Texas is one of the few states of the United States that has seen and experienced a lot over the years. It has a history of cruelty, war, and rich oilmen doing everything they can to exploit the lower-middle class of their time. Although it offers splendid natural beauty as well but it is often neglected since the majority of Texans like to read and share what is written about them. Whatever the case maybe there is infact some joy in discovering the Texas the world does not know about. And what better way of doing it other than reading? Here’s a list of 10 famous books about Texas that share everything you need to know about one of the most popular destinations in the world.
The Son by Philipp Meyer
The Son by Philipp Meyer is arguable the best book written about Texas. It is neither fact nor fiction but a combination of both that adds to its charm and beauty. The novel had went onto become such a hit that it was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. The novel is about a young boy named Eli, whose family is wiped out by the Comanche raiders in 1851. The raiders train him and slowly make him part of their tribe. As a result, he learns to hunt, fight and love like the Comanche but then he is forced to return to the Anglo civilization as the Comanche raiders themselves are wiped out as well. Eli then leads an 80-year old quest, fighting his enemies using the techniques taught by Comanche raiders and dominated the oil sector. His legacy was then carried by a trail of sons left behind.
Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
McCarthy’s Blood Meridian is a masterpiece that is based on a kid who in 1849, leaves his Tennessee home for Texas. It wouldn’t be long until he becomes a member of the Apache scalp-hunters gang led by John Joel Glanton, a former Texas Ranger. The book is a combination of blood-soaked misdeeds and cruelty against humanity. One of the key characters of the book is Judge Holden who is a scholarly and murderous member of the seven-foot member of Glanton’s gang. In addition to that, the judge is also a chemist, artist, and botanist, etc. It is said that he along with the other members might be the actual historical figures as well.
Lone Star: A History of Texas and the Texans by T.R. Fehrenbach
Lone Star by T.R. Fehrenbach is the best one-volume Texas history that makes us revisit the days of Spanish conquistadors through the revolution and republic all the way to the recessions and depressions of the 20th century. It is one of the very few books, against the standard of which other books are judged.
Big Wonderful Thing: A History of Texas by Stephen Harrigan
The big wonderful by Stephen Harrigan is yet another masterpiece by the author. One can say that it is the continuation and upgradation of Fehrenbach and the history of the lone star. One thing a reader must note when reading the book is the intrinsic details by Harrigan that are beyond amazing. The attention paid to the marginalized groups, native people, and African Americans is simply compelling.
Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History by S.C. Gwyne
S.C. Gwyne in his non-fiction book discussed the last great war chief of the Quahadi-Comanche tribe Quannah Parker and Jack Coffee Hays, who taught the Angelo-Texans how to fight and put up a battle against Comanches in combat. A key factor to notice is that Gwyne tends to be a fantastic stylist and a great storyteller. To read and become aware of the rise and fall of Comanche people is both thrilling and devastating.
The Searchers by Alan Le May
The Searchers by Alan Le May was the base of a 1965 film by John Ford. It was believed to be the director’s masterpiece. However, May’s book about a former Texas Ranger and his search for his kidnapped niece in 1869 is nothing short of a gem as well.
The Evolution of a State, Or, Recollections of Old Texas Days by Noah Smithwick
Noah Smithwick dedicated this memoir to his daughter and narrated the firsthand account of the Anglo civilization settlement along with the revolution and the Republic lean years. It is hard to find a better book that highlights key events and situations taking place in Texas in the mid-19th century. From Lincoln’s elections to the Union led by Smitchwick himself, this book is a golden piece of its time.
Texian Illiad: A Military History of the Texas Revolution by Stephen L. Hardin
The Texian Illiad is a brilliant military history of the texas revolution and every engagement from a battle over a busted canon in October 1835 to Sam Houston’s unlikely and ultimately brilliant triumph over Santa Anna’s army in April 1836. You will also come across historical figures such as William Travis, Davy Crockett, and Jim Bowie.
The Liars’ Club by Mary Karr
Mary Karr in her memoir the Liars’ club offers humor, laughs, and crying. It is a unique approach to learning about Texas but a reader is guaranteed to enjoy the experience. This memoir set an example of the creative writing programs of the future after its publication in 1995. It is one of the few books on Texas that still finds its place in the hearts of Texans who take pride in what they have achieved and mutually share over the years.
Chronicles of the Narvaez Expedition by Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca
The Chronicles of the Narvaez Expedition is one of the best books about Texas. This book is about Cabeza de Vaca who was a Spanish conquistador, shipwrecked off the coast of Texas in the 1520s. it is a unique and strange story of friendship, survival, and subjugation. It gives the readers an insight of the New World before it was touched by Old Europe.
Each author has taken a different approach to explain the events, wars, and the fall and rise of civilizations that led to the Texas we see today. While some authors used humor to explain the events, others made memoirs to keep the books ever special.