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A Hole in Texas

3.25  ·  Rating details ·  630 Ratings  ·  76 Reviews
With this rollicking novel-hailed equally for its satiric bite, its lightly borne scientific savvy, and its tender compassion for foible-prone humanity-one of America's preeminent storytellers returns to fiction. Guy Carpenter is a regular guy, a family man, an obscure NASA scientist, when he is jolted out of his quiet life and summoned to the corridors of power in Washing ...more
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Published April 13th 2004 by Little, Brown and Company (first published 2004)
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S.E. White
Interesting story -- another Wouk plot about the intricacies and difficulties of a marriage in connection with larger national issues.

Thanks to this book, I laughed at a joke I wouldn't have understood before reading it:

A Higgs boson walks into a Catholic church. The priest tells him that no bosons are allowed. "How can you have Mass without me?" the boson exclaims.

Gerald Kinro
Guy Carpenter, a 60-year-old physicist is married, the father of two, including a new baby and lives a quiet ordinary life. He once worked on the Superconducting Super Collider, a gigantic federally funded project in Texas aimed at finding the elusive Higgs bosun subatomic particle. Congress defunded the project leaving Carpenter out to dry and the Higgs bosun a mystery, leaving a large hole in Texas. Now Chinese scientists publish a work that claims to have discovered the Higgs bosun. Carpenter ...more
Jan Rice
I'm trying to figure out when I read this. Published 2005, Goodreads says, but copyright 2004, per the book itself. I had the hardcover which I bought after I found it remaindered in a Daedalus catalog and noticed who the author was. I thought the book was not up to his earlier standards when he was younger, The Caine Mutiny, for goodness sake, and The Winds of War and War and Remembrance, which made a significant impression on me (both the books and the miniseries). Made sense, since he was in ...more
Stephen Gallup
Nov 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'd like to think that, if the project I've been working on these many years sees the light of day and achieves a life of its own, and if I then turn my hand to fiction, that the result would be something like this novel.

What I mean is that, as a tech writer, I've spent a lot of time conveying detailed info in a way that is no more dry and yawn-inducing than absolutely necessary, and A Hole in Texas is written by someone with a great deal of understanding of partical physics, in addition to well
...more
J. Travis Moger
A Hole in Texas: A Novel by Herman Wouk**1/2

Though a reasonably entertaining read, Herman Wouk's A Hole in Texas was a disappointment. The premise was a good one: the Chinese discovery of the Higgs boson (aka “God particle”) sets off a political brouhaha in Washington, DC, involving an American scientist suspected of passing secrets to his former lover in China. The Higgs boson had been the goal of the never completed Superconducting Super Collider, which Congress cancelled in 1993. Now Communis
...more
Jennifer H
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Debby
Jan 03, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lab-lit, fiction
I am NOT a science person, so I can’t vouch for the authenticity of the scientific detail, but since the character was known for being able to explain complicated scientific information to laymen in the story, it follows that even I could understand what was discussed in the book. Kind of a quirky, fast read with everything from Hollywood scripts, to physics to congresswomen talking to their dead husbands.
Paul Page
My father-in-law devoured books like I devour tortilla chips. He passed away this spring and we have been gathering an organizing his collection of books that must have once numbered nearly a thousand. I found "A Hole In Texas" on one of his shelves and was amazed to find out that Herman Wouk is still alive. He wrote this book in 2004.
So funny to read something by Wouk that involves super colliders and cell phones. I remember him for such classics as "The Caine Mutiny", "Winds of War" and "War a
...more
Brian Meadows
Jan 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It has been many years since I read anything by Herman Wouk. I read one in high school that was on the reading list - either _Winds of War_ or _Caine Mutiny_. That was a long time ago. _A Hole In Texas_ is quite different in that it is a novel about the latest forefront in nuclear science. That speaks well of his flexibility and breadth. It would have taken a good deal of research and keeping up with current news on the part of Wouk in his senior years. It was an enjoyable novel.
ray kahler
I have been a Herman Wouk fan for many years. In fact, I often will choose one of his books without considering the title. This one was a disappointment and I found I was forcing myself to get to the end hoping for some kind of Wouk magic. Sorry, but it just didn't happen. But I'll keep reading Herman Wouk.



Mary Banken
Interesting mixture of science, politics and romantic drama. Same old story-- scientific progress is hopelessly embroiled in the other two! Back in the day I had some exposure to the Superconducting Super Collider project due to my job at the time, which heightened the interest level for me.
ThomasAD
A light read, certainly, when compared to Winds of War or War and Remembrance.
Still, interesting subject matter. Not many books on physics are able to achieve such a light-hearted style. It reminded me of something by Neville Shute.
Bill
May 23, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A little dated, but this is a book that makes fun of Congress, Hollywood, Big Science, and the Press. It is a nice book, and Wouk spins a good yarn.
Nico
May 22, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A light read, science "made easy" for laypeople like me. I enjoyed most of it, but got a bit bored toward with the last 1/4 of the book. The characters are all a bit quirky, which I liked.
Carol
Jan 30, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A physicist, the Super Collider, and the "Boson Bomb" and how all are affected by politics. Fascinating book with new vocabulary words for me
Maura
May 02, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Sort of a political farce, mildly amusing; it feels a little bit dated by now, although it was only published in 2004. A certain amount of it has to do with the Superconducting Super Collider (SSC) that was being built in Texas; construction halted in 1993 when the project was canceled.

The premise is that the Chinese have rocked the science world with their supposed discovery of the Higgs bosun, a particle that the SSC might have found had it been finished. Shades of Sputnik panic follow, with t
...more
Brigham
Nov 19, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008
Hopefully when Herman Wouk passes, this book will be left off of his list of accomplishments. It's hard to believe that the 90 + year old meticulous author of The Hope, The Glory and Marjorie Morningstar could be so off about so many things.

