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4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  8,993 ratings  ·  208 reviews
In this magnificent historical novel, James A. Michener masterfully combines fact and fiction to present America’s richest, most expansive and diversified state. Spanning four and a half centuries, this monumental saga charts the epic history of Texas, from its Spanish roots in the age of the conquistadors, to its modern-day American character, shaped by oil and industry....more
Paperback, 1120 pages
Published November 12th 2002 by Dial Press Trade Paperback (first published 1985)
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Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur GoldenGone with the Wind by Margaret MitchellThe Pillars of the Earth by Ken FollettThe Book Thief by Markus ZusakThe Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
Best Historical Fiction
360th out of 3,914 books — 17,085 voters
The Book Thief by Markus ZusakGone with the Wind by Margaret MitchellA Tale of Two Cities by Charles DickensThe Pillars of the Earth by Ken FollettThe Help by Kathryn Stockett
Recommended Historical Fiction
150th out of 1,584 books — 1,611 voters

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Kind of hard to get through. Very dense stuff. There are some jewels in here, and the way he choose to structure the book is very interesting: the story within the story.

Well, after about 2 years I have finally managed to complete this one.

The first third was very hard to get through (remember that the entire book was over 1300 pages). The middle part was really pretty good and enjoyable. The last third was just OK. I read the final two thirds in 4 months. However, I only read it here and there...more
As a lover of historical fiction, I knew I would love this book. And, I was not disappointed. I loved how Michener set up this story--a task force has been selected to research the curriculum that will be taught to schoolchildren regarding Texas history, and the history is told through the stories of their families (not the heroes--despite them being mentioned as well).
Michener's research in the affairs of Texas is astounding, and his writing was brilliant throughout. The earlier characters are...more
This is my favorite book by Mitchner. I read it right before we took our family to Texas to San Antonio to see the Bomans, to Austin to see Debby and Len, and to Houston to visit Doug and Diana. It affected me emotionally. Especially the accounts of the first settlers along the Red River, and how they survived on pecans the first winter after crop failure.
When I actually visited the Alamo and San Jacinto I got choked up and every time I saw one of those huge Lone Star flags, or saw the blue bel...more
I first picked up Michener's Texas because I am a fan of Edward Rutherfurd. Both authors tell the story of a specified place through the interlocking stories of certain families through the ages, a method which I usually enjoy. This novel then, is meant to be a fictional narrative of Texan history. Michener examines important events like the battle at the Alamo and the Civil War and factors like religion, the immigration of various different ethnic groups, oil and American football and examines...more
I finally finished it. Not quite history, not quite fiction, this book was... well, historical fiction. And it really taught me why I don't like historical fiction. Many of the made-up historical "facts" are pointless, the characters are one-dimensional, and everything about Texas has to make it into the plot, no matter how unrelated. Armadillos... football... hunting... Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders... chicken-fried steak.

That said, there were reasons I kept reading this 1096-page behemoth. Sinc...more
4 stars because Mirabeau Lamar got a serious spit shine (gleaming glory-style); education in Texas (actually it's an impressive attribute of the state's citizenry) gets short shrift; and because the rich history of achievements and contributions by Texas blacks and women goes unrecognized. Overall, a most enjoyable read for someone who typically shuns historical fiction because of the unnecessary license taken with fact and fancy.
Benjamin Thomas
I have read most of Michener's work, and I rate Texas among the big three, not only in size but in quality. (The other two are Centennial and Chesapeake). I particularly like the way Michener presents the entire history of Texas, and yet focuses on the key aspects of change that make this region so interesting. We see how cotton, cattle, oil, barbed wire, football, etc have changed the very culture of the people of Texas. Each long chapter is another window from which we can see the evolution of...more
You wouldn't think there would be such a thing as "too much information about Texas." This book was like being in a warm bath of Texas; it's comfortable and unchallenging and it can go on forever and eventually you have to get out or puke. I made it about 30% of the way through it, so this doesn't count as a point for me.

