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Texas

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  16,833 ratings  ·  421 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 January 1st 1985)
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Average rating 4.09  · 
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 ·  16,833 ratings  ·  421 reviews


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Lisa
Dec 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Quite a long time ago, I lived in Texas for a while.

That is how I came to understand my distinctly European identity and education. For Texas was different. Very different. I walked to the supermarket with my baby in a stroller. You don't do that in Texas. You take a car. I bought food for a day or two. You don't do that either. You buy for months in advance, loading your giant truck full with groceries. I tried to explore the city centre of Dallas. Well, there is none - not in the European sens
...more
Michael Finocchiaro
I believe this is one of the first behemoth books I ever read. It was certainly my first Michener book. I remember pretty vividly the anecdotes of the origins of Texas, the standoff at the Alamo, the struggles for independence and the capitulation with generous conditions to Washington. I read it before I moved to Texas back in 93 (I lived in Austin from '93-'95 and LOVED it) and it served as sort of a cultural guide. I know, hard to believe because one does not associate Texas with culture beyo ...more
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
Sarah
Jun 07, 2011 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
...more
Danny
Feb 22, 2008 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
...more
Karen
Aug 08, 2011 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
Thomas Ray
Texas, James A. Michener, 1985, 1096 pp. ISBN 0394541545

Fictionalized history of Texas, 1535 through 1984.

No likeable characters.

Michener writes with worshipful admiration of men who steal, defraud, and murder, in pursuit of their own freedom to do as they will, to others’ cost. (p. 276, 648–649)
Men who casually steal their neighbors’ cattle, then murder those neighbors who return the favor.

The heirs of wealth gained by theft, murder, fraud, and corruption are here at the end of the story. They
...more
Christopher
Apr 11, 2017 rated it liked it
"Resistance is futile." This was a chore. Honestly. A book nearly as big as the state which, unless you already love it, is somewhat impenetrable and unknowable.

There's a meta-narrative within the book of a liberal family that moves to TX from Michigan and is "in, but not of" yet over a slow battle of attrition, eventually becomes so thoroughly Texan that they end up voting straight Republican while their now baton-twirling daughter marries a hulking Dallas Cowboys lineman and all is just about
...more
Garrett
Mar 26, 2008 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
...more
Mitch
Nov 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
TEXAS
This book was so long I had to take notes so I would remember what happened. Below is a basic summary of the whole thing. It spans from the 1500s Mexico till just up after the 1984 election. Essentially there are a bunch of different things that make Texas what it is today: Mexico, cotton, shooting people, willful ignorance, oil and ranching money and the baby Jesus. According to the book everyone is basically super rich and successful unless they’re Mexican. And most of them are somewhat t
...more
Eric
Jun 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Michener, as always, is long on tooth, but in "Texas" he broke up the time periods very nicely, by reverting to a modern day committee formed to research Texas history and propose guidance for the teachings of Texas history. So, for the breaks in time, you come back to characters you know and which are still being developed. The interesting twist is that the committee members are decedents of those you read about in the historical fiction. The book covers 1540 AD through 1983 AD. Michener points ...more
Rachel
Jul 17, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: history, literature
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
Greg
Mar 23, 2014 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
texast
Feb 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
FINALLY! It took me so long to read this book. I mean, it's a big one. Weighs five freakin' pounds. Anyway, I really loved this book up until they started talking about Texas football (more than halfway through). I skimmed over that part, most of the bits about Houston real estate, and some of the randomness toward the very end. The last section of the book didn't feel that cohesive to me, while the rest of the sections addressed very specific subjects like war, immigration, politics, slavery, f ...more
Simon Robs
This is my 3rd Michener read, the others so long ago I forget except the titles. Texas is a big state with a big history that is amenable to whopper size telling too and JM is at it here as he traverses 4-plus centuries of border(s) type contrast and conflict which even now, maybe moreso than ever a reflection of shifting dynamics coursing for inexorable change.

