Texas may well be America’s 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 state’s 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, Grieder assesses the unique mix of policies on issues like immigration, debt, taxes, regulation, and energy, which together have sparked a bona fide Texas miracle of job growth. While acknowledging that it still has plenty of 21st-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 America’s underrated powerhouse.
“Thirty years from now there’s a good chance that most of America will look like Texas and somehow, improbably, using some strange dark prose magic, Erica Grieder has managed to convince me that might actually not be so bad. Written with verve and nuance, this is a fascinating, provocative read. If there were a book like this for each state I’d read every one.”—Chris Hayes, MSNBC host and author of Twilight of the Elites
“Texas isn’t the uninhabitable right-wing bully East Coast howlers imagine and it’s not the open range paradise described by free-market myth-makers. Erica Grieder describes the state as it is—a place shaped (and misshapen) by its past and by the entirely human characters who live there. She is a sure-footed guide, pointing out what is to be admired and warning when we had best watch our step.”—Bill Bishop, coauthor of The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America Is Tearing Us Apart
“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…Anyone curious about or proud of Texas will find something of interest, as will readers of current politics.”—Publishers Weekly
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Loved this book!
I moved to Texas just in the last year and this book gave me a fantastic overview of the state, its politics, economics and unique sensibilities. The book also offers fascinating historical context that amplified my understanding of contemporary issues.
- christy carpenter
- Joel Sackett