During the 2011 state legislative session, the Capitol press corps spent several months salivating at the prospect of Rick Perry running for president. For journalists, commentators and bloggers, “Perry for Prez” would turn the attention of the whole nation to Texas. And so it did. National broadsheets discussed Perry’s boasts about the state; national pundits debated the “Texas miracle”; and local journos, like Erica Grieder, got in on the action — blogging, aggregating, commenting on the commentators, following the governor to cool places like Iowa, and generally having a good time.
Of course, when Perry crashed out, the conversation about Texas tapered off. Grieder wants that conversation to continue. Therefore she embarks on a mission — in 250 pages — to demystify Texas, to reiterate its strengths, and to trace the historical roots of those things that make home such an acquired taste. This is an admirable task, which — despite some rich seams of first-rate analysis — Grieder doesn’t quite manage to pull off.
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