Passionate Nation: The Epic History of Texas

Front Cover
Simon and Schuster, 2006 - History - 636 pages
3 Reviews
Texas has become the most American of all the states. Texas's politics has taken over in Washington, and Texas's passionate sense of itself as a nation is echoed by the fervent patriotism of tens of millions of Americans. Texas is also our most outsized hodgepodge -- of Latino, black, white, Asian; of characters who transcend any category. In so many ways, America today is Texas writ large.

In Passionate Nation James L. Haley offers a comprehensive and definitive history of this singular and singularly American state, a history that explains how Texas became Texas, even before it became such a central national symbol for America. Haley peers through the lens of the extraordinary "ordinary" men and women who have streamed to Texas from its beginnings, and created it in their own contradictory, uncontrollable image.

He recovers elements bowdlerized by previous and more prudish generations, such as the discovery, by sixteenth-century explorer Cabeza de Vaca, of Indian warriors living in conjugal relationships with male eunuchs. He presents documents never before published, such as a rare appeal for aid from the town of Gonzales on the eve of the Texas Revolution. He restores to the history important figures who have been allowed to drop from the usual recitation, such as Benjamin Lundy, who almost single-handedly prevented the Texas Republic from being annexed to the United States for nearly a decade. He corrects the record at every turn, starting with the fact that Jane Lundy was not the "mother of Texas." Throughout, he uses great stories to present the passion of people who lived and worried and suffered and laughed.

The first Indians settled in Texas in about 10,000 B.C.; the first Europeans arrived in the early sixteenth century. Since then, the land that is now Texas has belonged to six powers at eight different times: Spain (1519-1685), France (to 1690), Spain again (to 1821), Mexico (to 1836), the Republic of Texas (to 1845), the U.S.A. (to 1861), the Confederacy (to 1865), and the U.S.A. to stay. From Jim Bowie's and Davy Crockett's myth-enshrouded stand at the Alamo to the Mexican-American War to Sam Houston's heroic failed effort to keep Texas in the Union during the Civil War, the transitions in Texas history have often been as painful and tense as the "normal" periods in between. Here, in all of its epic grandeur, is the story of Texas as its own passionate nation, a history that shows that circumstances can radically change, yet culture and character can last for centuries.
  

What people are saying - Write a review

Review: Passionate Nation: The Epic History of Texas

User Review  - Phil Brown - Goodreads

The first 75-80% were great---entertaining, lively, everything. The last bit (right after the turn of the century) seemed to drag on. It wasn't the writing, more that I just don't find that era particularly interesting. Read full review

Review: Passionate Nation: The Epic History of Texas

User Review  - James - Goodreads

Every Texan should read this book! Read full review

Contents

Smiling Captors
3
The Cities of Gold
11
So Beset with Hardships
17
Imperial Competition
23
Souls Without Gold
32
Love and Booty
36
The Empty Quarter
40
Mission Life
47
Nothing Wanting Nothing Too Much
252
The State of Texas
261
Life in the Lone Star State
271
Still More Fighting
282
Slavery and Secession
288
A Little Terror
296
The War in Texas
303
Forty Acres and a Mule
315

Americans
51
Green Flag Red Blood
55
Strange Bedfellows
60
FROM EMPRESARIOS TO INDEPENDENCE
65
A Connecticut Yankee in King Ferdinands Court
67
The Young Empresario
73
Pelts Passed Current
79
Gone to Texas
87
A Finger in the Dike
95
Almost a Black Colony
98
Flashpoint Doused
102
Sam Houston Late of Tennessee
107
The Quiet Before the Storm
113
Come and Take It
118
Who Will Go with Old Ben Milam? 12 6
126
Pretended Government
134
Am Determined to Die Like a Soldier
142
The New Nation
148
Brilliant Pointless Pyrrhic
154
How Did Davy Die?
162
The IllFated Fannin
168
You Must Fight Them
178
The Battle of San Jacinto
185
FROM NATION TO STATE
195
Independence and the Southern Conspiracy
197
A New Country a New City
206
Poet and President
217
The Sanguinary Savage
223
Retrenchment
233
The Annexation Quickstep
243
Scalawags and Carpetbaggers
325
CATTLE EMPIRE
337
Clearing the Plains
339
Buffalo Days
350
The Red River War
359
Cattle Empire
370
The Populist Movement
383
Life by Mail Order
393
Final Raids
399
Western Anchor
405
Law vs Outlaw
411
Political Evolution
419
God Goes Primitive
425
Gaining Culture
433
OIL EMPIRE
441
Early Gushers
443
A New Century
448
Valley of the Shadow
455
Intelligent Patriotism and Flying Machines
462
Flappers and Fergusonism
472
So Long Its Been Good to Know
487
More Fergusons and Worse
493
Texas at War Again
504
Climbing Jacobs Ladder
519
A Flowering of Texas Letters
530
Changes Faster and Faster
546
Afterword
555
Selected Sources and Further Reading
561
Index
589
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2006)

James L. Haley grew up in Fort Worth, Texas, and graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with a degree in political science. His works of history include Sam Houston: A Life (2002), which won nine historical and literary awards, The Buffalo War (1976), and Apaches (1981). He is also the author of four novels.

Bibliographic information