not yet finished the book, I am really savoring every morsel.
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Format: Hardcover
This was the textbook for my Texas history class in college, and it was one of the few texts I kept for my own use. For history buffs and especially for those interested in Texas' unique history, this is a great book to have on your shelf.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Texas has as colorful a history as any state in the Union. As Randolph Campbell asserts in this look back at the state's past, Texas has been attracting immigrants for centuries and continues to do so today. Campbell notes that while people in the Southeast in the 1830s and 1840s may have literally inscribed "Gone to Texas" or "GTT" on homesteads that they were about to abandon, many, many millions more have done so figuratively. Since 1983 I have been glad that my father was in the latter group--my family left Michigan and 30 years ago today I set foot in the Lone Star State for the first time ever as a new resident.

"Gone to Texas" starts in prehistoric times and chronicles the social, military, political, and economic history of Texas through the early years of the twenty-first century. For the first few centuries after Europeans first explored the area, Texas was Spanish, and Campbell's description of that period is great. Other countries and peoples began to covet the area, and the book describes the Anglo settlement after Texas became Mexican--the author ably examines the Texas Revolution and some of the myths surrounding it. The book's look at Texas during the years that it was independent and during the Civil War is also especially good.

Texas began to grow especially rapidly after the Civil War, quickly becoming one of the most important states in the Union.
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