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As Texas Goes...: How the Lone Star State Hijacked the American Agenda

3.67  ·  Rating Details  ·  767 Ratings  ·  183 Reviews
Not until she visited Texas, that proud state of big oil and bigger ambitions, did Gail Collins, the best-selling author and columnist for the New York Times, realize that she had missed the one place that mattered most in America’s political landscape. Raised in Ohio, Collins had previously seen the American fundamental divide as a war between the Republican heartland and ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published June 4th 2012 by Liveright (first published January 1st 2012)
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Jun 23, 2012 Wanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, I lived in Texas for 19 of the most miserable of my 66 years. Native Yankees who are not sorority sisters, who value education and who are unreligious feminists do not transfer well to these open spaces. Everything that Collins describes about Texas in this book is oh so true. For those who want "facts" -- well they are legion in this book. In fact there is a well referenced notes section and a bibliography (that contains both material from the left and right positions of our political spe ...more
Jul 10, 2012 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! This author, Gail Collins really knows what she is talking about! I think everyone should read this book, especially Texans so people are more educated about the state they are actually living in. As a Houstonian, I found this book insightful, thoroughly researched, and for the most part unbiased. Collins really attempts to give you the whole picture without being overly rude or condescending. But be ready for a healthy dose of sarcasm. Most of the things she discussed in the book (healthca ...more
Jun 24, 2012 Melissa rated it really liked it
This is a super-abridged review. You can read the full thing here.

As a Texan, I had the misfortune of being governed by Dumb and Dumber way before they decided to take their circus to the (inter)national level. And as an educator and a feminist, I've always tried to stay informed and keep up with the shenanigans going on in my state. Naturally, when I saw that Gail Collins had penned a new book about Texas's impact at the national level, I had to get a hold of it.

From financial deregulation, to
May 27, 2012 Lindsay rated it liked it
If you pick up Gail Collins’s new book hoping for a Seamus the Dog reference, you might be disappointed.

The author and New York Times columnist is best known of late for her running gag of inserting a reference to Seamus into each of her columns, but Collins has long had other interests.

Her latest work is As Texas Goes: How the Lone Star State Hijacked the American Agenda. With a title like that, you can understand that there would be precious little space to devote to the time Mitt Romney drove
Dec 05, 2012 Tyler rated it really liked it
Unless you want to be thought of as a commodity like a palate of car parts, we best start thinking of our policies from a non-free market approach.
This book is a painful look at the ways Texas has set the US on the wrong course for so many policies. Privatize everything and corporations will fill that vacuum and ruin your life. The corporations want you to buy everything from them so they are funding this free-market takeover of the government. Texas doesn't want any government help but facts s
Feb 04, 2015 scherzo♫ rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
***** Goodreads giveaway *****

Texas: government of the corporations, by the corporations and for the corporations with the heaviest tax burden on the poorest to get more government money for corporations.

Texas: Home of Tea Partiers who hate communism but do wishful-thinking science & math like the USSR, fanatically toe the party-line like the USSR, believe their own propaganda like the USSR, and who will never recognize that they're imitating the USSR's fall because they believe St. Ronald s
Stacy Bearse
A snarky look at the economic and social contradiction that is the state of Texas, birthplace of the ultra-conservative Tea Party movement which is permeating the GOP. Business is booming in Texas, thanks to a skewed tax structure and lax regulation. On the other hand, its industrial areas have the dirtiest air and water in the country. Texas' leaders abhor the Federal Affordable Care Act, yet the Lone Star State has the highest percentage of uninsured children in the nation (one-third of adult, ...more
Mar 01, 2014 Donna rated it it was amazing
I'm aware of the BIG money some of the Texans use to back candidates that will "help" their interests over the years. This year I'm a bit more interested since THEY (whoever THEY are) found a willing YES MAN in NJ's current governor. So when I scanned the shelves of the library this book's title was a definite "take home".

I was looking specifically for who has the money ...but I was more than pleased with the author's funny, witty, snarky observations!! She explained plenty! I am a novice when
Feb 13, 2016 Regina rated it really liked it
Between the Texas led banking deregulation and giving the country No Child Left Behind while coming in dead last in the country for "percent of population 25 and older with a high school diploma", Texas is pulling the rest of the country south. Living here for most of my life, it's almost easy to forget that there is a "rest of the country" other than those vague dreams of OZ. It was very nice to get an outsiders perspective on the crazy that is Texas.
Sep 13, 2013 Reuben rated it it was ok
She brings up some good points, and if you're from Texas, nothing new is being addressed. However, I can't finish this. She's too much of a talking head, a columnist driven by reaction and web traffic, and I'm tired of it. Whether the left or right, I'm done with books that spend more time vilifying people they don't agree with and less time discussing possible solutions and common ground.
Victoria Chafin
Oct 21, 2014 Victoria Chafin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I received this book in a Goodreads first reads giveaway.

