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

Book Reviews and Notices

appreciation of the grace and beauty of our language should ex-
hibit such editorial carelessness.
But the anthology, in spite of its serious drawbacks, is usable,
even valuable, because of the really fine material it affords. In
the hands of a judicious teacher it should fulfill its purpose by
proving a genuine delight to students. The pity is that the at-
tractive format, including numerous original illustrations, and
the literature itself should be overshadowed by pedagogy.
MARY GasCE Mus ADKINs.
A Cowman's Wife. By Mary Kidder Rak. (Boston: Houghton
Mifflin Company, 1934.) Pp. viii, 292.
Mrs. Rak gives in A Cowman's Wife a panoramic, yet gossipy,
picture of life on a ranch in southeastern Arizona-life as it has
presented itself to an intelligent woman who came to the ranch
a tenderfoot, but became, within a few years, almost as proficient
in working cattle as her husband. This collection of familiar
discourses omits nothing that pertains to the present-day cattle
ranch of the Raks. It is all here: working the cattle throughout the
year, trapping lobo wolves, watching bulls fight for the leader-
ship of the herd, teaching a Mexican girl to read, clearing land
for a hay field, roasting mescal heads to feed to the cattle, danc-
ing at a community fiesta in the schoolhouse, and even white-
washing a room with a mixture of buttermilk and ashes in prep-
aration for guests from the city.
In spite of the hardships, Mrs. Rak, who suggests that she is
a "peasant intellectual," retains her optimism and her ability to
enjoy life. The strongly flavored native expressions and the
lilting casualness with which she passes from one aspect of her
life to another indicates that Mary Rak is as indigenous as the
mescal plant itself. There is, in the last chapters of the book,
a suggestion of the heroism fostered peculiarly by the cattle
country which is subject to drouth. After the drouth has con-
verted the water holes into bogs and has scorched to a crisp every
green thing the cattle might eat, the cattlemen and their entire
families work day and night to feed and water the starving cat-

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 39, July 1935 - April, 1936. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101095/. Accessed September 21, 2014.