Book Review: “As Texas Goes ...” By Gail Collins
“New York Times” columnist’s book isn't afraid to poke jabs at the politics of the Lone Star State.
Reviewed By John Wilwol
Comments () | Published June 1, 2012
Book Review: “As Texas Goes ...” By Gail Collins
Publisher: Liveright
Price: $25.95

New York Times columnist Gail Collins got interested in Texas after a 2009 Tea Party rally at which Rick Perry toyed with the idea of secession. But when a friend sent her a story out of Dallas—man allegedly beat woman with frozen armadillo—she decided to devote a book to the “scrappy” state. As Texas Goes . . . reads like a Collins column: well researched, often funny. “If we lived in a world where parents and teachers always got their first choice when it came to teenagers’ sexual behavior,” she writes of Texas’s embrace of abstinence-only sex ed, “Texas would be so in the vanguard.”

Texans’ political identity, she argues, is based on the myth that the state has so much empty space that government isn’t really necessary. Fine, Collins says, unless “a) There really isn’t plenty of room, or b) You are not actually leaving me alone.” And she argues that Texas, through its policies, isn’t leaving us alone. For example, its antipathy toward federally funded contraception, she notes, leads to a high rate of pregnancies among poor mothers in the US, 60 percent of whom qualify for Medicaid. “Happy to be of help,” she writes, but shouldn’t all taxpayers get to “at least make sure poor women who don’t want to be pregnant have easy access to federally funded contraception?”

It’s hard to imagine Lone Star politicians buying much in this book, but one thing’s inarguable: Gail Collins ain’t afraid to mess with Texas.

This article appears in the June 2012 issue of The Washingtonian.


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Posted at 10:55 AM/ET, 06/01/2012 RSS | Print | Permalink | Comments () | Books