Random House recently re-released several of James Michener’s epic classics, including the popular Texas. Texas covers the history of the largest state in the continental United States with one of the most varied and interesting backgrounds. To tackle such a history must have been a daunting task, but Michener cleverly and warmly shows readers what the frontier and settling of Texas was all about. Texans and the rest of the world should not miss one of the best-loved author’s take on the Lone Star State.
Beginning with Spain’s exploratory journeys in the 1500s and leading up to the real estate boom and bust of the 1980s, Michener enriches historical fact with larger-than-life characters. The fictional governor puts together a Task Force with some of the predominant Texas citizens to study and re-shape Texas History classes, given to 7th graders across the state. Each chapter of the novel explores a different period in Texas’ formation with ancestors of the Task Force members leading the way. In between chapters, readers meet back up with the Task Force to study their progress and see how their relationships with each other have changed.
As a native Texan, I didn’t find it difficult to finish the novel despite its mammoth length. Readers, regardless of connection or feelings about Texas itself, will cheer on the heroes during their trials and tribulations.