Really good except for one weird thing--it was written in the present tense. It made for some odd reading.
Aside from this, you can see the ancestors o...moreReally good except for one weird thing--it was written in the present tense. It made for some odd reading.
Aside from this, you can see the ancestors of the Tea Party in full paranoid bloom in this book. There were the various John Birchers (and those who thought the John Birchers were too soft), as well as the "establishment" ultra-right which controlled the newspapers and much of the power structure in Dallas. They were fighting against imaginary Communist infiltrators (you know, like Eisenhower) as well as desperate rear-guard action to preserve segregation, the poll tax and other Jim Crow laws and customs. Texas is still run by the intellectual descendents of those psychos, but curiously enough, Dallas isn't. Times change.(less)
It's an old travel book about Texas that I read back in the mid-80s. The author's website is here: http://www.stephenbrook.com/index.htm . I was worki...moreIt's an old travel book about Texas that I read back in the mid-80s. The author's website is here: http://www.stephenbrook.com/index.htm . I was working in Nigeria in 1986 and traveling to London a lot. I saw this book, a travel narrative about Texas, at a bookstore and picked it up. It's in the genre of a Paul Theroux book--"I went to a place and traveled around a lot and met people and here's what happened." In short, a first-person travel narrative. I was feeling a little homesick at the time. But what I loved Brooks' style and erudition, and the way he allowed pretensions to be punctured by letting his subjects speak for themselves--and yet left you feeling warmly about many of the most ridiculous characters he met. It was the first time I had read about Texas from the point of view of a complete outsider. And it portrayed Texas at a particular point in time--after an almost imperial rise in economic power during the 70s and early 80s, just before the price of oil collapsed in 85. The insecurities of the nouveau riche were writ large in this book.
For a long time, I couldn't remember the name of the book or the author, even though I remembered the book itself quite well. But I was messing around on Google when I finally re-discovered the title. I immediately ordered a "new" copy through Alibris.
It is quite dated now, as such books tend to quickly become. Having just spent several days in Dallas, I reread the Dallas section of Honkytonk Gelato and found parts of it incomprehensible in terms of present-day Dallas, and parts of it as true today as when they were published 27 years ago. The five stars is a combination of my regard for the book and a certain nostalgia I feel about it. (less)
This is a small picture book from 1985, featuring a photo portrait, a small statement, and a piece of art by fifty Texas artists. It's intriguing to m...moreThis is a small picture book from 1985, featuring a photo portrait, a small statement, and a piece of art by fifty Texas artists. It's intriguing to me that several of them are still well-known (at least in Texas) while many of them seem to have faded into obscurity. There is no one style of work, but the thing that seems most common are neo-expressionist style paintings with brightly colored "border"/Tex-Mex/folk influences. Thankfully, that style died out.(less)