Cowboy conservatism : Texas and the rise of the modern right /

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Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator:Cunningham, Sean P.
Imprint:Lexington, Ky. : University Press of Kentucky, c2010.
Description:xvi, 293 p. : ill., maps ; 24 cm.
Series:New directions in Southern history
New directions in southern history.
Subject:Conservatism -- Texas -- History -- 20th century.
Politics and government
Texas -- Politics and government -- 1951-
Format: Print Book
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Hidden Bibliographic Details
ISBN:9780813125763 (hardcover : alk. paper)
0813125766 (hardcover : alk. paper)
Notes:Includes bibliographical references and index.
Review by Choice Review

The shift in Texas's political alignment from solid Democrat to solid Republican happened between 1963 with the assassination of John F. Kennedy and 1980 with the election of Ronald Reagan. Cunningham (Texas Tech Univ.) looks at political events local, statewide, and national to show how Texans stopped perceiving the Democratic Party as their natural allies and began to believe that conservative Republicanism better suited their worldview. He draws heavily from secondary sources for the first two chapters, but relies on archival sources for the rest of the book. Papers of political figures, speeches, newspaper and magazine articles, and oral histories all give credence to the arguments. The first chapter is a good political history of Texas to 1960. The turmoil of the 1960s moved Texans to feel a need for law and order and to exhibit extreme patriotism. The Republican Party repackaged itself to promote these ideals. Infighting among Texas Democrats and scandal in both parties hastened the change, as did Texans' anti-Washington bias. Jimmy Carter's failures as president coincided with Ronald Reagan's capitalizing on Texans' new ideologies. The book is easy to read and appropriate for anyone who likes political histories. Summing Up: Recommended. All levels/libraries. J. A. Stuntz West Texas A&M University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Cunningham, a native of Texas and a teacher at Texas Tech, chronicles the pivotal years between the assassination of JFK and Ronald Reagan's ascension to power in the ¿80s, which coincided with the swing of his state from blue to red. Texas has been a national political bellwether and was, by 1963 (when liberal LBJ carried the state in a landslide), a bastion of the growing conservative movement. By 1980, the state had adopted Reagan as a native son and moved into the Republican camp. Cunningham attributes some of the shift to postwar urbanization and the transformation of what had been a largely agrarian state into "the most vibrant economy in the country," oil rich and home to leading companies. Texas has a "unique political heritage notable for its colorful personalities, its conservative commitment to tradition and loyalty," libertarian values, racial conflicts, and a history that includes the Alamo. In a book that should interest students of political history, Cunningham deftly weaves these threads into the tapestry of national politics. "The rise of modern Texas conservatism not only coincided with a similar ascendancy nationwide, but also gave the movement shape and momentum." Photos. (May) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

Review by Choice Review

Review by Publisher's Weekly Review