Book Reviews and Notices
BOOK REVIEWS AND NOTICES
A Vaquero of the Brush Country, Partly from the Reminiscences
of John Young. By J. Frank Dobie. Dallas: The South-
west Press, Pp. XV, 314. Price $3.50.
This book is a fine example of the work of an undesiccated
teacher of English, a lover of literature, and a master of no little
of its craftsmanship, in the field of social and economic history.
Both subject and method are original. In content the book pre-
sents an amazingly vivid picture of the cattle industry of the Texas
coast region west of the Colorado River during the first thirty
years following the Civil War. The originality of the picture con-
sists in its localization. There has been no dearth of writing about
cattle during the past few years. We know the routine of the
great plains ranch, the round-up, the long drive, the rise and de-
cline of Kansas cow-towns, the hostility of cow-men to lowly nesters
and sheep-men, and all the picturesque incidents of Western ranch
life. We have not had heretofore a study of the industry in the
very land of its birth. The method of the book is to weave into
the reminiscences of John Duncan Young a comprehensive study
of many phases of the cattle business, equally picturesque and
absorbing, in this restricted area.
It is not to be understood, however, that John Young's expe-
riences did not range far afield or that his reminiscences are cir-
cumscribed by narrow geographical limits. As he himself explains:
"The story will be mostly about my experiences as a vaquero in the
brush of Southwest Texas, but the trail will stretch to the Platte,
circle around Dodge City, and prong out across the Plains into
the Rockies. It will meander all up and down the Nueces, Pecos,
and Devil's Rivers. It will often cut the sign of bandidos from
below the Rio Grande, and it will follow the tracks of cow thieves,
horse thieves, and Billy the Kid. This trail of mine will lead into
immense boneyards that marked the drifts and die-ups of the open
range. It will run into the Big Steal, into mustangs, rattlesnakes,
barbed wire, and a lot of other things."
Of his own part in the making of the book Mr. Dobie writes:
"I have sought to make a book that should be considerably more
than the straightaway chronicle of one range man's experiences,
though considerably less than a comprehensive history of the range.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 33, July 1929 - April, 1930. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101090/. Accessed March 5, 2015.