Sunday, February 10, 2008

Road, River, and Ol’Boy Politics, by Linda Scarbrough

Road, River, and Ol’Boy Politics: A Texas County’s Path from Farm to Supersuburb, by Linda Scarbrough

In 1920, Williamson County was agrarian, Democratic, and dominated by the towns of Taylor and Granger. Today, of course, Georgetown and Round Rock are at the heart of a sprawling suburban Republican stronghold. This book traces this transformation, largely a result of North San Gabriel Dam and Interstate 35. This is a compelling and fascinating read. Once I started I had a difficult time putting it down—surprising for a history text! I especially enjoyed reading tidbits such as how RR620 was a dirt road or FM1431 was a backwater until they received exits on IH-35. Living in that part of the world now, it is hard to imaging these major thoroughfares being anything else. Scarbrough also goes into a lot of detail on the politics behind the dam and the interstate; it was fascinating to read about LBJ and J. J. Pickle working at a local level. Maps and several before/after pictures round out the book, complementing the text nicely. All in all, this is an excellent story telling a lesser known slice of Texas history.

First Sentence:
Out in the Gulf of Mexico, below the Southern tip of the United States, a hurricane stirred.

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