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We Were Illegal by Jessica Goudeau
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We Were Illegal

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We Were Illegal by Jessica Goudeau
Hardcover $32.00
Jun 18, 2024 | ISBN 9780593300503

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    Jun 18, 2024 | ISBN 9780593300503

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  • Jun 18, 2024 | ISBN 9780593908884

    757 Minutes

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“Texas occupies a complex space in the American landscape. Goudeau argues that the state’s history is essential to understanding some of American society’s most important contradictions around liberty, faith, and personhood…some of the most moving parts of the book come from Goudeau finding the people helped—and harmed—by her ancestors’ choices. This is an empathic and thoughtfully told work, sure to encourage reflection on the legacies we choose to inherit.” Booklist

“This is not just a book about one family, or one state. At a time when history has become a primary battlefield in the culture wars, We Were Illegal models for us how to engage the darker chapters of our individual and collective stories, and shows us why we must. With unflinching honesty and deep empathy, Jessica Goudeau brings readers to a place of hard-earned hope. Thoroughly engrossing, this book is a gift to a divided nation.”
—Kristin Kobes Du Mez, New York Times bestselling author of Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation

“A riveting and honest look at the myths that become our official histories, our laws, and the stories we tell ourselves. Goudeau makes history come alive and feel more relevant than ever.” Bryan Burrough, co-author of Forget the Alamo: The Rise and Fall of an American Myth

“Clear-eyed, deeply moral and rigorously researched…We Were Illegal is a necessary corrective, and a gripping read for anyone interested in how our national myths are shaped.” —Alejandra Oliva, author of Rivermouth: A Chronicle of Language, Faith and Migration

“You start turning over rocks in Texas and there’s no telling what will crawl out. Jessica Goudeau digs centuries deep into her family’s past and emerges with some astonishing tales: land thefts, murder and official corruption, but also great bravery, perseverance, and heroic sacrifice. In a state where the whitewashing of history is government sanctioned, We Were Illegal delivers the real story. This is a courageous book.” —Doug J. Swanson, author of Cult of Glory: The Bold and Brutal History of the Texas Rangers

“In this richly written epic, Goudeau deftly takes on myths so important to Texans, arguing that the way we’ve long told our stories has created the extreme political climate we see today. Beneath this enthralling saga beats, at its heart, an impassioned plea: that setting the record straight will allow Texas, and the nation, to live up to its lofty ideals at last.” —Roxanna Asgarian, author of We Were Once a Family, winner of the ALA Carnegie Medal

“An invigorating history that will displease legislators and would-be despots throughout the Lone Star State. Expect to see bans of this powerful book, one that every Texan should read.”
—Kirkus Starred Review

“In her new book, “We Were Illegal,” a stirring mixture of memoir, genealogy, history and hopeful manifesto, Goudeau turns a searching, critical eye back on her family tree and its many Texas branches.”
New York Times Book Review

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