The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 39, July 1935 - April, 1936

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

The author modestly states his creed and his purpose in his
preface: "Many books have been written of the Old West--
fiction, biography, and pseudo-biography-and some of them will
live. While there can hardly be too many life-stories of the men
who grew up with the West and have lived to tell them, the
author feels that there is a need for studies of the less dramatic
experiences in the lives of those who participated in the pictur-
esque drama of settling the frontier. . . . Rarely, however,
does the student have available those details from which alone
the real state of a section can be determined. With these ideas
in mind, the author sought an informal and impartial medium
for portraying something of those subjects merely referred to
by authors of more vivid narratives."
The book has some blemishes, which a more careful editorial
staff in the publisher's office would have eliminated, and it de-
serves a more tasteful format, but, in most essentials, it could
be imitated to advantage by other writers of "social" history.
Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar, Troubadour and Crusader. By
Herbert P. Gambrell. (Southwest Press, Dallas, 1934.)
The definitive biography of Mirabeau B. Lamar has yet to be
written. Neither A. K. Christian nor Herbert P. Gambrell has
told the complete story of the life and deeds of the second presi-
dent of the Republic of Texas. It is only fair to point out, how-
ever, that Professor Christian concerned himself with the public
services and political activities of Lamar, while Professor Gam-
brell admits the unilateral scope of his undertaking in his prefa-
tory statement "that this work is not so much a study of Lamar's
presidency as it is a study of the man's career." The worth of
the book may be measured, then, by the degree of success that
the author has attained in placing his protagonist against the
scenes of the half century in which he lived.
To this reviewer Lamar emerges from the pages of his biog-
raphy as the apotheosis of mediocre versatility. He did a num-
ber of things acceptably, but never exceptionally, well. He
was a military dilettante, a "talented amateur" in statescraft,


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 39, July 1935 - April, 1936. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed May 28, 2016.

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