Lone Star Mind
Reimagining Texas History
Published by: University of Oklahoma Press
Imprint: University of Oklahoma Press
296 Pages | 6 x 9 | 1 b&w illus. and 1 map
There is the story the Lone Star State likes to tell about itself—and then there is the reality, a Texas past that bears little resemblance to the manly Anglo myth of Texas exceptionalism that maintains a firm grip on the state’s historical imagination. Lone Star Mind takes aim at this traditional narrative, holding both academic and lay historians accountable for the ways in which they craft the state’s story. A clear-sighted, far-reaching work of intellectual history, this book marshals a wide array of pertinent scholarship, analysis, and original ideas to point the way toward a new “usable past” that twenty-first-century Texans will find relevant.
Ty Cashion fixes T. R. Fehrenbach’s Lone Star: A History of Texas and the Texans in his crosshairs in particular, laying bare the conceptual deficiencies of the romantic and mythic narrative the book has served to codify since its first publication in 1968. At the same time, Cashion explores the reasons why the collective efforts of university-trained scholars have failed to diminish the appeal of the state’s iconic popular culture, despite the fuller and more accurate record these historians have produced.
Framing the search for a collective Texan identity in the context of a post-Christian age and the end of Anglo-male hegemony, Lone Star Mind illuminates the many historiographical issues besetting the study of American history that will resonate with scholars in other fields as well. Cashion proposes that a cultural history approach focusing on the self-interests of all Texans is capable of telling a more complete story—a story that captures present-day realities.
“Ty Cashion has written an optimistic and ultimately cheerful book: He argues that we have arrived at a tipping point, a point where drawing from the best of traditional history and revisionist history and inspired by the recent emphasis on cultural history a new organizing principle can emerge that unites historians and all Texans. Cashion believes that out of this yet-to-be-fully-determined organizing principle a new, more ‘usable’ history will evolve that better fits the culturally diverse present-day Texas. For those interested in the interaction of popular culture and history, and for those searching for a way forward from the divisiveness of our times, this is a must-read.”—Walter L. Buenger, author of The Path to a Modern South: Northeast Texas between Reconstruction and the Great Depression
“…Cashion’s message will be well received by scholars, due both to its optimism as well as its rich accounting for what “Texas” has meant across time. Whether the gap between popular Texas history and academic Texas history can ever be bridged, though—especially given the deep divisions in the state that Cashion accounts for, not to mention the larger political fracturing of the early twenty-first century United States—remains to be seen. Nonetheless, Lone Star Mind is a deeply thoughtful book that all Texas historians should read."—Panhandle-Plains Historical Review
“Lone Star Mind leads the reader through the processes of how communities construct and deploy narratives of the past, and it confirms that Cashion remains one of the more perceptive scholars of Texas history and culture.”— The Journal of Southern History