As an announcement of the Chinese discovery of the Higgs Boson sets the nation in a whirl, a physicist named Guy Carpenter get's embroiled in a dull political plot with an ex movie star turned congresswoman. The book covers a lot of ground, discussing scienc
...more
Graham Storrs
The first Herman Wouk novel I've read. I finished it on the day it is expected that Europe's LHC team will announce that they have found the Higgs boson. So it's an odd coincidence that the subject of the book is the announcement that the Chinese have found the Higgs boson and the alarmist furore that hits the USA at this evidence that they are no longer world leaders in big science. Ironically, Wouk dismisses the European efforts as feeble and irrelevant - the race is between the US and China! ...more
Jim
May 31, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2011
I picked this up off the bargain counter at a discount store. I bought it simply because of Herman Wouk, Having enjoyed the Caine Mutiny, The Winds of War, and War and Remembrance. This was very different. While there were no "laugh out loud" moments, it certainly had me smiling quite a bit. As it was written in 2004, there are some dated references in the novel but they really don't detract from the story. Wouk does his usual job of creating characters that seem real. He tells a story that is a ...more
Barbara ★
This is the first novel by Herman Wouk for me and I must say that I really liked it. When the Chinese beat the US to the Higgs boson, astrophysicist, Guy Carpenter gets caught up in the hoopla and has to appear before a congressional hearing on possible charges of a breach in national security. His relationship with the top Chinese scientist and his secret post office box, get him in water with his wife.

There's a lot going on and when the talk involves the superconduction super collider, it get
...more
Paul Parsons
Not quite the epic work we're used to from Herman Wouk, but then The Winds of War, War and Remembrance, The Hope, and The Glory are hard to surpass. Light-hearted and almost comically, Wouk takes a shot at the inept Congress and irresponsible media of the U.S.A., bring us into the everyday lives of those who should be dealing with the big picture, but are incapable of rising above petty scandals and self-serving politics. I did learn about the Higgs boson and came away moderately entertained and ...more
Kerry Kenney
Love what Science magazine has to say about this book "How wonderful to encounter a novel that presents a scientist as a popular and engaging principal character." (Jay M. Pasachoff) as an early and devoted groupie to the Professor on Gilligan's island and then married to my own dreamy science geeeky husband this book had me at hello. Plus, I love Herman Wouk. He's like a great sandwich on a Saturday with the whole cool afternoon stretching out in front of you and baseball on the radio. Makes me ...more
Mike Wood
Apr 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've always been intrigued/impressed with how Herman Wouk could write both serious works, like Caine Mutiny, Winds of War, etc. AND breezy reads like Don't Stop the Carnival and Aurora Dawn. This is definately in the later category, and was a fun summer read. I wish I had read it back when it was first published, and therefor more timely with the science, but still an entertaining way to learn a little about the Higgs bosun.
Jenny
Nov 04, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure why this book was written. To make a farce about physics and Congress? To write about a man who is a brilliant but relatable physicist? To establish that politics has no place in science?

The problem is that I don't know much about physics so I was so focused on figuring out what a Higgs boson was that I probably missed the humor.

I enjoyed Myra and the dialogue was well-done - but the subject matter just missed the mark for me.
Jeff Landry
This 2004 novel is a dated satire, both in content and in Wouk's style. The sciencey stuff was ok, but the portrayal of the media hysteria surrounding a major event was tepid by today's standards. It felt like a satire with little humor or satire. And though there were strong, central female characters in the story, it still felt like they were considered lesser in the author's eyes on account on their gender
Ed
A 2004 novel about theoretical physics that has now been overtaken by events.

Novel - Guy Carpenter, a physicist formerly in charge of the magnet array for the Superconducting Super Collider, is called on to brief Congresswoman Myra Kadane after the Chinese announce they have found the Higgs boson. The SSC was designed to find that sub-atomic particle but Congress pulled the plug and now Guy's ex-girlfriend claims the discovery.
Michael
This was alright. About the closed down Super Collider project in Waxahatchie, Texas. This was similar to what is being finished now in Switzerland, a huge circular tunnel built to accelerate and smash atoms. It was killed by Congress and abandoned. Thus the "Hole in Texas". It is still there, 18 miles long! I vaguely remember this from high school. Anyway, the story was kind of lame, but the setting interested me.
Chris Ellis
I enjoyed this read, found it to be very similar to the works of Christopher Buckley.

My first experience of Herman Wouk's work, and very pleasing to read.

The story line - the supposed discovery of the Higgs Boson - is current and well explained throughout.

The characters are ones you can relate to and the plot moves along nicely.
Tom
Feb 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is about the Higgs boson. Don't know what it is? Neither do I, and I read the book. Doesn't matter. It's something to do with physics. The thing is, the story surrounding this is a real page turner. I didn't want it to end. A physicist, his wife, a former girlfriend from China, congressmen and women, a Siamese cat. and other assorted characters. I give it an A/A+.
Sandra
Not only is this a really good novel, with interesting characters and plot, but it also teaches a little bit about particle physics and the Higgs boson, and a lot about how politics determine the outcome of so many things in life. I thought it was an amazing read from an author well into his 90s. I had forgotten what a great craftsman Herman Wouk is.
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Herman Wouk is a bestselling, Pulitzer Prize-winning Jewish American author with a number of notable novels to his credit, including The Caine Mutiny, The Winds of War, and War and Remembrance.

Herman Wouk was born in New York City into a Jewish family that had emigrated from Russia. After a childhood and adolescence in the Bronx and a high school diploma from Townsend Harris High School, he earned
...more
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