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4.06  ·  Rating details ·  14,152 Ratings  ·  317 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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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
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
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
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
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
Apr 11, 2017 rated it liked it
"Resistance if 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
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
Jul 17, 2009 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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
Aug 29, 2009 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 06, 2012 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.
May 20, 2009 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.
Feb 04, 2011 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 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.
Apr 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Only made it to The Rangers ... I'll get back to it eventually.
Robert Holt
Feb 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
An epic tome, though slightly dated now as it ended in 1985. Preferred the historical parts.
Oct 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I throughly enjoyed this book. Hardest part of reading it was discerning what at historical accurate. Lots of great stories about many aspects of Texas life.
Christopher Bounds
Jun 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
I usually enjoy Michener but this was a bit much, essentially because he didn't write the ending. We're living through it: Dubya and Trump. The author seemed afraid to pass the logical judgement: that culture and values are important and they have to go beyond size. I'm reminded of the anecdote about the brash Texan holding forth in a Brisbane bar (this was possibly before the battle of Brisbane!), where the claim was advanced that Texas was so bit that trains could take days to cross the State. ...more
Carol Colfer
May 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Texas was interesting and informative. I had the definite feeling that Michener knew what he was talking about. I liked the earlier parts of the book better than the end. It was organized in an odd format, with a present day (1980s) 'task force' composed of 'important people', all of whom had ancestors who played important parts in Texas history. It began, as his books usually do, long long ago, and worked its way up to the present. I enjoyed the stories (each of which could probably have been a ...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 t
More about James A. Michener...

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