The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 65, July 1961 - April, 1962

aook Reviews
6,ooo Miles of Fence: Life on the XIT Ranch of Texas. By Cordia
Sloan Duke and Joe B. Frantz. Austin (University of Texas
Press), 1961. Pp. xxvi+231. Illustrations, index. $4.50.
This is the third major book dealing with the XIT Ranch.
The first, by J. Evetts Haley, became the subject of a fantastic,
two-year law suit (itself a potential subject for a book) which
ended in a compromise vindicating Haley as a historian but
leaving untarnished the reputation of a prominent South Plains
family. The second, by Lewis Nordyke, elicited one of the most
scathing book reviews of recent times. The third, the present
work by Cordia Sloan Duke and Joe B. Frantz, should meet with
no such difficulties. It is about as uncontroversial as a book can
be; it calls no one a cow thief, it brands no one as unscrupulous,
it impugns no one's reputation or motive. And besides, it is so
well written that no one could possibly work up any hard feeling
for it.
Indeed, one of the principal virtues of the book is the skillful
writing job by which Frantz imposed a sense of order and co-
herence on a body of source material that must have been as
rambling as it was disorganized. Cordia Sloan Duke, wife of a
former XIT foreman and historian of the XIT Round Up Asso-
ciation, has spent years collecting the reminiscences and scattered
recollections of XIT hands. In this vast amount of material, accu-
mulated during nearly half a century of active interest in the old
days on the fabulous ranch, Mrs. Duke knew she had something
valuable and worthwhile, but she was not quite sure what to do
with it. An appeal to Frank Wardlaw of the University of Texas
Press brought western historian Frantz to the rescue. Professor
Frantz, already known for his biography of Gail Borden and for
The American Cowboy: The Myth and The Reality, plunged
into the corral full of unbranded historical data with what was
quite apparently great glee.
For over a year he worked and culled these mavericks of the
past, running them from Mrs. Duke's pens through the crowding

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 65, July 1961 - April, 1962. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed September 2, 2015.