This book is an effort to establish a semblance of realism in the study of Texas political leaders. Two similar works have previously appeared: James T. DeShields They Sat in High Places: The Presidents and Governors of Texas ( San Antonio: The Naylor Company, 1940) and Ross Phares The Governors of Texas. ( Gretna, La.: Pelican Publishing Company, 1976). Both contain little more than praise for those who have occupied the highest seat in Texas government; in fact, these works contribute more to the perpetuation of Texas' mythology than to a realistic appraisal of Texas politicians.
The present work is offered to establish a more balanced view, but it is not intended to be definitive. It is a collection of biographical sketches designed to accurately place the chief executives in the context of their times and analyze the careers and contributions of each accordingly. Reading this will perhaps whet the appetite of other scholars and influence them to conduct further research, for there are several of these executives who, though worthy of study, have never been the subjects for biographers.