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Hope and Hard Truth

Hope and Hard Truth
A Life in Texas Politics

A stirring memoir of liberal politics and personal reflection through years in Texas public service.

Series: Lowell H. Lebermann Jr. Endowment for UT Press

September 2022
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33% discount price
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232 pages | 6 x 9 | 17 b&w photos |

Mary Beth Rogers has led an eventful life rooted in the weeds of Texas politics, occasionally savoring a few victories—particularly the 1990 governor’s race when, as campaign manager for Ann Richards, she did the impossible and put a Democratic woman in office. She also learned to absorb her losses—after all, she was a liberal feminist in America’s most aggressively conservative state.

Rogers’s road to a political life was complex. Candidly and vulnerably, she shares both public and private memories of how she tried to maintain a rich family life with growing children and a husband with a debilitating illness. She goes on to provide an insider’s account of her experiences as Richards’s first chief of staff while weaving her way through the highs and lows of political intrigue and legislative maneuvering.

Reflecting on her family heritage and nascent spiritual quest, Rogers discovers a reality at once sobering and invigorating: nothing is ever completely lost or completely won. It is a constant struggle to create humane public policies built on a foundation of fairness and justice—particularly in her beloved Texas.

  • Introduction: Into the Well
  • Part I: Winning and Losing
    • 1. “Look, There’s the Girl”
    • 2. A New Texas?
    • 3. Reality
  • Part II: The Personal Is Political
    • 4. Sicily
    • 5. The Hard Box
    • 6. Mr. and Mrs. Extremo
  • Part III: It’s a Texas Thing
    • 7. Austin
    • 8. Campaigns
    • 9. Women
    • 10. Roots
  • Part IV: Threads
    • 11. Politics
    • 12. Poland
    • 13. Words
  • Part V: New Beginnings
    • 14. Change
    • 15. Whatcha Gonna Do?
  • Acknowledgments
  • Notes
  • Index

Mary Beth Rogers served as Ann Richards's campaign manager and chief of staff, a television executive, college professor, and government official. She is the author of several books, including Barbara Jordan: American Hero, and Turning Texas Blue: What It Will Take to Break the GOP Grip on America’s Reddest State.