Big Wonderful Thing: A History of Texas

A Conversation with Stephen Harrigan and Dan Rather

October 1, 2019 7:00pm - 8:00pm

Discover the story of the state that sits at the center of the nation, yet defiantly stands apart

Event Details

Join New York Times best-selling author and Austinite, Stephen Harrigan for a conversation about his craft and the launch of his new book, Big Wonderful Thing: A History of Texas. Described as a tour de force by a master storyteller, hear how Harrigan captures a rich history of the state in a conversation with iconic Texas journalist Dan Rather.

Please note: RSVPs to this event are currently at capacity. There will be a standby line at the door and if space becomes available, guests in standby will be seated on a first come first served basis.

Prior to the event, tour the Texas History Galleries, enjoy complementary light bites and cash bar at a reception from 6:00-7:00pm. After the program, purchase the new book and get your copy signed by Stephen Harrigan. 

“It's rare to find a book that so compellingly weds such deep research with brilliant storytelling. A masterwork and a Texas history for the ages, destined to become a classic.”—Dan Rather


About the Book

The story of Texas is the story of struggle and triumph in a land of extremes. It is a story of drought and flood, invasion and war, boom and bust, and of the myriad peoples who over centuries of conflict, gave rise to a place that has helped shape the identity of the United States and the destiny of the world.

"I couldn't believe Texas was real." the painter Georgia O'Keeffe remembered of her first encounter with the Lone Star State. It was, for her, "the same big wonderful thing that oceans and the highest mountains are."

Big Wonderful Thing invites us to walk in the footsteps of ancient as well as modern people along the path of Texas' evolution. Blending action and atmosphere with impeccable research, New York Times best-selling author Stephen Harrigan brings to life with novelistic immediacy the generations of driven men and women who shaped Texas, including Spanish explorers, American filibusters, Comanche warriors, wildcatters, Tejano activists, and spellbinding artists - all of them taking their part in creation of place that became not just a nation, not just a state, but an indelible idea.

Written in fast-paced prose, rich with personal observation and a passionate sense of place, Big Wonderful Thing calls to mind the literary spirit of Robert Hughes writing about Australia or Shelby Foote about the Civil War. Like those volumes it is a big book about a big subject, a book that dates to tell the whole glorious, gruesome, epically sprawling story of Texas.

UT Press

About the Author

Stephen Harrigan has devoted much of his life to exploring and explaining Texas, ever since his family crossed the Red River from Oklahoma in 1953. He is the author of numerous work of nonfiction and fiction, including the critically acclaimed novels A Friend of Mr. Lincoln, Remember Ben Clayton, and the New Work Times best seller The Gates of the Alamo. He is a longtime writer for Texas Monthly and an award-winning screenwriter who has written many movies for television. 

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Program presented in partnership with UT Press

The Bullock Texas State History Museum is a division of the Texas State Preservation Board. Additional support for educational programming provided by the Texas State History Museum Foundation.