This book was based on a new used book store algorithm: find the book with the most copies on the shelf and that's going to be a good book. The flaw with the logic: if there're...more
I finished James Michener’s Texas fittingly on Texas Independence Day, March 2. I usually do not appreciate historical fiction, much preferring non-fiction historical tomes. Yet, Michener did an excellent job combining new with old to show how Texans thrive on courage, innovation, inspiration, and resourcefulness. He reveals a squarely researched taste of what makes Texas and Texans special. In his final days, Michener chose Texas as his home. He leaves us to ponder the truths.
I love James Michener, and I can say that I have loved him for years, although Texas is the first book I read by him. Upon doing this I realized that I only loved J.A.M for his money. Ah Me. The book was awful, and its mass was even awfuller. He could have done so much more with so much less. Oh well, I loved it because it made the man a lot of money, and that allowed me to eventually have a garden in Austin.
Fascinating discourse on the identity of a multi-cultural nation. Michener fearlessly discusses race, migration, politics, religion, language, gender, slavery, and sports, in the stories in this novel. He presents a challenging view of Texas- a place whose people are deeply invested in their land. As the families presented in this novel grow and change over time, they become more like the Texans we know today. Michener avoids cheap tactics and melodrama in his storytelling. Yet there are some br...more
Aditya /
First, I read the condensed version in "reader's Digest Condensed Books." This was an intentional decision: I have read another book by Michener before this, and I found that sometimes I got bogged down in very boring sections, so I thought the condensed version may have forced him to remove those sections. I have not read the original version, but in comparison to the other book I have read by him, this certainly had fewer and shorter "boring" sections.

As with the other book I read, I found Mic...more
Robb Houle
I don't know if you've ever been to Alberta, but I've carved enough soil there to fill the Saddledome in Calgary; well, not be but the guys movin dirt on our crews. You'll never see a land like burying pipe, we'll do as much as four kilomters a day. And we go places, though sections of farmland, the puplic can't go. So, I've seen to river crossings on the North Saskcatuan, Peace, Red Deer and Bow rivers the public never will, few people ever have; save the families that have farmed that land, so...more
Oh, this was such a long read. I have never read a Michener work before, but my dad just moved from California to Houston, TX, and I wanted to get some information about that great state.

Michener does a masterful job creating a storyline that crosses counties and generations in ways that gives a great context for the innumerable details packed into this 1,000 plus page novel. I was very captivated in learning about the various stages of Texas' history:

The Spanish explorers, the Spanish presidio...more
Keith Willcock

I came upon this book in a rather circuitous manner In 2012 I discovered the writings of James Lee Burke,whose stories are set in the Louisiana-Texas areas of the US. I became so enthralled by his descriptions of the land and the people there that I made a trip to the desert area around Big Bend National Park so that I could feel the spirits there for myself.

The country still has a distinct frontier flavor, one that in this fast changing world reflects an independent and perhaps self indulgent n...more
carl  theaker

This edition came out for the Texas sesquicentennial, which is
also when I read it. I don't know what the sales were for the
previous initial release in 1980, but it seemed like there were
a lot of copies of this Texas flag dust cover around.

Following the Michener formula, he starts with a rock and
a river, then builds a whole state around it, with dozens of
characters to carry the story.

The American Southwest had the most ornery Indians in the
land and it was tough luck for the Spanish and later t...more
Michener has done it again. The master epic storyteller neatly traces the rise of the Texan state from its earliest beginnings as an 'outpost' of the Spanish/Mexican empire, through to its slow takeover by the norteamericanos/anglos.
Along the way we read about the trials and tribulations of various families that uproot their families from various states in the North such as Mississippi, Oregon, North Carolina you name it. But most importantly there is a large influx of immigrants from overseas f...more
Feb 23, 2008 Jamie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Americans
Recommended to Jamie by: my brother
Shelves: fiction
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Michael Wheatley
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Just like a marathon, this book is long with some very good chapters and some which are a bit of a struggle to get completed. I selected this book to gain some historical perspective on the state which I now call home. I definitely go it... although I feel Michener did portray in an unnecessarily negative light at times. Hard to get excited when the characters have too many flaws.

