Lone Star Mind: Reimagining Texas History Review
Lone Star Mind: Reimagining Texas History by Ty Cashion and published in 2018 examines the history of Texas by expounding how the state’s past is rarely exhibited in its myth of exceptionalism. Cashion is an accomplished scholar in economics and history having B.A in economics and M.A and Ph.D. in history. Despite being an author, Cashion is a Professor of History currently teaching at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. Cashion begins his book by showing how people are misinformed about Texas’ history, and he marks this by saying “Say what you will about Texas, and chances are your remarks will be more product of perception than fact” (1). Cashion focuses on criticizing the historians and academicians for inaccurately crafting Texas’ history. To argue out his stance, Cashion relies on the original ideas, analysis, and work from other historians to present historical facts that are acceptable to the Texans in the present day. The author has accomplished that by searching for the common Texan identity within the post-Christian age and aspects marking the end of Anglo-male hegemony. In doing so, Cashion echoes other scholars both within and outside the history field. In summary, Lone Start mind Texas History is a call for the application of cultural history approach that caters for the self-interests of all Texas people as a way of explaining the deep story: a narrative that reflects the present-day facts.The lack of cultural history among the scholars and non-Texan intellectuals while examining the Texan history has led to a misrepresentation of the facts about the state. As such, Cashion advocates of the cultural history methodology that will tell the state’s history from the factual point of view. Using the work of Benjamin Moser, Cashion shows how insufficient literature has been used to generalize the culture and the history of Texas. The misrepresentation of the Texas culture and history has led to the creation of another state’s history that in every aspect it is an opposite of Texas’ tradition. Cashion attributes the poor scholarship of Texas to the local history that is characterized by myriad defects. As such the works of many Texas scholars are influenced by a disproportionate heritage that is not a true reflection of Texas’ folklore and fiction (6). Cashion further accuses the insufficient exploration of Texas’ tradition to the university professors, who he says many of them studied from the existing intellectual constructs that have been translated into official Texas’ history. The retelling of Texas history will only be achieved through the reimaging of the past culture, and that will be possible if the scholars get the facts from the historians and past Texas’ records. Cashion shows the possibility of attaining a new definition of Texas’ history when he argues that that the new generation of scholars has improved the quality of Texas history by getting the raw facts about the state’s culture. Nevertheless, Cashion finds the new approach of the new scholars still problematic because it does not offer a clear distinction between history and scholarship. As such, Cashion challenges the intellectual and more so, the Texas scholars to rethink and reimagine a new way of telling Texas’ history.
Cashion advocates for the history that captures the interests of the true Texan people. According to Cashion, the documented history about Texas is not a reality of the Texan people. The outside history about Texas is a full stereotype that Texas is obsessed with a myth; it is a confused state and is filled with self-satisfaction that has prevented it from achieving greatness. The way Texas’ history is told do not reflect the self-interest and identity of the Texans. Cashion judges that true Texans know who they are, and they will not waste time arguing over their self-identity. The Texans feelings about their selves are in their hearts, an attitude that drives them to do what they can without much gusto. The large percentage of the Texan identity is enshrined in the spirit of exceptionalism as expressed by John Steinbeck who that “Texas is a state of mind”(24). But Steinbeck misunderstood Texas as witnessed by Cashion. Steinbeck likes many other outside intellectuals stereotyped the Texans. Steinbeck and other non-Texan intellectuals records and views about Texas do not reflect the interest and the self-identity of the Texans. As Cashion puts, Steinbeck quote has been an ideal beginning of exploring the true Texas and the interests of Texas. Many natives have relied on this quote while studying further about the Texas mystique. The stereotyping of Texas culture and tradition angers the true Texans even though they rarely show it through their expressions. The feelings of the true Texans shows that the way the Texas history is told does not cater to their interests.
It is difficult to find Texas’ past in the present day facts about the state. Cashion uses the quote of Cousin Laura that “challenging established views of the past can be an exercise in futility”(154). Cashion agrees that Texas’ history is rarely told to the point of arguing that only a few places where the state’s past is told more than he has done in the “Lone Star State.” Cashion gives an example of how Texas coming of age is no longer a reflection of Texas’ history, but just any other assumed tradition. The perceptions about the past have changed the views of better-informed Texans, but not true Texans, and as such their attitude is shaped by the generalizations that reinforce their self-identity. Cashion extends his criticism to the progressive historians whom he argues that they have assumed that the resilience of Texas exceptionalism is more important than validation of its supremacy. Cashion links above to the eventual death of the Texas history and terming it as a miracle to trace the state past in the present day.
The way Texas history is told restricts the possibility of presenting the true historical facts about the state. The outside perception about Texas is marred with generalizations which have affected the informed Texans, and no longer wants to subscribe to their culture as shown by the corrupted present-day history about the state. However, the true Texans including Ty Cashion know who they are as well as their self-identity, but they would rarely tell or express it through their feelings. The historians never recognize this, and as such would never put the Texans interests into consideration. The misrepresentation of Texas’ history, and particularly by the intellectual and scholars is what drives Cashion to challenge them to reimagine the state’s history.