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Big, Hot, Cheap, and Right: What America Can Learn from the Strange Genius of Texasby Erica Grieder
Synopses & Reviews
Texas may well be Americas most controversial state. Evangelicals dominate the halls of power, millions of its people live in poverty, and its death row is the busiest in the country. Skeptical outsiders have found much to be offended by in the states politics and attitude. And yet, according to journalist (and Texan) Erica Grieder, the United States has a great deal to learn from Texas.
In Big, Hot, Cheap, and Right, Grieder traces the political history of a state that was always larger than life. From its rowdy beginnings, Texas has combined a long-standing suspicion of government intrusion with a passion for business. Looking to the present, Greider assesses the unique mix of policies on issues like immigration, debt, taxes, regulation, and energy, which together have sparked a bonafide Texas Miracle of job growth. While acknowledging that it still has plenty of twenty-first-century problems to face, she finds in Texas a model of governance whose power has been drastically underestimated. Her book is a fascinating exploration of Americas underrated powerhouse.
"Journalist Grieder (a senior editor at Texas Monthly and former Southwest correspondent for The Economist) pens a primer on Texas that is serious and lighthearted in turn. She might as well have referred to the 'strange genesis' of Texas in her subtitle, as she runs through historical highlights and lowlights from the state's beginnings to explain its present. Grieder's account includes notably bizarre episodes, including the 1951 election in which both the governor and the state attorney general ran on both Democratic and Republican tickets, with the Democratic incarnations of each pulling easy victories. One of the book's main themes is that by its annexation, 'every single weird thing about Texas... was already established.' Another is that, despite its reputation, Texas is more than simply a bastion of conservative values, although the vaunted 'Texas model' is basically defined by a 'commitment to small government' as well as broad support for business. Grieder is never clear on whether this model is applicable or even appropriate for other states, but it works for Texas. Late in the book, she discusses the possibility that Texas might someday flip from being a red state to being a blue state. Anyone curious about or proud of Texas will find something of interest, as will readers of current politics. Agent: Salalyn Literary Agency." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Erica Grieders Texas is a state that is not only an outlier but an exaggeration of some of Americas most striking virtues and flaws. Big, Hot, Cheap, and Right is a witty, enlightening inquiry into how Texas works, and why, in the future, the rest of America may look a lot like Texas.
About the Author
Erica Grieder is a senior editor at Texas Monthly. From 2007-2012, she covered Texas as the southwest correspondent for The Economist, to which she still contributes. Her writing has also appeared in the New York Times, the Spectator, the Atlantic, Foreign Policy, and the New Republic. She lives in Austin.
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History and Social Science » Americana » Texas