Hodge (The Mendacity of Hope), national editor of the Intercept, embarks on a singular journey to rediscover his borderland-Texas roots, telling stories of his adventures as a youthful ranch hand and recollecting memories from his family’s land. While reminiscing, Hodge also retraces the path of his distant ancestors on their own treks through other parts of Texas, Oklahoma, and Arizona before settling in the arid Texas backcountry. Texas’s complicated, multicultural history becomes part of Hodge’s narrative; ancient pictographs, battles between Comanches and settlers, and the demoralizing effects of the drug war all feature in this heartbreaking and mesmerizing story. Hodge’s casual tone possesses an easy charm, with each anecdote sparking deeper dives into historical and cultural issues that reveal how Texas’s violent past continues to affect its present. Hodge routinely puts his life into the hands of others—though occasionally he comes across as patronizing toward people he encounters—including border agents and a spry, impish guide who aids Hodge in bearing witness to ceremonies at a religious shrine. Hodge combines a journalist’s eye with a native son’s love to give readers clear insight into southwestern Texas’s past, present, and future. Maps & photos. (Oct.)
Throughout the book, Hodge slides effortlessly between various eras, demonstrating how the past influences the present, a legacy of violence that lives on in the most mundane settings. He often delineates such contrasts with a wit dryer than a handful of South Texas dust. ... Equal parts history, memoir, travelogue, and reportage, Texas Blood is a fascinating journey through the heart of darkness at the center of the American dream—a contrast writ large that will never be erased from the brutal and beautiful borderlands of Texas.
In Texas Blood, Hodge effortlessly blends his personal life-experiences, family genealogy and American history into the perfect synthesis of Old West and New Western history.
"This is what I've been waiting for—a profound and hard-hitting critique of the Obama administration from the left! The Mendacity of Hope should help wake up all those Obama voters who've been napping while the wars escalate, the recession deepens, and the environment goes straight to hell."
"Ready to wake up from the Obama dream yet? If so, this thrillingly scathing and relentlessly truthful cri de coeur is your strong cup of coffee. Hodge skewers the sloppy intellectual culture that willed this political chimera into being, while expertly unmasking the corporate machine that is the real Brand Obama. Drink up."
"An eloquently sober indictment of the corruption which impels the self aggrandizement of our executive branch, much to the bane of our Constitution. A frightening book whose conclusions ought to haunt every American."
"Roger Hodge has written a desperately needed exposé of how Barack Obama is not the messiah of liberalism but its designated gravedigger—he is one of the all too few voices on the progressive side who dares to tell the truth about the corporate masters this administration actually serves, and the dire effect of that allegiance upon what is left of our Republic. This is a blazing indictment of corporate collusion and a bracing injection of hard truths."
"Hodge skillfully draws the veil from Obama's allegedly 'reformist agenda' to expose the reality of the programs 'to ensure that no major stakeholder in his coalition of corporate backers will suffer significant losses,' and will even enjoy spectacular gains—the 'perfection of the long right turn' of the Democratic Party since the 1970s, as financialization of the economy led to shedding New Deal commitments so as 'to compete with the Republicans for corporate patronage.' He calls for a revitalization of the founding tradition of civil virtue and republican values of liberty, a message that should be taken to heart if we are to reverse the drift toward an ugly future."
Despite its acerbic title, The Mendacity of Hope isn't so much an attack on the man: Hodge grants that Obama is "significantly more intellectual than the politicians we have grown accustomed to in recent years," "well-spoken, brilliant and beautiful," with a "great persuasive gift," and he doesn't deign to speculate on his internal motivations. His point is that any honest look at Obama's actions in office shows that, rather than practicing a "different kind of politics," he's beholden to the same powerful interests that circumscribe the actions of every other politician, no matter how fervently his supporters might have hoped for a change.
—Marc Maximov, The Independent Weekly
The Mendacity of Hope is a sloppily organized, badly argued and deeply reactionary book unlikely to have any influence at all on the way Americans think about their president.
—Alan Wolfe, The Washington Post
Roger D. Hodge’s book is called THE MENDACITY OF HOPE: Barack Obama and the Betrayal of American Liberalism (Harper/HarperCollins, $25.99), as if Obama’s corporate fund-raising and failure to live up to the unrealistic expectations of purist liberals made him and his team puppets and liars. Hodge says the fact that Obama is “in most respects better” than George W. Bush or Sarah Palin is “completely beside the point.” Really? Since when did the tenets of liberalism demand that politics no longer be viewed as the art of the possible?
Jonathan Alter, The New York Times Book Review