Trillin on Texas by Calvin Trillin
(Bridwell Texas History Series)

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Synopsis

"Yes, I do have a Texas connection, but, as we say in the Midwest, where I grew up, not so's you'd know it." So Calvin Trillin introduces this collection of articles and poems about a place that turns up surprisingly often when he's ostensibly writing about something else. Whether reporting on the American scene for the New Yorker, penning comic verse and political commentary for the Nation, or writing his memoirs, Trillin has bumped into Texas again and again. He insists that "this has not been by design . . . there has simply been a lot going on in Texas." Astute readers will note, however, that Trillin's family immigrated to the United States through the port of Galveston, and, after reading this book, many will believe that the Lone Star State has somehow imprinted itself in the family's imagination.Trillin on Texas gathers some of Trillin's best writing on subjects near to his heart—politics, true crime, food, and rare books, among them—which also have a Texas connection. Indulging his penchant for making "snide and underhanded jokes about respectable public officials," he offers his signature sardonic take on the Bush dynasty and their tendency toward fractured syntax; a faux, but quite believable, LBJ speech; and wry portraits of assorted Texas county judges, small town sheriffs, and Houston immigration lawyers. Trillin takes us on a mouthwatering pilgrimage to the barbecue joint that Texas Monthly proclaimed the best in Texas and describes scouting for books with Larry McMurtry—who rejects all of his "sleepers." He tells the stories of two teenagers who dug up half a million dollars in an ice chest on a South Texas ranch and of rare book dealer Johnny Jenkins, who was found floating in the Colorado River with a bullet wound in the back of his head. And he recounts how redneck movie reviewer "Joe Bob Briggs" fueled a war between Dallas's daily newspapers and pays tribute to two courageous Texas women who spoke truth to power—Molly Ivins and Sissy Farenthold.Sure to entertain Texans and other folks alike, Trillin on Texas proves once again that Calvin Trillin is one of America's shrewdest observers and wittiest writers.
 

About Calvin Trillin

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Calvin Trillin, who became The Nation’s “deadline poet” in 1990, has also written verse on the events of the day for The New Yorker, The New York Times, and National Public Radio. His political beliefs are so colored by rhyme and meter that he once criticized Hillary Clinton for being “insufficiently iambic” and publicly advised against a presidential run by the governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich. He is the author of Obliviously on He Sails and A Heckuva Job.From the Hardcover edition.
 
Published March 29, 2011 by University of Texas Press. 197 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Trillin on Texas

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Of Abe's typically oblique support of writing as a possible vocation, Trillin wryly muses: ``Would that be how you'd steer your son toward journalism--slip the word to him casually when he's three years old and then make sure he knows how to type?'' With characteristic grace and good humor,...

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Fussbudget Mayor Ducavelli (“Il Duce” in the tabs), reading a city column about Tepper’s odd abuse of parking rights, takes Tepper for a saboteur of civil order and sics the police on him.

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to all those bistros and neighborhood markets that fill him up in ways the more famous destinations never do, those temples where he “can’t seem to help wondering, when [his] mind wanders between forkfuls, whether God really intended all that to be done to food.” Likewise, Trillin is willing to p...

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At heart just a lad from Kansas City, he thrives in New York, where, he thinks, about 10 percent of the people walking around Greenwich Village would be stopped by the police if they were in most American cities, and another 10 or 15 percent would at least be interviewed by the local TV news.

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The New Yorker staff writer, with a substantial library of antic texts to his credit (Tepper Isn’t Going Out, 2002, etc.), writes an affecting eulogy to his late wife.

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In a memoir on an uncharacteristically somber subject, Trillin (American Stories, 1991, etc.) traces the life of his college friend Roger ``Denny'' Hansen: Phi Beta Kappa, Rhodes Scholar, possessor of charm and good looks to spare--and, at age 55, a suicide victim.

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Others in the party are insaner.” But Trillin has held a range of interests throughout his career, and the book makes room for his critiques of high finance, satirical pieces about Jewish culture and self-deprecating pieces on his failures as a househusband: “A man who has a cross-indexed list of...

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“New Cheerleaders,” a piece dating from 1971, examines the changing racial makeup of Crystal City High School and how that change impacted (among other things) the Anglo understanding that only one of the four cheerleaders would be Mexican-American, a revision that was the result of organizer Jos...

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Publishers Weekly

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This collection was on PW 's bestseller list for seven weeks.

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Publishers Weekly

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Jesting about everyday life, Trillin can get very close to the truth, as indicated by his 2006 shoe bomber comments in which he predicted the 2009 underwear bomber: "If someone is arrested one of these days and is immediately, because of his MO, referred to in the press as the Underwear Bomber, y...

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Publishers Weekly

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In his most personal book, Trillin ( American Stories ) poignantly investigates the life of his Yale classmate and onetime close friend Roger ``Denny'' Hansen, a Rhodes scholar, academic and State Department employee whose extraordinary promise ended in middle age with his suicide.

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Publishers Weekly

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Nothing much happens beyond this, and the plot is resolved with calm good sense, but along the way Trillin captures dozens of pitch-perfect New York moments, in restaurants, in a loutish literary agent's office and in the quaintly old-fashioned business where Tepper works (he runs a mailing-list ...

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Publishers Weekly

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In this collection of some 90 syndicated columns written in the past four years, the reliably amusing Trillin mixes whimsical fluff with sly stilettos.

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Los Angeles Times

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Calvin Trillin is alternately poet, historian, satirist and journalist in this collection of reports on the Lone Star State.

Apr 24 2011 | Read Full Review of Trillin on Texas (Bridwell Te...

Dallas News

and a tour of Central Texas barbecue shrines with some guys from Texas Monthly.

Mar 18 2011 | Read Full Review of Trillin on Texas (Bridwell Te...

The Columbus Dispatch

It's not just Tennessee cops who have a hard time distinguishing buckeye leaves from marijuana leaves....

May 31 2011 | Read Full Review of Trillin on Texas (Bridwell Te...

Bookmarks Magazine

Astute readers will note, however, that Trillin's family immigrated to the United States through the port of Galveston, and, after reading this book, many will believe that the Lone Star State has somehow imprinted itself in the family's imagination.Trillin on Texas gathers so...

Mar 27 2011 | Read Full Review of Trillin on Texas (Bridwell Te...

Columbia Journalism Review

Magazine people would say to me, ‘How do you keep up the pace?’ and newspaper people would say, ‘What else do you do?’ A lot of writers, perhaps most notably Steinbeck, have attempted to write books that presented these encompassing notions or theories of what America is.

Apr 20 2011 | Read Full Review of Trillin on Texas (Bridwell Te...

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