Gone to Texas

  • by Randolph B. Campbell
  • Narrated by Jacob Sommer
  • 28 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Gone to Texas engagingly tells the story of the Lone Star State, from the arrival of humans in the Panhandle more than 10,000 years ago to the opening of the 21st Century. Focusing on the state's successive waves of immigrants, the audiobook offers an inclusive view of the vast array of Texans who, often in conflict with each other and always in a struggle with the land, created a history and an idea of Texas.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Good history from year zero through about 1962

Would you listen to Gone to Texas again? Why?

GTT has a lot of specific election and demographic data about Texas, it is a good reference for that sort thing.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Gone to Texas?

The early history of Texas and the details about the various Texas Native American tribes.

Any additional comments?

The author is clearly a liberal Democrat. That's fine for most of the book, but it distorts his telling of the history of post WWII Texas.

To give you one example, he connects Lee Harvey Oswald with vague 'conservative groups'. He never mentions that Oswald was literally a card carrying Communist.

The narrator has an excellent reading voice, but he was let down by an incompetent producer. Sommer has no idea how to pronounce the many Tejano based personal and place names we use in Texas.

It took me a while to figure out who this 'Juan Sagwin' person was for example. I'd never heard of 'U-va-lee' Texas, which is really pronounced 'U-vall-dee'. Many names and place names are mangled this way.

It's the job of the audio book producer to catch these kinds of mistakes, not the narrator.

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- Jim In Texas! "I'm just a big kid."

exhaustive, and a little exhausting

This is a long book, at almost 30 hours, and if you're like me and listen to your Audible books during your commute (and you live close to work) it takes a while to get through it. But I'm glad I did. Campbell tells the story of Texas from the arrival of the first settlers 10,000 years ago until the 21st century. What I like a lot about the book is that it tells the story of Texas from the point of view of each of its peoples, not just the American legends and history we were all taught in school (if you went to school in Texas).
For the Anglos, Texas was a great opportunity to acquire cheap and fertile land and become independent of whatever ills they left behind in the old United States, and after the Civil War, a place for southern refugees to escape the destruction of the south and start over. For Germans and Jews fleeing oppression and chaos in Europe, it offered an open landscape with few limitations. And later, opportunities for people from around the world.
For the Mexicans, it's is the story of losing a country to immigrants who, for the most part, had no interest in the language, flag, religion or customs of their newly adopted home. Mexicans were crowded out by sheer numbers, institutionalized discrimination and occasional violence. More recently Mexicans and other Hispanics have returned and will soon predominate in Texas once again.
For African Americans, the story of Texas begins with the forced relocation from home and family, as slave owners brought their slaves to Texas to grow cotton and other crops. Later came Jim Crow, the KKK, segregation and the battle for civil rights. The history of African Americans in Texas is not a pretty one.
For the native Americans the story of Texas is about dislocation, betrayal and annihilation, the end of a battle that had begun decades before Texas was even a destination.
The author shows us the rise of the myth of the cowboy, from its beginnings on Mexican haciendas to the glory days of the cattle drives. We learn the origins and history of the Texas Rangers (not the baseball team, although that's discussed as well) - the good as well as the bad. We learn the details of Mexican political history that led to the rise and fall of Santa Anna and the revolution. Of course the battles of the Texas Revolution are covered, as well as enough biography (good and bad) of each of the players to get a real feel for the personalities on all sides of the question of Texas independence.
It's especially interesting, as a 5th generation Texan, to hear the stories behind the men whose names cover the Texas map. Not just Austin and Houston, but Lubbock and Worth and Throckmorton and Rice and Navarro and on and on - all the place names I associate with my travels around the state.
I also enjoyed hearing the details of the political debates from the past 200 years. You'll recognize them as exactly the same as what you hear today in election ads.
My only real objection to the audio book is the reader. A book on Texas should be read by a Texan, someone who knows how to pronounce words like Mexia and Wichita, he even gets Clements wrong.
But if you can get past that, you'll find this a very interesting, complete and thought provoking history of all the millions of people who have gone to Texas.
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- Bailey "bhankiii"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-24-2013
  • Publisher: Audible Studios