Books | Texas
Texas Answer Book
By James L. Haley
(Canton, MI: Visible Ink Press, 2019)
394 pages. Paperback. Illustrated.
Review by Dr. Kirk
January 2, 2019
| Popular Texas
historian James Haley, author of such acclaimed studies as The
Buffalo War: The History of the Red River Indian Uprising of 1874
(1976), Sam Houston (2002) and Passionate Nation: The Epic
History of Texas (2006), has produced another fascinating examination
of the Lone Star State. He divides his new volume into thirteen sections:
Texas Basics; Early Texas; The Republic of Texas; Texas as Antebellum
State; Reconstruction to Urbanization; Modern Texas; Texas Regions;
Business, Religion, and Education; Environment and Nature; The Big
Five Cities; Good Times, Texas Style; Quirky Texas; and Texan Notables.
Over the course of his book, Haley poses, and then answers, more than
950 captivating questions. These include such intriguing queries as:
"Where is Texas's geographical center?" "How did the Comanche come
to dominate the plains?" "Why was Sam Houston such a polarizing figure?"
"What became of Texas's last president, Anson Jones?" "What was the
last land battle of the Civil War?" "What were cattle drives really
like?" "What was the effect of the Spindletop strike?" "What Texan
was the single most decorated soldier in World War II?" "What African
American representative from Texas fascinated the country with her
brilliance during the Watergate hearings?" "How did Fort Worth get
started?" "Wasn't there a Texas writer who lost his job at the University
of Texas for obscenely insulting its president?" "Is it true that
the modern computer chip began in Texas?"
In a publication of this size and scope, mistakes are bound to appear.
Haley erroneously asserts, for example, that Depression era outlaw
Clyde Barrow "was from Teleco in the Valley." In truth, the notorious
desperado was born near the small community of Telico, in Ellis
County, approximately 40 miles from Dallas!
Haley's book, "intended as a broad introduction to the Lone Star State,
a fun and informative look into a culturally and historically unique
slice of the United States," also includes a Texas history Timeline,
a list of Governors and Presidents of Texas, and an instructive Further
Reading section. Students of Lone Star history will undoubtedly enjoy
this engaging volume.
Book Review Editor,
Central Texas Studies
Reviews by Dr. Kirk Bane