Title: The Story of TexasThe Story of Texas
Author: John Edward Weems
Illustrator: Tom Jones
Pages: 220
Recommended Ages: 8 & up
Star Rating: ★★★★

I’m a Louisiana girl transplanted in Tennessee by way of Texas. So you might say I’ve experienced the flavors of a few different states. My perspective on TX (developed during the four years that I lived there), is that Texans are very patriotic about themselves. To a Texan, nothing is better than the good ole’ Lone Star State – pass the boots and run over armadillos!

Okay, so maybe that’s an over-generalization. But the core spirit – Texas Forever – is not. I found this sentiment alternatively amusing, endearing, and annoying while I lived there, but I’ve gotta say, reading The Story of Texas made me understand the almost nationalistic air Texas has about itself. And it’s because Texas once was its own nation.

I’m not sure how I missed that bit in my American history course, but I did. I had never before realized that for a short period, Texas was indeed the Republic of Texas. I knew all about Texas’ struggle for independence from Mexico, but I never caught that Texas didn’t just slip straight into the U.S. They became their own country and elected several presidents to office before joining the United States.

[And promptly seceding. #whut]

But really, The Story of Texas starts much farther back than the war with Mexico (although it does camp on that struggle for a nice chunk of the text). It begins with the discovery of Texas by Europeans in the 1500s and the developments it underwent under its Spanish, then French holders. Nor does it end with the tale of the Alamo – it continues on into the 1900s, outlining Texas’ role as Cattle Central during the late 1800s and the subsequent discovery of oil on its premises. Texas’ part in the important wars of the 20th century is discussed, as well as the unique brand of bravery its soil produces.

The first four pages of the book present an evolutionary perspective on the earliest settling of Texas. Random “prehistoric” dates are thrown around, but this only occupies a tiny bit of attention.

Of more concern are the numerous illustrations which depict Native Americans in minimal amounts of clothing. These could easily be covered or else, tolerated.

Probably my only complaint about The Story of Texas is that, though many illustrations are included, few descriptions are given to explain the pictures.

Conclusion. A good outline of Texan history – aspiring cowboys should enjoy this book. :)

Review © 2014 Laura Verret

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