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by Herman Wouk
Little, Brown, April 2004
288 pages
ISBN: 0316525901

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Dr Guy Carpenter has a nice safe job working for NASA. He has a happy marriage, a brand-new baby and a temperamental cat. Unfortunately for him, his life is about ready to spiral out of control.

Years before, he worked on the Superconducting Super Collider in Waxahachie, TX. This project was closed down due to budget constraints; however, the purpose of the project was to find the Higgs Boson. Now, there are rumors that the Chinese have found it and the possible ramifications have the United States public in a tizzy.

Dr Carpenter finds himself helping out a Congresswoman with her questions and misunderstandings about the topic as well as becoming the technical consultant to a Hollywood disaster movie. Once the public is made aware of his previous relationship with a Chinese scientist, Carpenter's world begins to fall apart around him. He must somehow redeem himself and his reputation to the masses in addition to his immediate family.

A HOLE IN TEXAS is a satire of politics in general but specifically it deals with the money appropriated to scientific endeavors. Like most satires, A HOLE IN TEXAS is not overly funny. Instead it uses a facetious situation in order to prove the strangeness of the political arena as well as the scientific community. All satires take the problems of society and uses them to demonstrate that things might not be as bad as they could. In addition, they can pose unusual and undesirable solutions in order to get the reader to consider realistic solutions.

This book plays off of some of modern America's fears. American and Chinese relations have been strained throughout modern history and that subtle hostility is picked up in this book. In addition, this book deals with the hostility that most Americans feel about science and their inability to understand the gist of what scientists say. Because the problems Wouk brings our attention to are not all easily fixable, this specific satire merely presents societal problems and concerns rather than fixing them.

A HOLE IN TEXAS is Herman's Wouk most recent work of fiction. He has had a long career in which he has published over a dozen books.

Reviewed by Sarah Dudley, March 2004

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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