In Gone to Texas, historian Randolph Campbell ranges from the first arrival of humans in the Panhandle some 10,000 years ago to the dawn of the twenty-first century, offering an interpretive account of the land, the successive waves of people who have gone to Texas, and the conflicts that have made Texas as much a metaphor as a place. Campbell presents the epic tales of Texas history in a new light, offering revisionist history in the best sense--broadening and deepening the traditional story, without ignoring the heroes of the past. The scope of the book is impressive. It ranges from the archeological record of early Native Americans to the rise of the oil industry and ultimately the modernization of Texas. Campbell provides swift-moving accounts of the Mexican revolution against Spain, the arrival of settlers from the United States, and the lasting Spanish legacy (from place names to cattle ranching to civil law). The author also paints a rich portrait of the Anglo-Texan revolution, with its larger-than-life leaders and epic battles, the fascinating decade of the Republic of Texas, and annexation by the United States. In his account of the Civil War and Reconstruction, he examines developments both in local politics and society and in the nation at large (from the debate over secession to the role of Texas troops in the Confederate army to the impact of postwar civil rights laws). Late nineteenth-century Texas is presented as part of both the Old West and the New South. The story continues with an analysis of the impact of the Populist and Progressive movements and then looks at the prosperity decade of the 1920s and the economic disaster of the Great Depression. Campbell's last chapters show how World War II brought economic recovery and touched off spectacular growth that, with only a few downturns, continues until today. Lucid, engaging, deftly written, Gone to Texas offers a fresh understanding of why Texas continues to be seen as a state unlike any other, a place that distills the essence of what it means to be an American.
- Publication Date:
- 07 / 08 / 2003