God Save Texas (Wright) - Discussion Questions

Discussion Questions
We'll add publisher questions if and when they're available; in the meantime, use our LitLovers talking points to help start a discussion for GOD SAVE TEXAS … then take off on your own:

1. Overall, how well do you think Lawrence Wright portrays the state of Texas? Is his assessment fair or unfair? Do you detect a scent of elitism or not? What aspects of Texan history, culture, and politics does he admire? Of what is he critical?

2. Follow-up to Question 1: If you are from Texas (native or transplant), how accurate is Wright's depiction of the state? Do you have familiarity with any of the events and landmarks he mentions? What are your favorite and/or least favorite associations and memories of living there?

3. Follow-up to Question 1: If you are not from Texas, what are your opinions of the state? Has Wright's book altered your perceptions for better or worse? Are you inspired to visit the state? If so, where would you like to go, and what would you like to see or experience while there?

4. Why do Texas and Texans inspire such strong reactions, often outrage as Wright points out, from non-residents?

5. Politically, Wright says of the state: "It should be as reliably blue as California. Instead, he says, "it is the Red Planet in the political universe." Care to comment on that?

6. What does Wright mean when he talks about a state "culture that is still raw, not fully formed, standing on the margins but also growing in influence, dangerous and magnificent in its potential"?

7. Talk about the many stereotypes people have of Texans: "cowboy individualism, a kind of wary friendliness, super-patriotism combined with defiance of all government authority, a hair trigger sense of grievance, nostalgia for an ersatz past that is largely an artifact of Hollywood." Are those fair attributes, overdrawn, or simply a bunch of tiresome cliches? What would you add to the list and what would you remove from it?

8. Why did Wright return to Texas, having fled the state after high school while attempting to do, as he writes, "everything I could to cleanse myself of its influence"?

9. In what way does Texas, according to Wright, portend America's future? Good thing, bad thing, or why bother to judge?

10. Discuss some of the dichotomies that permeate the state—world-class cultural institutions, for instance, juxtaposed with dire poverty?

11. What factors are driving the state's astonishing growth, both economically and demographically?

12. If you live outside of Texas, do you resent Texas, or envy her …or merely wish the state well?

(Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online and off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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