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Texas Blood: Seven Generations Among the Outlaws, Ranchers, Indians, Missionaries, Soldiers, and Smugglers of the Borderlands

3.37  ·  Rating details ·  159 ratings  ·  39 reviews
In the tradition of Ian Frazier's Great Plains, and as vivid as the work of Cormac McCarthy, an intoxicating, singularly illuminating history of the Texas borderlands from their settlement through seven generations of the author's ranching family.
What brought the author's family to Texas? What is it about Texas that for centuries has exerted a powerful allure for adventu
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published October 10th 2017 by Knopf Publishing Group
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Oct 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very interesting read that is difficult to classify. The author's father and I were playpen babies together, in every class together from first grade through high school and then roomed together our first year in college. Both of our grandfathers and fathers ranched in the Juno country near the Devils River in northern Val Verde County.

Roger's book traces six generations of his family asking what drew them to endure the hardships to live in this hard, barren area. He traveled the routes taken be
Oct 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

A visit to Big Bend National Park last Christmas, reached by a long, empty drive from Southern California, spurred my interest in "Texas Blood." This was a month after the election of Donald Trump and you do see a lot of places in desperate need--places so remote and ramshackle it's hard to understand how or why people are living there.

"Texas Blood" takes on some of that question by explaining how people got to West Texas and their dedication to staying there. Roger D. Hodge uses his o
Oct 09, 2017 rated it liked it
I won this in a Goodreads giveaway.
A meandering history filled with personal memories of the author. Once I understood the history would be tangled up inside a memoir or was it a memoir tangled up inside history I set back and enjoyed the read.
This book wasn't what I thought it would be. From the title, I was expecting the author to explore the generations of his Texas family who preceded him. More or less (mostly less) this did happen, but the book was filled with a great deal of non-family history, much of which can be obtained in better sources elsewhere.( American Indians. So many American Indians.) There were parts of the book that were very interesting--the various looks at the Border Patrol, and the parts that WERE about the au ...more
Don Van
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Having driven across the State of Texas 5 times in the past few years I became intrigued with the history of its remote areas.
From Marfa to Frederiksburg to Mesilla, NM this area sparked my fascination.
It was with this in the back of my mind when I saw this book in a New Hampshire bookstore and I picked it up.
What a read! The author weaves family and regional history quite seamlessly as well as leaping from past to present. This provided a personal history of the
John Benson
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
Though I know this area well having lived two years on the border in Laredo, I found this book disappointing. I have loved books like Ian Frazier's THE GREAT PLAINS, which some reviewers compared this book, too, as he brought out this wide place in essays and stories, but this book, with the author's name, felt just like a "hodgepodge". He begins stories that go on for a long time, but there seems to be little connections to other parts of the book. The book took me far across space, time and pe ...more
Michelle Lancaster
Nov 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Roger D. Hodge
Texas Blood: Seven Generations Among the Outlaws, Ranchers, Indians, Missionaries, Soldiers, and Smugglers of the Borderlands
Alfred A. Knopf
Hardcover, 978-0-3079-6140-2 (also available as an e-book and an audiobook), 368 pgs., $28.95
October 10, 2017

Texas, with its expanses of still-wild vistas, lends itself to the mythical. Historical attempts to settle and tame the borderlands have often proved ephemeral. The evidence is found in pictographs and petroglyphs
Max Knight
Jan 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Texas Blood: Seven Generations Among the Outlaws, Ranchers, Indians, Missionaries, Soldiers, and Smugglers of the Borderlands is far more than the genealogy of author Roger D. Hodge’s family. It is the story of the land itself, the past and present history of the border Southwest.

It isn’t an easy book to classify. It’s scope is as big as the state – a rambling account that is part memoir, travelogue, and history book. Meticulously researched, it can at times read like a textbook. Moreover, peopl
Claudia Majetich
Feb 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Engrossing, personal meditation on the history and peoples of Texas. Hodges is an eloquent writer, and can make a list of place names compelling. Hodges talks about pre-historic peoples and their enigmatic paintings, as well as the Comanche who were a significant force in shaping the identity of Texas. There was little about the Mexicans who lived there before Texas became independents and I would have liked there to be more about them.

I could have done without his digression into the writings
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
Rating purely based on enjoyment...this book was not for me. I picked it up bc of the cool title and cover; I am a Homesick Texan so of course gave it a try. I ended up skipping a decent amount, picking chapters and sections that interested me, but did read most of it. Here are my three main takeaways:

1) This book seems best placed in a college level Texas History class, read in pieces, despite its memoir component. It’s a solid tool in a discussion of the Texas borderlands and Texas history in
Aug 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was not what I expected. I was expecting a book about the Hodge family and their history and genealogy. What I got was part travelogue; part history of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Mexico; part family history; part current events.

Once the travelogue part was gone over, the history part was interesting. So was the current events where the problems occurring at the border are explained. I was fascinated by what the Border Patrol and Customs are doing to stop illegal aliens from crossing th
Matthew Cook
Jan 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
The title is misleading. It leads you to believe he’s going to give us 300 pages of good historical shenanigans about his old school Texas family. He does that somewhat briefly including his own upbringing. But most of the book is about emigrants from other states in the 19th century as well as his thoughts on a road trip along our Mexican border. Also there’s a lot of literary thoughts on Blood Meridian (I think the author is a critic).

