Texas Blood: Seven Generations Among the Outlaws, Ranchers, Indians, Missionaries, Soldiers, and Smugglers of the Borderlands

Roger D. Hodge. Knopf, $27.95 (368p) ISBN 978-0-307-96140-2
Hodge (The Mendacity of Hope), national editor of the Intercept, embarks on a singular journey to rediscover his borderland-Texas roots, telling stories of his adventures as a youthful ranch hand and recollecting memories from his family’s land. While reminiscing, Hodge also retraces the path of his distant ancestors on their own treks through other parts of Texas, Oklahoma, and Arizona before settling in the arid Texas backcountry. Texas’s complicated, multicultural history becomes part of Hodge’s narrative; ancient pictographs, battles between Comanches and settlers, and the demoralizing effects of the drug war all feature in this heartbreaking and mesmerizing story. Hodge’s casual tone possesses an easy charm, with each anecdote sparking deeper dives into historical and cultural issues that reveal how Texas’s violent past continues to affect its present. Hodge routinely puts his life into the hands of others—though occasionally he comes across as patronizing toward people he encounters—including border agents and a spry, impish guide who aids Hodge in bearing witness to ceremonies at a religious shrine. Hodge combines a journalist’s eye with a native son’s love to give readers clear insight into southwestern Texas’s past, present, and future. Maps & photos. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 07/03/2017
Release date: 10/10/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-0-345-80260-6
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio

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