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Every Texan has an opinion. And everyone else has an opinion about Texas. Quotable Texas is where these two factions meet to form a rich repository of the piquant thoughts, curious notions, and memorable ideas that have been expressed about Texas through the years.
Texans are people of the word written, spoken, sung. That’s not the stereotype, of course. Texans are doers, men and women of action. They’re Davy Crockett swinging Ol’ Betsy as the Alamo falls, Texas Rangers nabbing desperados in the South Texas brush country, cowboys riding rip-snortin’ Brahma bulls on the West Texas prairie, hell-for-leather oilmen punching holes in the earth until they hit the big one. Texas is all those things, but it is also the birthplace and incubator of thoughtful humorists, outlandish artists, outspoken politicians, soulful musicians, history-making athletes, and history-changing scholars. Whether it’s Sam Houston excoriating his political rivals, the late Molly Ivins satirizing the state legislature or memoirist Mary Karr recounting the eccentricities of small-town life in East Texas, the denizens of the Lone Star State have no compunction about expressing themselves.
Quotable Texas is a collection of some of the most memorable lines, regretful remarks, and soulful sayings ever muttered about the Lone Star State or by one of its descendants. Quotes cover most of the nearly 300,000 square miles of America's second largest state, from the stark landscape of Big Bend to the great lakes of Austin to the towering pine forests of Houston. From early explorers like Cabeza de Vaca and Frederick Law Olmstead to famed writers like Cormac McCarthy and Annie Proulx to artists and celebrities like Richard Linklater, Georgia O’Keeffe, Oprah Winfrey, and Beyonce, everyone who's anyone has had something to say. Don't mess with Texas. Everything’s bigger in Texas. And above all else, remember the Alamo.
Native Texan Joe Holley is a former editorial page editor and columnist for newspapers in San Antonio and San Diego and a staff writer for The Washington Post. He has been a regular contributor to Texas Monthly and Columbia Journalism Review and is the author of three books, The Purse Bearer: A Novel of Love, Lust and Texas Politics, a memoir with his wife entitled My Mother’s Keeper: A Daughter’s Journey Through the Shadow of Schizophrenia and a biography of football hero Sammy Baugh, Slingin' Sam: The Life and Times of the Greatest Quarterback Ever to Play the Game. His column "Native Texan", about Texas places and people, runs every Sunday in the Houston Chronicle.