It’s not what I thought it was but it was interesting anyw
Barbara Q
Apr 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Never expecting to like Texas, I was surprised that after several trips in the state, I became more and more drawn to this part of the country. As have others who also enjoyed the book after having traveled in Texas according to the GR readers’ reviews.

It reminded me of a novel I loved titled The Son by Philipp Meyer.

There is something about a blooming ocotillo that settles the mind. Or an old windmill, the gentle Rio Grande, small cemeteries with hundred of plastic flowers on the graves, the
Jim Collett
Sep 20, 2018 rated it liked it
The purported premise of this book is that the author is tracing his family's generational travels to and within Texas. While that material is in the book, it is sometimes lost in the author's wandering away from it into many side stories, albeit somewhat related and at times quite fascinating. There is some good historical material, some nice pieces on current events along the Texas-Mexico border (mostly sad and tragic, I'm afraid), and some interesting facts and figures. However, I found the b ...more
Roger D. Hodge tries to walk you through his adventure on figuring out his family history by retracing their steps while visiting places they lived, worked etc... plus he gives you a peek into his childhood and memories. The over-the-top details just kill the stories for me. I did find much of it fascinating just wish he would have stuck to his families history and not try and write a full history lesson with each area he visited. The pictures sprinkled throughout the book were fun to look at, n ...more
Scott Pierce
Dec 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Plenty of reasons to like this book, from the way Hodge interweaves his family history with the history of Texas and the American Southwest more broadly, to the vivid and unyielding descriptions of the geography and hardship of the region. For me, the best part of the book was when he also weaved Cormac McCarthy's books into the region, both historically (having read Blood Meridian multiple times, I did not realize that some parts were firmly based in actual people and events) and also by legend ...more
Jun 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Texas is big, dangerous and mysterious. sometimes, all of these at the same time. Texans love to expound on their outlaw history and still pretend that they have that wanderlust in their blood when they drive back to their suburban enclaves. No where is this more evident than in the current situation on the border. This book places a modern day window to look through at the politics and the lore of the Texas border.
Oct 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an interesting narrative of Texas history. It is accomplished using a novel approach. He bases the story on his sparse knowledge of his family's migration to and through Texas in the 19th century. He fills that in with personal accounts of published by other travelers on the same route at about the same time. He follows that with his own observations of the area at the present time. I enjoyed the book and learned more about migration to and through Texas.
Mar 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
I’m in love with the idea of mixing travel and reading, to read about a location I visit as I’m there feels like more than just a trip, it’s a way to really be there.
While this book was a bit more west in Texas than I’ve been for the past couple of months, the quality of writing and the mix of the writer’s personal history makes it a lovely read.
May 22, 2018 rated it did not like it
When I read the acknowledgments at the end, it explained a lot. Apparently this was originally a collection of essays which explains why it was so miserably disjoint. In addition, nothing makes me more angry than a Texas native who moves away from Texas and then comes back to tell us how stupid we are. Wish I hadn’t wasted the time or money on this.
Oct 10, 2017 rated it liked it
As a native Texan and Cormac MCCarthy fan I overall enjoyed the book. There were moments where it dragged with so many historical names and dates I lost track, but brought itself back. When the author describes driving along the Rio Grande, his writing brought me right back to when I traced the same roads earlier this year. Interesting commentary on border security.
Nov 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: texas
Overall a good book. It wandered outside of the state of Texas;contrary to its title, but eventually worked its way back over the border. A good past and present presentation of the West; as well as a good depiction of a family of Texas. I would recommend this book to anyone who has family history that goes back to the beginnings of Texas; such as my family. Well done.
Feb 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
A book that would be thoroughly enjoyed by people who know Texas better than I - however, once I skimmed past some of the detailed descriptions of landscapes and geography that a Texan would know and enjoy, I discovered little jewels of anecdotes about the history of the Comanche culture and the fascinating story of Sister Maria de Jesus and the Jumano/Apache in the 1620s.
Joe Stinnett
Oct 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Good, but a little too much description of the contrast between the stark, bloody history of the land and the desolate strip malls and eroded culture of modern America. On the other hand, I enjoyed the numerous digressions on Cormac McCarthy and his books, several of which were set here.
Nov 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fascinating read! Hodge mixes historical facts with his family memoirs, taking into account the how and why they ended up in Texas; namely along the Borderlands, which at least for me, reveals some untold history.
Feb 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a good nonfiction picture of what the Texas Mexico border is really like, as opposed to the hype and hysteria. The author grew up there, but his professional life is as a journalist in New York, so you get a pretty balanced viewpoint.
Dec 07, 2017 rated it liked it
I love a story about a place. I love such stories over and against the story of a person. This one rambled through the personal story of a person and his people and the place. And while I wanted to love more than I did, the rambling was too disjointed for me.
Nov 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book is full of interesting information, especially since we just visited Big Bend. Unfortunately, the author had some trouble with organization and fact checking. Did he have an editor? I thought it was best to read each chapter as a separate magazine article.
Michael Kelley
Feb 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a good book but it tends to meander. The author covers too much. If Mr. Hodge just dealt with his ancestors and West Texas settlement it could have been a far better book.
Loren Shultz
Jun 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Detailed retail history of the Texas area. I learned a great deal, and that always brings me pleasure. The personal narrative aspect gives the history life.
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