He was also the archetype of the simple, naive politician with a
holy cause to fight for, but with a weakness to let himself be used
by parties and cliques for their own sinister purposes. Starting
out as a Jacksonian Democrat, he found himself being wined
and dined by the Whigs who shamefully abused his misguided
collaboration. This unholy alliance, made originally to secure
passage of Crockett's land bill, finally turned him into a fanatical
enemy of Andrew Jackson and a friend of the Second Bank of
the United States.
The author with brutal fairness shows up Crockett in all his
weaknesses. At the same time, he brings out the real greatness in
the man, even in his final defeat at his last try for Congress in
1835 at the age of forty-nine. Of course the author leans heavily
on the Autobiography.
To Texans, who have been fed on the tall tales and the spurious
"exploits" only, the last chapters of the book and the unspectac-
ular death of the hero unarmed in front of the Alamo will come
as an anti-climax. Shackford adopts Madame Candelaria's version
of Crockett's death as given by her to William Corner in 1888,
and published in his San Antonio de Bexar, as the only credible
version. But, after all, David Crockett deserved to die among
heroes and he did so. One may rightfully conclude that his mere
presence in the Alamo inspired its defenders to superhuman
valor. The author's estimate of the real David Crockett is such
that his heroic proportions gain rather than lose by the "real"
story. A careful reading of this book is sobering but it is exactly
what the author intended it to be.
HENRY B. DIELMANN
The Road to Spindletop. By John S. Spratt. Dallas (Southern
Methodist University Press), 1955. Pp. xxix+337. $5.00.
In 1875 Texas was on the road to recovery from the Civil War,
Reconstruction, and the Panic of 1873; it had a frontier subsist-
ence economy. In 1901 the discovery of oil at Spindletop began
an economic development that made Texas an industrial empire.
But between those two dates Texas underwent a quarter-century
of economic change that was both quantitative and qualitative;
ranchers and farmers settled the western part of the state on a
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 60, July 1956 - April, 1957. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101163/. Accessed July 11, 2014.