I made it through the prologue hoping it was not just a rant from a woman who judges a place and people she doesn't even know. Then the embarrassment hit. She is from my state and is doing exactly what I dreaded. I started to read the first chapter and less than two sentences in there was a typo. Sorry, but no. Just no.
John G.
Aug 10, 2014 John G. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting book to read, found it reduced from 13 to 3 bucks in a used book store here in San Antonio, guess they didn't like what the author had to say, ha! I've lived here in San Antonio for over 4 1/2 years, having lived in many different states and been stationed over seas in Germany, which means I live in Texas but I am not of Texas and do not identify with the Texas mindset, in fact, it scares me. This book helped articulate the myths that drive Texans, I think most Texans are ...more
Disclosure: I won a free copy of this on Goodreads. I'm also a long-time resident of Texas.

Regarding the facts and arguments of her case, for the most part I accept them. I believe her portrayal of Texas as the wackiest of the states sells short so many others - I was in Louisiana for the David Duke/Buddy Roemer/Edwin Edwards election, and certainly Florida has plenty of hijinks for us all to laugh and/or cringe about - but it is probably fair to say that Texas does currently have a disproporti
Sep 13, 2012 Chris rated it really liked it
Shelves: real-world
An engaging and interesting book that, well, many Texans probably won't like this book. It doesn't paint a favorable picture of the future for Texas either. Texas likes to think of itself as the biggest and best-est but they are rapidly becoming a feudal place with lots of disadvantaged folks working low paying jobs with no health care. They are rivaling Mississippi in being in the bottom on many lists in health and education as well as social-unwed mothers, STD's, etc. They are twice what Calif ...more
Jul 07, 2012 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First, a warning: If you are a member of the Tea Party, or a die-hard Republican, you will not like this book. In fact, you will probably throw it across the room in a frustrated rage after the third or fourth chapter. If you are one of those people who drive around with a bumper sticker on your dualie pickup truck that reads "I wasn't born in Texas, but I got here as soon as I could", the same likely goes for you.

Gail Collins is so funny, and she has Texas pegged. I am not a native Texan, but
Vickie Buenger
Aug 31, 2012 Vickie Buenger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gail Collins taught me more than one thing in As Texas Goes.

The biggest epiphany was that something has happened to journalism since the advent of 24-hour news networks. The events, quotes, personalities, and misfortunes of each news cycle quickly displace the previous events, quotes, personalities, and misfortunes. Everything flickers by--just like your Facebook wall or Twitter feed. With out the context, analysis, and broader story arc, the dots remain unconnected and even important things fa
Jim Razinha
Jun 24, 2012 Jim Razinha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent....but I can't help but wonder if I'm succumbing to confirmation bias. Hmm.... nope. It's still an excellent read.

Well researched, well documented, very well composed. It should appeal to - and scare the hell out of - non-Texans. Maybe. Maybe not.

Ms. Collins skewers the players and hypocrisies (she's a little more gentle...calling them "ironies") an even handed, if harsh, journalistic approach. I suspect the natives would view the perpetrators as heroes and the policies as triumphant e
Jul 21, 2012 Kayla rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a Texan, this book irritated the hell out of me, and maybe that is exactly the point. The facts she chose to include are accurate and painful but that was not my problem with Ms. Collins. My problem, as a transplanted Texan who now calls New England her home, is the air of East Coast condescension that trickles in and then turns into a raging river that sweeps away some of what she is trying to say. I bet my daddy's ranch that the folks in Texas treated her with way more respect than she give ...more
Harry Lane
Collins is a clever writer who gets off some priceless, laugh out loud lines. But the book is ultimately a very sad one that chronicles just how wrong-headed public policy can be. The theme of the book is that Texas, which is outsize in so very many ways (and lots of them dysfunctional,) has an outsize influence on the rest of the country. Collins presents this in a very entertaining way, but it is notable that a quarter of the book is comprised of notes documenting her assertions. There are no ...more
frustrating and backwards. Thorough coverage.
Feb 23, 2015 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gail Collins could be a modern day Molly Ivins,a writer who used humor to point out the inconsistencies abounding in this state. While screaming states rights, leave us alone we can take care of our own, Texas accepted more federal aid money than any state in history to build roads throughout the state and bring electricity to the rural areas of our former largest state.
Gov. Perry has traveled around the country telling businesses to move to business friendly Texas with it's lack of regulations,
Jul 05, 2012 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I adore Gail Collins. I've lived in Texas for the past 25 years. Not only did I watch the schools forced into this testing fiasco as my kids went through the system, I also had daily nightmares doing a stint as a test scorer for the company making all the money off this shindig. Now that would make a story.