Michener uses narrative characters past and present, lineage some factual some not, all aimed at the various Texas expansion from explo
...more
Anthony
Jun 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a LONG'un! Thankfully I chose the Kindle edition, so I wasn't carrying around 10lbs of book.

I enjoyed the majority of this book, but didn't particularly care for the Task Force interludes between chapters. Also, I felt that the last chapter ran a little long for me. I think I enjoyed reading Centennial a bit better than Texas, but this was still a great read regardless.

One really gets a good sense of Texas character after reading this book (assuming the representation is accurate) so
...more
Laura Jean
I think Michener did a good job of tackling the various ethnic groups as well as the entire historical and geographic scope of Texas. He covers armadillos, the immigration issues and Texas football as well as the Comanche, Texas Rangers and other more historic things I assumed he'd include.
Vern
Jun 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyable read, but a heck of a slog. It is a loooooooooooooooooong book. I am assuming it was historically accurate, which makes it educational, interesting, surprising, awesome, as well a awful and appalling at times. Only the truly committed and hard men and women survived the early years, and then not even all of them. The characters were delightful, though even some of those with redeeming values certainly had qualities that that were less than admirable. The bias and prejudices displayed b ...more
Vikas Datta
Oct 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Again a tale of men (mostly) at their most heroic, resilient, and innovative and also at their most ignoble, unreasonable, greedy and grasping and (brutally) intolerant as it provides a broad pageant of history of what is now Texas... The framing device of the task force is again Mr Michener at his most inspired and serves to create a viable lens for the stories of the Lone Star state down the ages - from the first Spanish settlements, the Americans' arrival, war and Independence, the Civil War, ...more
Mark Stephenson
Jul 17, 2014 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
Greg
Feb 14, 2015 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
Heather
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Weaving the lives of families in Texas together over several centuries, Texas is an epic novel that sometimes reads as non-fiction. As with most books by Michener, it is exceedingly long, but that length is not a drawback in the least. Some storylines are more interesting than others, but they all constantly intersect in various ways. The biggest negative I could see was that it ends in 1985 (when it was published). I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Texas history with a lot of ...more
Monica
Oct 07, 2012 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.
John Boettcher
Aug 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Again, one of my favorite books by Michener. You can just tell by the way the characters develop how Texas got it character, charm, and stubbornness. Michener takes the reader through the entire gambit of the history of Texas, from dealing with the Apache and Comanche indians, to the Mexicans. This book has just about everything in it. A fun read!
Allyson
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.
David
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It took me a long, long time, but the book was still excellent. Not the best Michener I've read, but entertaining and as relevant as ever.
Cliff Ward
Jul 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
This 1430 page epic covers four and a half centuries of Texan history from the Spanish Missionaries up to the modern day US State in the 1980s of Oil Rich Texas with grand real estate in Houston and the Cowboys football team in Dallas.
Michener's characters are followed through various generations as we see the early Spanish building missions, white immigration from England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany and various eastern US States especially sponsored by Steven Austin. The Indian wars against the
...more
Donna Melton
Very good. Great for getting an understanding of Texas politics and culture. The stories kept me coming back. Using a fictional committee made up of various Texas citizens to tie the chapters together, Michener covers Texas history from the first Spanish explorers through 1984. I enjoyed the stories of how settlers from various came to Texas and added their culture to the mix. I really appreciated the list at the beginning of the book that I could refer to while reading each chapter. That list t ...more
Cathy Wacksman
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It has taken me 2 months to read this book ( I read easy books in between) because it is so long and full of historical facts woven into the lives of the different kinds of families who made up Texas. The last 300 pages were definitely not page-turners but after investing so much time in the book, I had to finish it. I have to give the author 5 stars because I know how much time and effort he put into his research.
Jim A
Feb 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
I first read Texas 30 some years ago when it was first released. Given the controversy over the past few years, illegal immigrants & building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, I thought a reread would help put things back in perspective.

The book holds up well and is probably more relevant now than when Michener wrote it in the early 80's. Add to that the fact that I really enjoy fictionalized history, my time was not wasted in this reread.

If one has not read this and likes history, fictional
...more
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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
...more

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