Some historians insist that Texas, with its heritage of slavery, segregation, and historic dependence upon cotton, is southern. Another group argues that Texas is western, as evidenced by its cowboys, cattle drives, mountains, and desert. Still others brand it unique, having won its independence from Mexico during the Texas Revolution and existing as an independent republic for ten years prior to joining the Union. With its immense land area, diverse environment, cultures, colorful history, and larger-than-life legends, Texas does indeed seem "like a whole other country." Throughout its existence, the Lone Star State has juggled a complicated assortment of identities. Its multiple characteristics often confuse observers and scholars—to the point that some ignore it altogether. Award-winning historian Glen Sample Ely seeks to set the record straight. Taking a fresh look at what exactly Texas is and what it is not, his groundbreaking work tackles these thorny questions by examining the tangled and fascinating strands that make up the DNA of Texas's identity.
"Wide-ranging and sparkling with keen insight, Glen Ely's Where the West Begins should instantly take its place on the short list of indispensible works on Texan identity." —Gregg Cantrell, co-editor of Lone Star Pasts: Memory and History in Texas
"With this book, Glen Ely establishes himself as ranking among the very best of a new generation of Texas historians.” —Robert Wooster, author of Frontier Crossroads: Fort Davis and the West
"One of the most original, clearly expressed, and compelling analyses of the differences between East Texas and Western Texas to appear in decades. His fresh account is backed by extensive research. A truly notable addition to the Plains Histories Series." —Howard R. Lamar, author of The Far Southwest, 1846-1912: A Territorial History