Texans love the idea of wide-open spaces and, before World War II, the majority of the state’s people did live and work on the land. Between 1940 and 1950, however, the balance shifted from rural to urban, and today 88 percent of Texans live in cities and embrace the amenities of urban culture. The rise of Texas cities is a fascinating story that has not been previously told. Yet it is essential for understanding both the state’s history and its contemporary character.
In The City in Texas, acclaimed historian David G. McComb chronicles the evolution of urban Texas from the Spanish Conquest to the present. Writing in lively, sometimes humorous and provocative prose, he describes how commerce and politics were the early engines of city growth, followed by post–Civil War cattle shipping, oil discovery, lumbering, and military needs. McComb emphasizes that the most transformative agent in city development was the railroad. This technology—accompanied by telegraphs that accelerated the spread of information and mechanical clocks that altered concepts of time—revolutionized transportation, enforced corporate organization, dictated town location, organized space and architecture, and influenced thought. McComb also thoroughly explores the post–World War II growth of San Antonio, Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, and Houston as incubators for businesses, educational and cultural institutions, and health care centers.
David G. McComb taught United States history, world history, sports history, and the history of technology at Colorado State University, where he retired as a professor emeritus in 2002. He has published fourteen books, including the award-winning Galveston: A History; Texas, a Modern History; and Spare Time in Texas: Recreation and History in the Lone Star State.
"This book is a treasure trove of information, representing a lifetime of research, and it will be indispensable . . . for years to come."
~David R. Johnson, Professor Emeritus of History, University of Texas at San Antonio
"This is the only comprehensive synthesis of the urban history of Texas that I'm aware of. Commanding the deep experiences of a lifetime of study of Texas and its cities, McComb combines an interesting narrative with a compelling analysis of the Lone Star State’s urban places. His book will help a broad array of readers to understand that urban history, often dealt with as an afterthought when it comes to Texas, is fundamental to an understanding of the state’s development."
~Robert Wooster, Regents Professor of History, Texas A&M University Corpus Christi
"Individuals interested in knowing more about the various pathways to modern Texas cities will find much worthy of exploration in McComb’s new book."
~Texas Books in Review
"After finishing the book the reader will no longer be able to ignore the many contributions that the cities of Texas have made to the state...a valuable addition to the scholarship of the urban Southwest and should be read by those interested in Texas and its transformation from a rural to an urban state."
~Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal
"The broad, efficient sweep of McComb's writing style is remarkable...The book represents a major accomplishment in Texas historiography and is highly readable. If you read one work in 2017 that examines the entire state, McComb's study would make a fine choice."
~Central Texas Studies
"Military towns, railroad outposts, lumbering centers, river communities, and port cities all get coverage in The City in Texas . . . [A] solid introduction to Texas urban history."
~The Journal of Southern History
Stay connected for our latest books and special offers.
We live in an information-rich world. As a publisher of international scope, the University of Texas Press serves the University of Texas at Austin community, the people of Texas, and knowledge seekers around the globe by identifying the most valuable and relevant information and publishing it in books, journals, and digital media that educate students; advance scholarship in the humanities and social sciences; and deepen humanity’s understanding of history, current events, contemporary culture, and the natural environment.