Lone Star Tarnished: A Critical Look at Texas Politics and Public Policy, 3rd Edition (Paperback) book cover

Lone Star Tarnished

A Critical Look at Texas Politics and Public Policy, 3rd Edition

By Cal Jillson


284 pages | 66 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2017-12-06
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Texas pride, like everything else in the state, is larger than life. So, too, perhaps, are the state’s challenges. Lone Star Tarnished, Third Edition approaches public policy in the nation’s most populous "red state" from historical, comparative, and critical perspectives. The historical perspective provides the scope for asking how various policy domains have developed in Texas history, regularly reaching back to the state’s founding and with substantial data for the period 1950 to the present. In each chapter, Cal Jillson compares Texas public policy choices and results with those of other states and the United States in general. Finally, the critical perspective allows us to question the balance of benefits and costs attendant to what is often referred to as "the Texas way" or "the Texas model." This is used best as a supplementary text for instructors of a course on Texas Politics who want to stress history, political culture, and public policy.

Jillson delves deeply into eight substantive policy chapters, covering the most important policy areas in which state governments are active. The third edition includes completely rewritten first and second chapters, as well as updates throughout the book and revised figures and tables. Also new to the third edition is a completely new chapter on higher education in Texas. Through Jillson’s lively and lucid prose, students are well equipped to analyse how Texas has done and is doing compared to selected states and the national average over time and today. Readers will also come away with the necessary tools to assess the many claims of Texas’s exceptionalism.

New to the Third Edition

  • Highlights major new actors in Texas politics, including Governor Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, George P. Bush, and a higher profile Ted Cruz.
  • Notes key policy developments in education, health care, transportation, energy and more resulting from the 2015 and 2017 legislative sessions and the arrival of the new Republican Trump administration in Washington.

  • Updates all tables and figures in the book, including a dozen new ones, assessing how Texas is doing in income, education, human services, transportation, energy, and the environment.
  • Includes an entirely new chapter on "Higher Education in Texas."


Praise for the Third Edition

Lone Star Tarnished is an indispensable resource for students and faculty who want to get beyond the basics of understanding Texas government. Cal Jillson presents the often overlooked roots and development for how our current policies came to be. The eye-opening and unvarnished history enriches classroom discussions and provides a framework for understanding Texas public policy and the serious consequences and disparate impact on contemporary Texans.

Cindy Castañeda, Eastfield College

Texas and its government face significant, complex challenges. This revised and enhanced edition of Cal Jillson’s Lone Star Tarnished not only affirms this but also helps us to understand these challenges with an engaging mosaic of history, data, and analysis, and encourages us to work for viable solutions. The new chapter on higher education is an excellent addition. This must-read book is an invitation to learn, to think critically, and to act, and I plan to continue to use it in my state government courses.

Eric V. Morrow, Tarleton State University

Table of Contents


Part I: The Great State of Texas?

1. The Texas Way

2. Texas: The Myth vs. the Reality

3. Demographic Change and Its Implications

Part II: The Reality Thus Far

4. Jobs, Income, and Wealth in Texas

5. Public Education in Texas

6. Higher Education in Texas

7. Health and Human Services in Texas

8. Crime and Punishment in Texas

9. Good Roads, Highways, and Transportation in Texas

10. Energy and the Environment in Texas

Part III: The Coming Reality

11. The Way Forward

About the Author

Cal Jillson is Professor in the Department of Political Science at Southern Methodist University. He is the author of American Government: Political Development and Institutional Change; Texas Politics: Governing the Lone Star State; Congressional Dynamics; Constitution-Making: Conflict and Consensus in the Federal Convention of 1787;and The American Dream in History, Politics, and Fiction.

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