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4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  13,093 Ratings  ·  281 Reviews
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 e ...more
Paperback, 1472 pages
Published November 12th 2002 by Dial Press Trade Paperback (first published 1985)
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Best Historical Fiction
401st out of 5,824 books — 22,290 voters
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137th out of 811 books — 2,497 voters

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Community Reviews

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Jun 07, 2011 Sarah rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 18, 2008 Garrett rated it it was amazing
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
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
Apr 08, 2014 Danny rated it really liked it
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
Dec 19, 2009 Rachel rated it it was ok
Shelves: literature, history
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
Aug 14, 2011 Karen rated it really liked it
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
Dec 05, 2014 Greg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is the reason I’ve read so few others this year. At 1322 pages (and small type), it beats "Atlas Shrugged" as the longest novel I’ve ever read. It’s a sweeping epic of 850 years of Texas history that’s part "Lonesome Dove" and part "One Hundred Years of Solitude." It begins in 1535 with Coronado leading the first Europeans from Ciudad de México into what would become Texas on a quest to discover the Seven Lost Cities of Gold, and ends in the mid 1980s with a longhorn auction and the ar ...more
Mark Stephenson
Jul 31, 2014 Mark Stephenson rated it really liked it
Published in 1985 in the aftermath of Reagan's decisive re-election victory over Mondale this demonstrates the ability of Michener, a loyal Democrat, to understand and to sympathetically report on the ideas and motivations of his Republican fellow citizens. Ransom Rusk, the main character of the latter chapters, is a hard working and patriotic Texas billionaire who evolves into a philanthropist. Rusk's grandparents are also major and heroic characters who throw light on the very troubled relatio ...more
Oct 23, 2012 Monica rated it really liked it
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.
Finished! This is well worth the time it takes to read it and I especially loved reading about so many places I recognise. I think one huge omission was a chapter about the space program, but still a great read.
I did it! I finally finished this mammoth, nearly 1100 page novel about Texas history. I do read fast, but the size of this book, and the holidays, set me back nearly 2 months with this book. But I'm glad I pushed through and finished it.

Michener generally starts with a couple of main characters and weaves a story of that family through time, tying in the history of a state with the fictional story he has created around it. Texas is much the same, but I felt like he introduced new characters and
Greg Z
May 06, 2015 Greg Z rated it did not like it
I very much enjoyed the state of 'Hawaii' (beautiful beaches, parks, flowers, green hills everywhere) but didn't care much for the state of 'Texas' (the beaches don't really count as they are only gulf beaches, it's relatively flat and brown everywhere). And, as art does imitate life often, I felt the same about the books. (I know many people love the state of Texas, especially those born there, it's just that I like beautiful, turquoise water when I go to the beach, and I like lots of green eve ...more
Aug 29, 2009 Jason rated it did not like it
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
Feb 13, 2012 Susan rated it really liked it
I have read Hawaii and Chesapeake before this and am a fan of James Michener. He combines a huge amount of historical information with popular culture and a cracking good story line to keep the reader going along happily even through a 1,000+ pages. I liked this novel even better then the others I had read and have a much better undertsanding of all the strands - Indian, Spanish, Mexican, Southern, Western - that came together to make up this unique state.
Nov 05, 2009 Abraham rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
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.
Apr 11, 2011 Janet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Oct 03, 2011 Linda rated it really liked it
I liked the way Michener set up this book. A modern day task force was set up to write the history of Texas. Each member was an authority on some aspect of the state's history.The tales they told were fascinating.
May 17, 2016 Elizabeth rated it liked it
Only made it to The Rangers ... I'll get back to it eventually.
Robert Holt
Jun 02, 2015 Robert Holt rated it really liked it
An epic tome, though slightly dated now as it ended in 1985. Preferred the historical parts.
Jan 03, 2016 Tim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the kind of book that everyone should read. Yes, it is 1000+ pages. Yes, it is about Texas. Yes, the prose is sometimes good but never really great. However, it provides a historical context that informs the present, and likely the future. Even at 1000+ pages, the book is somewhat of a gloss, hopping, skipping, and jumping through Texas history, probably dwelling on those people and events that interested the author. Nevertheless, the author doesn't sugarcoat the actions of the settlers, ...more
Oct 09, 2012 Mat rated it really liked it
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
Keith Willcock
Nov 03, 2013 Keith Willcock rated it really liked it

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
Sep 20, 2016 Blessedmomfxs rated it it was ok
I don't know where to start...One thing: I never forgot I was reading a book. The mark of a good book in my mind is when I forget I'm reading and am absorbed into the story. Didn't happen with this one. James Michener packed an amazing quantity of facts into his fiction story about Texas, but he did so in some pretty contrived ways. This is my first epic by Michener, and I think I just expected it to be better. The characters were not very simpatico. The story line was choppy. Overall, it felt l ...more
Nov 24, 2014 K. rated it liked it
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
Jun 18, 2015 Mickey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is why I like Michener! Its time setting spans just from the 1500s to right after the Mexican War, so if readers have found prehistoric tales of the geology and fauna of previous novels a little boring, fear not! True to form, the narrative follows Texas history through the stories of a small number of families and their descendants, in this case the Garza family. Throw in some Scots, Germans as they emigrate, and some famous figures from history, and it adds up to quite an entertainin ...more
Aditya /
Jun 17, 2012 Aditya / rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 12, 2014 Billy rated it liked it
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
Mitzi Moore
Dec 27, 2014 Mitzi Moore rated it really liked it
As a 4th generation native-born Texan, I learned a lot about my heritage and the underpinnings of this society from this historical fiction novel. Having spent 4th and 7th grades in Oklahoma (gasp!), I missed out on Texas History altogether, so the stories were somewhat fresh.

I wanted to know which of the stories and characters represented actual events and people, so I searched online. Wikipedia was woefully unhelpful, and no one site gave me what I sought. Pages 8 and 9 of Michener's own intr
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
Oct 04, 2014 Ted rated it liked it
This book proved something of a struggle. I had previously read Michener's Hawaii and found it highly engaging. Here, the research and writing were just as good, but something seemed to be lacking. Ultimately, I feel the story of Texas is just not very compelling.

To me, the most interesting parts of the book came in the beginning, when the author recounts the travails of Spanish explorers and migrants from Spanish Mexico. I especially enjoyed his telling of the "paseo" mating ritual in which you
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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 t
More about James A. Michener...

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