Lone Star Tarnished

A Critical Look at Texas Politics and Public Policy

By Cal Jillson

© 2012 – Routledge

288 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415808774
pub: 2012-02-09
Not for sale in your shipping region.
Hardback: 9780415808767
pub: 2012-03-22
Not for sale in your shipping region.

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About the Book

Texas pride, like everything else in the state, is larger than life. So, too, perhaps, are the state’s challenges. Lone Star Tarnished 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."

Jillson delves deeply into seven substantive policy chapters, covering the most important policy areas in which state governments are active. Through his lively and lucid prose, students are well equipped to analyze 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.


"Take a few moments and review the table of contents of Lone Star Tarnished and when you finish you will be drawn to reading it. This book will help your students understand Texas as it is, not as how we would like it to be—it shows the pimples and zits along with the big sky and big potential of our State. Lone Star Tarnished will make a solid impression on first and second year students and it will be worth the cost."

—Jeffrey Berry, South Texas Community College

"Lone Star Tarnished provides the most comprehensive treatment of Texas politics and policy on the market. Jillson brings an historical approach to the subject matter that offers great insights into the evolution of policy in Texas and will provoke great debate among students and public policy scholars alike."

—Jennifer Clark, University of Houston

"Lone Star Tarnished is an insightful inquiry into the history and future of public policy in Texas. The author attempts to strip away many of the myths attached to the "Texas way" while focusing on the issues the state must address in order to fulfill its promises to future generations of Texans."

—Albert Waite, Central Texas College

"Lone Star Tarnished provides a critical analysis of the public policies of the state of Texas. This analysis should help students understand what the true strengths and weaknesses are to the Texas approach to public policy."

—John Todd, University of North Texas

"This text fills a void in the Texas government textbook literature by offering a broad discussion of public policy in Texas. Most importantly, it allows students to see how Texas compares in various quality of life categories with the other 49 states. That alone will lead students to question why Texas government is not doing a better job serving its constituents."

—Brian K. Dille, Odessa College

"Lone Star Tarnished successfully confronts the difficult challenge of writing a text about Texas politics and public policy that is both interesting and informative. The blend of historical background with current Texas government and politics not only enlightens and educates, it offers a roadmap of Texas’s future in important areas of public life. The chapter on public education, in particular, should be required reading of anyone interested in understanding the link between past, present, and, most importantly, future developments in Texas education policy."

—Jerry Polinard, The University of Texas–Pan American

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. Health and Human Services in Texas 7. Crime and Punishment in Texas 8. Good Roads, Highways, and Transportation in Texas 9. Energy and the Environment in Texas Part III: The Coming Reality 10. The Way Forward

About the Author

Cal Jillson is Professor in the department of political science at Southern Methodist University.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:

Additional Resources

Texas Public Radio – Texas Matters, March 23, 2012, Segment 3 is devoted to Lone Star Tarnished