Federal New Deal programs of the 1930s and World War II are often credited for transforming the South, including Texas, from a poverty-stricken region mired in Confederate mythology into a more modern and economically prosperous part of the United States. By contrast, this history of Northeast Texas, one of the most culturally southern areas of the state, offers persuasive evidence that political, economic, and social modernization began long before the 1930s and prepared Texans to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the New Deal and World War II.
Walter L. Buenger draws on extensive primary research to tell the story of change in Northeast Texas from 1887 to 1930. Moving beyond previous, more narrowly focused studies of the South, he traces and interconnects the significant changes that occurred in politics, race relations, business and the economy, and women's roles. He also reveals how altered memories of the past and the emergence of a stronger identification with Texas history affected all facets of life in Northeast Texas.