‘It’s My State, Too’: Lawrence Wright’s New Book Offers His Take On Texas

The author says he calls Texas home, but he has some quarrels with the Lone Star State.

By Laura RiceApril 17, 2018 11:39 am|

Lawrence Wright is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, screenwriter, and playwright. He’s written about al-Qaeda, scientology, and the Camp David peace talks of the late 1970s. But his latest book is all about home – it’s called “God Save Texas.” And it’s filled with personal stories, researched histories, and lots of musings and analysis of political and cultural flashpoints.

Texas Monthly’s review of the book suggests that Wright has fallen out of love with Texas, but he insists that’s not the case.

“I play Texas music. I travel in the state. My friends are all Texans. I committed my life to being here,” Wright says. “But it’s certainly true that there are things about the state that I quarrel with. And one of the things I wanted to do in this book is add my voice, because it’s my state, too.”

In the book, Wright describes a key divide in Texas culture as he sees it: those who listen to AM radio and those who listen to FM radio.

“Outsiders often see [Texas] as being what I would call ‘AM Texas,’ which is right-wing, evangelical. And there’s a lot of shock jock stuff on AM Texas. And of course I think that probably the most potent exponent of that kind of Texas is Dan Patrick, who is our lieutenant governor, but came up in the shock jock world of AM Texas and actually owned several radio stations himself. And of course what people outside of Texas don’t understand so much is there’s another side of Texas, which is urbane, cosmopolitan, and progressive. That kind of trend is so embodied by the kinds of things they listen to on FM Texas.”

Still, in his view, there’s a lot that unites Texans, too.

“The friendliness is always a constant,” he says. “There are vast cultural differences in our state. In that sense, it’s almost impossible to collect all the differences into a single entity and call it Texas. But somehow, we do that.”

Written by Jen Rice.