The book is more about the history of Texas than about human nature. The underlying theme is that the history of Texas was a ruthless fight for survival of the fittest. I expected that the book would have left me, as someone who doesn't live in America, with an admiration for those who struggled to survive in the harsh and huge world of Texas, but it left me with a feeling of disappointment at the outcome on the various peoples who lived in that vast State over the last 150 years. There is a comparison in the beginning with the rise and fall of the Roman Empire. Texas unfortunately is not the Roman Empire, which had much to be proud of.
Modern Texas seems to be a consequence of this struggle in many ways – gun culture, Yahoos, capital punishment, incarceration 20% higher than US average (5 times Australia’s), lack of freedom from religion (up until recently atheists couldn’t join the government service, Mega churches of the religious right dominate politics), big divide between rich and poor etc. There are of course positives the state is prosperous with low taxes and lots of development. The state has a strong culture of personal freedom to do what you like rather than the nanny culture often prevalent in Australia. An item in today’s news is a drive by shooting where car pulled alongside another and shot a passenger dead for no apparent reason. The Sheriff called in a random drive by shooting, not unusual in Texas apparently.
The modern history of Texas is told through the eyes of three people over many generations of the McCullough dynasty. The characters Eli McCullough, Peter McCullough and Jeannie McCullough didn’t seem to change much from childhood to grave. None of them seemed very admirable Eli and Jeanne were both ruthless. They seem to acquire wealth and power for its own sake. The only purpose seemed to be some Nietzschean one of the strong vanquishing the weak. This being what the weak deserve. Peter had a sense of morality lacking in the others but was weak and ineffective in implementation. A couple of the minor characters the Indian Chief Toshaway and Judge Black seemed admirable.
The style of jumping back and forth in time seemed appropriate. Some of the descriptions such as how to use all of a buffalo were tedious. 3 out of 5.
- Paperback: 576 pages
- Publisher: ADULT LOCAL VINTAGE - MASS MKT; 1 edition (2 June 2014)
- ISBN-10: 1742754341
- ISBN-13: 978-1742754345
- Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 3.6 x 20 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 381 g
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
92,473 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #11269 in New Age Religion & Spirituality (Books)