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More than 200 authors and about 40,000 book fans will descend on the Texas Capitol October 26-27 for the 2013 Texas Book Festival. Throughout the year KUT News speaks with authors about their lives and their work. To celebrate the upcoming festival, we have collected some of those interviews here. From 9-11 to Scientology to the Kennedy assassination, it's a diverse set of works from a fascinating group of authors.

Agenda Texas: A Written Defense of the 'Texas Miracle'

“Big, Hot, Cheap and Right: What America Can Learn from the Strange Genius of Texas” is the newest book from Texas Monthly senior editor Erica Grieder.";s:

It’s been called the Texas Miracle: Hundreds of thousands of jobs added, millions of people and thousands of companies moving here from other states.

But that sense of pride inside Texas isn’t shared outside the state. Critics say the majority of jobs created don’t pay well and the state’s low tax-low service model has led to crumbling schools, inadequate roads and a water crisis.

Enter Texas Monthly senior editor Erica Grieder and her book released today titled: “Big, Hot, Cheap and Right: What America Can Learn from the Strange Genius of Texas.”

The book is a defense of Grieder’s home state.

"Well sure. I think I'm a defender of Texas. I think most Texans would defend Texas, as the need arises," Grieder says.

She says the criticism of the Texas model hit a fever pitch during Gov. Rick Perry's ill-fated attempt to win the GOP Presidential nomination. The governor used the state's strong economy as the cornerstone of his argument for why he should be President.

"And there we just this avalanche of articles talking about how it wasn't a real story, how it couldn't possibly be this good in the state, how there weren't real jobs that we had,"Gieder says."The idea that we could just dismiss it out of hand because it's happening in Texas, I thought, needed to be countered."

Grieder knows there are problems in Texas. Problems that the state is finally getting around to addressing, like spending billions on roads and water infrastructure projects: problems that have gotten worse because of the state's ability to attract new businesses and people.

"It's actually kind of delightful, if you appreciate irony," Grieder said. "The model's been this low tax, low services approach for a long time. And because it's worked so well, now we have a population that's gonna need a little more."

Opening the Bush Center

Agenda Texas hits the road the rest of this week to cover the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Center on the SMU campus. Tune in later for our coverage from the state’s third Presidential library.

Drop us a line at, and follow us on Twitter @AgendaTexas.

Ben Philpott is the Managing Editor for KUT. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @BenPhilpottKUT.
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