Where the West Begins
Debating Texas Identity
Published by: Texas Tech University Press
Imprint: Texas Tech University Press
Sales Date: June 2011
Unsure which of its legacies are true and which to embrace, Texas grapples with an identity crisis. One camp insists that the state’s roots in slavery, segregation, and cotton make it southern. Another argues that its Native and ranching history make it western. Outside Texas, southern and western historians who don’t know what to make of the state ignore it altogether. In his innovative settling of the question, Glen Sample Ely examines the state’s historical DNA, making sense of Lone Star identity west of the hundredth meridian and defining Texas’s place in the American West. Focusing on the motives that shape how Texans appropriate their past—from cashing in on tourism to avoiding historical realities—Ely reveals the inner workings of a multiplicity of Texas identities.