Texas by James Michener

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Finally finished this, all 1,500 pages of it! Just in time for the new series of Dallas, which starts next week – yay! (BTW, am I the only person who gets the theme tune from the 1980s cartoon going through their heads whenever the phrase “cities of gold” is used?) It’s one of those books which aims to tell the story of a particular place through the history of several different families.

It begins in the 1530s, which obviously raises questions about the ignoring of the history of the area before European settlers arrived; but that’s how he chose to write it. The actual history element of the book was pretty well done … although I’ve got no idea what the massacre of Glencoe was supposed to have to do with someone moving from Scotland to Northern Ireland and then to Texas in the 1820s! However, it was all a bit too “Anglo”. The Hispanic families faded into the background once the book got to the Reconstruction era, the German family didn’t feature that much, there was nothing from the viewpoint of Comanche characters and there was very little from the viewpoint of black characters. And there was virtually no mention of any white or black characters from a non-Christian background. This isn’t about being “politically correct”; it’s about reflecting the demographics and the history of Texas. Also, there were too many people coming and going.

Not the greatest book I’ve ever read, but an interesting read.

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