Very well researched. As always, well written and a fascinating topic.
Nov 17, 2014 Christina rated it did not like it
Having learned a substantial amount from Collins’ two prior books on the history of American women, I went into this book with both high hopes and high expectations – in particular, that she would attack the myths surrounding Texas with the same vigorous attention as she did the myths surrounding women like Betsy Ross. I am a product of the Texas public education system – kindergarten through twelfth grade in the same school district – and spent nearly fifteen years in the state. I paid my dues ...more
Paul Collis
I enjoy reading Ms Collins columns in the New York Times, so I was glad to receive a copy of her book from the publisher (in response to a GoodReads giveaway).
I wanted to like 'As Texas Goes', because I was eager to find out more about the people responsible for manipulating the content of the nation's school textbooks, and the political and social environment that allowed them - and Bush, and Perry - to flourish. I wanted to know how people with a rural, frontier mentality could justify their p
Jan 19, 2016 Kinksrock rated it really liked it
Another book that is not worth reviewing on amazon because I'll just get downvoted for political reasons.

I already carried a lot of resentment toward Texas before picking up this book because (i) of its influence on our nation's public school textbooks, effectively dumbing them down, and (ii) they gave us George W. Bush, the president I consider the worst of the lot.

This book made me more resentful of this state and its influence on our country, based on its unjustified machismo and manufactured
This was an interesting and quick read. I was already familiar with many of the big picture ideas and events discussed, but didn't know details, especially going back to the LBJ and Reagan eras. As a native Texan I think some of her research into Texas culture and history was a bit shallow (it's hard to credit her for extensive research when she mispronounces Bowie's name in the audiobook), but I can mostly forgive her for that, since the focus was political rather than cultural. I also think sh ...more
Wally Muchow
Feb 02, 2014 Wally Muchow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very clever and interesting book while also managing to be totally depressing. Gail Collins writes about her examination of Texas and it's effect on politics in the United States. It is full of amusing profiles and statements and wry observations on Texas political life and decisions. The depressing part is how much those decisions effect the rest of the United States. Recently conflicts in Egypt and Turkey and the U.S have pointed out to me how much the problem is between rural and ur ...more
Jun 22, 2012 Astrid rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love Gail Collins' sense of humor and she seems to know her stuff. Sure do miss Molly Ivins, though.
Jan 06, 2016 Carolyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"As Texas Goes..." so goes the nation, frequently. Sad but true, also hilarious. Often sarcastic and ironic, this book made me laugh out loud quite a bit, even while being appalled. When then Gov. Rick Perry suggested that Texas should secede from the US, 18% of Texas Republicans polled said that they favored secession. This book was published in 2012, and the author makes the point that 18%, while a sizeable number, isn't that meaningful because you can get 18% of Republicans to favor any crazy ...more
Dana Stabenow
As Texas goes, says Collins, so goes the nation, and there are some revelatory and I must admit pretty horrifying details about banking laws, education (especially sex education), textbooks, global warming, immigration and voters' rights, written with that lighthearted acerbity we enjoy so much in her NYT opinion column. In the prologue she writes

Texas banking laws set the stage for the savings and loan crisis in the 1980s. The 2008 economic meltdown was the product of a financial deregulation t
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Gail Collins was the Editorial Page Editor of The New York Times from 2001 to January 1, 2007. She was the first woman Editorial Page Editor at the Times.

Born as Gail Gleason, Collins has a degree in journalism from Marquette University and an M.A. in government from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Beyond her work as a journalist, Collins has published several books; Scorpion Tongues: Gos
More about Gail Collins...

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“The state’s ability to rear, educate, and prepare all the little Texans to take their place in the national economy is going to be an excellent predictor of how well the whole country will be faring down the line. We will get into that later, but—spoiler alert—the” 0 likes
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