The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959

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OTIS A. SINGLETARY, Editor
Brann and the Iconoclast. By Charles Carver. Introduction by
Roy Bedichek. Austin (The University of Texas Press), 1957-
Pp. ix+195. $3.95-
This reviewer remembers the admiration aroused among the
educated rustics of South Carolina almost half a century ago for a
Texas journalist named Brann. He relieved the boredom that had
settled upon us because the glories of the Civil and Spanish-Amer-
ican wars had become mere memories. The Agrarian Rebels had
faded: Ben Tillman had turned conservative and 'Tom Watson was
almost mad. The writing of Brann was an invigorating breeze
from Texas, where seemingly all the wildness of that legendary
state had not perished with the death of the South Carolina emi-
grants, Bonham and Wigfall. The great wave of piety had not yet
completely created the Bible Belt. Lingering among the rural in-
telligentsia were memories of the glorious campaign that Thomas
Jefferson had carried on in favor of free thought. Before Prohibi-
tion and other manifestations of the growing power of the evan-
gelical churches had made themselves fully felt, we old-timers
who imagined ourselves new-timers were delighted when Brann,
from a citadel of Baptist strength, fired charges of adultery and all
manner of sin against the Baptists.
Mr. Carver, a New York journalist who has taught drama in
Brann's home city of Waco, has brought together in his little book
the essential facts about the Texas firebrand. This is a lurid story
packed with the Wild-West behavior of a crusader for what he
considered right. Brann got his start in Waco by rising in a Prot-
estant assembly to upbraid a denouncer of "The Romanish con-
spiracy." He, through the wide circulation of an abusive journal,
was a rebel against the hypocrisy of late Victorianism. In a com-
munity that echoed each Sunday with fifty pulpit orators who as-
serted that salvation was only to be found in One Book, he claimed
that there were other sacred books of equal merit. He coupled

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101173/. Accessed July 13, 2014.