What books should you consider as holiday gifts for the Texan in your life, or for someone who would like to learn more about Texas?
I have some suggestions.
As you can see from the picture above, Hamburger Wearing An Astros’ Hat would very much like to learn more about Texas. Hamburger is a member of my Texas Liberal Panel of Experts.
You will also please note that Hamburger is trying to use some Republic of Texas currency to buy a book of Texas history.
While many conservative Texans might wish that this currency was still valid, I may have to spot Hamburger a few real dollars to purchase the book.
Here is a list of some fine Texas- themed books I own. There are many others out there that I don’t own and are worthy of your consideration.
Lone Star Nation-The Epic Story of the Battle for Texas Independence by H.W. Brands will tell you all you need to know about how Texans won independence from Mexico.
Texas: A Modern History by David McComb is short and readable history of Texas history all the way up to the current century.
The Texas Almanac is simply one of the best reference books I own on any topic. The Almanac is published by the Texas State Historical Associataion. The most recent edition of the Almanac was released just a few weeks ago.
(The budget of the Texas State Historical Commission was slashed by Governor Rick Perry and Republicans in Texas. Is this how we should honor Texas history?)
Unprecedented Power: Jesse Jones, Capitalism, and the Common Good by Steven Fenberg. This is a new release that I own, but have not yet read. Jesse Jones of Houston was a very powerful figure of the Franklin Roosevelt era who played a large role in crafting today’s Houston and our whole State of Texas.
The Formation and Future of the Upper Texas Coast by John Anderson may sound dry. But is an accessible title with many pictures that will help you understand the geography and other aspects of the Texas coast from the Sabine Pass, to where the Colorado River flows into the Gulf Of Mexico.
Texas A & M Press has published a variety of titles about life in the Texas portion of the Gulf of Mexico. I own four of these books and they are all very informative.
Sam Houston–A Biography of the Father of Texas by John Hoyt Williams is a perfectly good biography of the great man. There are other out there on the same subject. Maybe you’d finally like to learn more about Sam Houston after hearing his name so many times over the years.
I’ve read all three Robert Caro books on Lyndon Johnson. There are two more planned with the next one out in the spring of 2012. Here is a link to reviews of the three Johnson books. These books are full of Texas history and are classics of American biography.
A great web resource to learn about Texas is The Handbook of Texas Online. This site is very comprehensive on aspects of Texas both past and present. The Handbook is also published by the Texas Historical Society.
Learning about Texas will offer a more nuanced understanding of a place that for many—both in and out of Texas—has become little more than a Texas-sized caricature.