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368 pages, Hardcover
First published April 17, 2018
"Texas has nurtured an immature political culture that has some terrible damage to the state and to the nation. Because Texas is a part of almost everything in modern America—the South, the West. the Plains, Hispanic and immigrant communities, the border, the divide between rural areas and the cities—what happens here tends to disproportionately affect the rest of the nation. Illinois and New Jersey may be more corrupt, Kansas and Louisiana more dysfunctional, but they don’t bear the responsibility of being the future."Wright is so skilled now at writing big books that he manages to give us lots of detail and information even in this more relaxed telling, all the while being really funny. He is clear-eyed about why Texas can be a big fail and yet he clearly loves the place.
"To strike it rich is still the Texas dream...Texans are always talking about how much they loved the state, but I wondered where was the evidence of that love."Wright admits he considered leaving during the oil boom/bust in the 1980s when the state never seemed to live up to its obligations. He dreamed sometimes of decamping to liberal California, where he could flog his screenwriting skills...and make more money. He thinks that a country that can hold together two such immensely powerful and opposing forces as California and Texas has got to be something worthwhile and important. I used to think so, too, but feel less confident now. Sometimes I want to saw off those pieces of the country that claim to want so much freedom, and seal the borders. No trade. We’ll see then who comes out on top.