Road warriors and transportation buffs will be pleased with this well-illustrated, well-written volume.

READ REVIEW

MILES AND MILES OF TEXAS

100 YEARS OF THE TEXAS HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT

An engaging, appropriately sprawling history of the Texas Highway Department over its first century.

It’s entirely fitting that an agency of Texas government should have been mired in controversy at the outset. As Texas novelist and historian Dawson (House of Plenty: The Rise, Fall, and Revival of Luby’s Cafeterias, 2006, etc.) and former Texas Department of Transportation official Polson observe, for the first 15 years, officeholders struggled to control “the largest, wealthiest department or agency ever devised for any state in the United States.” It’s surprising, perhaps, that the narrative should take so straightforward a view of the shadier aspects of the department’s past, in which a couple of governors helped themselves to highway funds, a couple of others used roads as political favors, and the national government had to flex plenty of muscle to direct federal funds toward road-building within the state. Indeed, as the authors write, as far back as the early 1920s, owing to the odd way funds were distributed across the counties, “the federal government actually pronounced Texas ineligible to participate in a federal project to begin determining the location, design, and construction of interstate highways.” For all its birth in corruption, though, the department emerges in this account as competent and capable of herculean tasks, such as building the great span over the Pecos Gorge and funneling traffic safely through the gnarled metropolises of Houston and Dallas. Furthermore, the interstate actually did get built, despite the reluctance of Texans to float bonds in favor of a pay-as-you-go system: the first miles laid outside Corsicana in 1956, the last a stretch of highway between Amarillo and Lubbock completed nearly four decades later. Texas was among the last of the states to finish up the job, but then, “the other states’ task seldom compared with a fraction of what Texas had to accomplish.”

Road warriors and transportation buffs will be pleased with this well-illustrated, well-written volume.

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62349-456-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Texas A&M Univ.

Review Posted Online: Nov. 9, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

Did you like this book?

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...

THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

more