cover image God Save Texas: A Journey into the Soul of the Lone Star State

God Save Texas: A Journey into the Soul of the Lone Star State

Lawrence Wright. Knopf, $26.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-525-52010-8

Wright (The Terror Years), a Pulitzer winner and New Yorker staff writer, takes an unflinching look at Texas—the state where he has spent most of his life—in all its grandeur and contradictions. A clear-sighted and often witty reporter, Wright highlights the state’s past and present political figures (among them Lyndon Johnson, both Bush presidents, Ann Richards, and Ted Cruz); entrenched belief in low taxes and minimal regulation; booming economy of oil and technology exports; and track record of subpar social services and legislative accomplishments (redistricting, open carry and concealed carry gun laws). Wright also showcases three of the state’s fastest-growing cities: Houston, the only major U.S. metropolis without zoning laws; Dallas, with its history of reinvention after John F. Kennedy’s assassination and currently hot market for commercial construction; and Austin, with its high rate of start-up companies and its citizenry devoted to “quirky passions.” Interspersed throughout are the author’s personal reflections on growing up in Texas and on why he continues to live there. The demographics of this vast and diverse state suggest it’s far more progressive than its representatives, and its population is increasing at an astonishing rate. Wright’s large-scale portrait, which reveals how Texas is only growing in influence, is comprehensive, insightful, and compulsively entertaining. Agent: Andrew Wylie, Wylie Agency. (Apr.)