As a historical fiction fan, I was a little dissappointed. I read Michener's Centennial and Tales of the South Pacifi...more
This is a great book with a great story, it doesn't ramble as much as some of his books and at the end the various story lines are tied together very well. At no point was the book exceptionally difficult to put down, but it was always easy to pick up and to read. The only problem with this is that it was very very long. A 1300 page book is fine if there is a great deal of information to present, or if it is a page turner that you can't put down. In this case, it was 1300 pages of enjoyable read...more
This was a loooong slog. Having lived three years in Houston during the mid 60's, and now having a son in San Antonio, I decided to give this 1,000+ page behemoth a whirl.
As tends to be typical of Michener, the early part of the book was hard to get into, but the middle 2/3's of the book was interesting beginning with the Alamo (which I remember learning a lot about in grade school in the 60's) and working through the cotton, cattle, and oil booms. The 'sacred cow' of Texas football makes more s...more
Typical Michener. A multigenerational traipse through a focused history of a region, a people, a society. Fortunately this is limited to only a history from the 1600's through 20th century Texas, as opposed to, say, his "Alaska", or "Hawaii", hich take us all the way back to prehistoric times. Overall a good read which follows characters and their descendants up to modern times, covering the Spanish in Mexico, the Southern migration, both before and After the Civil War, the influence of cotten,...more
James Michener is not for everyone. His books are incredibly long- averaging about 900-1,000 pages (if we exclude The Bridges of Toko-Ri, that is). Personally, he is one of my favorite authors. Texas was the first book of his that I read, and it was a good one to start on. I really enjoy Michener's style of showing the reader an area's history by following a set of families over a number of generations. Michener not only explains history by showcasing a particular individual or set of individual...more
Texas has a very interesting history, from it's early Spanish roots, American Indian and Mexican influence, James Michener covers all the aspects, weaving history and fiction together to create an amazing story. Michener is a master of historical fiction.
I would give this a 10 if only I could! What a great read! I'm a big Michener fan. He wraps the reader up in a great yarn every time. This is a huge book, which I could not put down. I read it in a week. Our state of Texas has such an incredible history. I had no idea. Michener's structure of the story was very clever. He starts in contemporary times with a task force charged with developing a curriculum for the study of Texas history. Each member of the task force has deep roots in the state an...more
It only took me a year to get through the 1,322 pages, and now I'm fully up-to-speed on the history and (ahem) uniqueness of this land.

This did give a good overview of how the state came to be, starting in Mexico in the 1500's up through the 1980's (when the book was written) through fictional characters and events - with a little bit of fact thrown in. While the size of the book seems daunting, it's divided into 14 segments or time periods, which makes it easy to take breaks. Also, while some o...more
Cid Mcdonald
A dear friend from Texas lent me his copy of this book. I couldn't put it down. On another visit, I returned it (albeit reluctantly). This is a book I would read again and would love to own.
I liked the book overall. Michener has incredible skill when it comes to narrative. Unfortunately, the epic scope of the novel comes at the expense of character development. The people populating Texas never transcend basic sketches, and as a result, the reader ends up running out of steam near the end. There's just not enough invested.

Part of the problem is that Michener loves his details. Not details of description, but the minutiae of plot points, like the exact cost of every item that is bou...more
Janis Gilbert

Spanning four and a half centuries, James A. Michener’s monumental saga chronicles the epic history of Texas, from its Spanish roots in the age of the conquistadors to its current reputation as one of America’s most affluent, diverse, and provocative states. Among his finely drawn cast of characters, emotional and political alliances are made and broken, as the loyalties established over the course of each turbulent age inevitably collapse under the weight of wealth and industry. With Michener a...more
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Around the United...: Texas by James A Michener 1 8 Oct 19, 2011 08:38AM  
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James Albert Michener is best known for his sweeping multi-generation historical fiction sagas, usually focusing on and titled after a particular geographical region. His first novel, Tales of the South Pacific , which inspired the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific, won the 1948 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Toward the end of his life, he created the Journey Prize, awarded annually for th...more
More about James A. Michener...
Hawaii The Source Centennial The Covenant Chesapeake

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