The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956

Book Reviews

Perhaps the most astonishing blind spot in the book appears in
his interpretation of religion (which he bases on various mani-
festations of rugged and rustic piety without the slightest acknowl-
edgment of any of the great new religious movements and activ-
ities of twentieth-century Texas).
There are two fine possibilities suggested in Lone-Star Land.
One is that Frank Goodwyn, having tried this capacious frame
will one day fill it with the kind of insight and writing which
characterized his earlier work. The other is that later writers,
encouraged by the way in which Goodwyn whoops and hollers
through his subject, will get out from behind their safe little
academic entrenchments and go rollicking around with FG. What
matter if 1965 prove all their "perspectives" cock-eyed? It is time
more such writers held the steel glass up to Texas.
HARRY H. RANSOM
The University of Texas
The American Cowboy: The Myth and the Reality. By Joe B.
Frantz and Julian Ernest Choate, Jr. Norman (University
of Oklahoma Press), 1955. Pp. ix+232. Preface, notes, bib-
liography, index. $3.75.
In America's history and folklore, the swashbuckling cowboy
has cut a wide swath. His horsemanship and his skill with the
lariat and the six-gun have made him the hero of almost every
youngster. Some who have exploited this interest on the movie
and television screens, on the radio, and in the comic strips have
become multimillionaires. Meanwhile, fifty-four million adults
have read Zane Grey's novels.
Yet, until this book appeared, little had been done to evalue
the frontier cowpuncher as either a figure in the taming of the
West or as a folk hero. Here Joe B. Frantz of the University of
Texas and Julian Ernest Choate, Jr., of Lipscomb College draw
a line between fact and myth. They reveal the cowboy both as
he was and as he has been distorted in the legends and fiction of
hero worship.
The authors show that, on the fringe of advancing settlement,
at the meeting point between savagery and established order, the
cowboy played a civilizing role. He did more than to spread the

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101162/. Accessed August 27, 2014.