The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 34, July 1930 - April, 1931

Book Reviews and Notices

A notable feature of the bibliography is the surprising number of
publications in Germany concerning Texas between 1834 and 1850.
Dr. Biesele's study is a thoroughly creditable contribution to the
literature of Texas history and a veritable directory of the pioneer
German families who settled in Texas. The book will be read with
a special personal interest by descendants of these pioneers, and its
straightforward style and its evident thoroughness and compre-
hensiveness will appeal to all serious students of Texas history.
John Charles Fremont, an Explanation of His Career. By Cardi-
nal Goodwin. (Stanford University Press, Oxford Univer-
sity Press, 1930. Pp. XI, 285.)
It seems to this reviewer that Professor Goodwin has made a
sound contribution to the elucidation of the body of Fr6mont
legends and to the proper evaluation of Fremont's character. As
to character, he was vain, shallow, theatrical, unstable of judgment,
and lacking in conscience-a grown-up child, an immature man.
Like a child, he was capable of great obstinacy in pursuit of an
object but incapable of making deliberate and comprehensive
preparation for its attainment or of following it up with fore-
thought and sustained judgment. In the language of the author,
he was a "drifter." "His earliest days were spent drifting about
the country in the care of somewhat shiftless parents. The habit
of drifting came to him early in life. Any fixed intentions he
may have had when he entered school were soon undermined by
this habit, and lie was expelled. He even rejoiced at his expul-
sion because he could then drift unhampered by academic obliga-
tions or tutorial discipline. He joined the Navy because he
thought it would give him an opportunity to satisfy his desire for
wandering, and he resigned when he found the deck of a vessel too
confining. He became an explorer because that particular em-
ployment afforded him an opportunity for drifting over vast unin-
habited areas. . . . The last of his official expeditions took him
to California, where he drifted into misunderstandings with Castro.
He drifted into the Bear Flag revolt in California, and into the
annoying complications which followed. . . . He drifted into
prominence through the timeliness of his explorations, and the
recognition he received led to his nomination for the presidency


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 34, July 1930 - April, 1931. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed August 31, 2015.