GOD SAVE TEXAS by Lawrence Wright
Kirkus Star


A Journey into the Soul of the Lone Star State
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One of the state’s most renowned writers takes readers deep into the heart of Texas.

As a staffer for the New Yorker and a Pulitzer Prize–winning author, Wright (The Terror Years: From Al-Qaeda to the Islamic State, 2016, etc.) has illuminated a variety of intriguing subcultures. His native Texas is as exotic as any of them. He approaches his subject on a number of levels: as a stereotype, a movie myth, a cultural melting pot, a borderland, a harbinger of what is to come in an increasingly polarized and conservative country, and as a crucible that has shaped the character of a young writer who couldn’t wait to escape but was drawn back. “Some maybe cowardly instinct whispered to me that if I accepted the offer to live elsewhere, I would be someone other than myself,” he writes. “My life might have been larger, but it would have been counterfeit. I would not be home.” The Austin-based author makes himself at home in these pages, traveling through Austin, Dallas, Houston, and El Paso and exploring the desolate wonders of Big Bend, “one of the least-visited national parks in the country, and also one of the most glorious,” and the West Texas wonders of Marfa, Lubbock, and Wink. The chapter on the levels of Texas culture, an updated version of a Texas Monthly piece from 1993, is particularly incisive. But the misadventures of the Texas legislature are what will strike most readers with an uneasy mixture of amazement, amusement, and disbelief; one law, notes the author, allows citizens to “openly carry swords, a welcome development for the samurai in our midst.” Once a Democratic bulwark (albeit conservatively so), the state has since become even more conservatively Republican, though a population that is not only growing, but growing younger and more diverse—the “Anglo” majority has become the minority—could make the state very much in play.

A revelation—Wright finds the reflection of his own conflicted soul in the native state he loves and has hated.

Pub Date: March 6th, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-525-52010-8
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2018

Kirkus Interview
Lawrence Wright
September 15, 2014

Lawrence Wright has written books that investigate Scientology, al-Qaida, religion in America and the psychology of twinship, among other topics. He received the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction for The Looming Tower. His new book, Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin, and Sadat at Camp David is about “one of the great diplomatic triumphs of the twentieth century,” when an unpopular president was able behind the scenes to convince two proud, intransigent leaders of the Middle East to compromise. We ask Wright about uncovering the details of the story in this Kirkus TV interview. View video >


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