The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 70, July 1966 - April, 1967

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

In his Introduction C. L. Sonnichsen gives a sketch of Wil-
liams' career, implementing the information brought out in
the writings that are published. S. D. Myres has done a superb
piece of work in providing explanations and background for
several hundred references. Clayton W. Williams is credited
with doing research, Jose Cisneros with maps and sketches, J. E.
Davis with typography, and Carl Hertzog with design. The result
is a superior book, in keeping with the quality of the writings
of O. W. Williams. Notwithstanding his talent and the rich
content of his writings, he was never widely known and there
was danger of his being forgotten. For our time at least this
publication assures him a place among the worthy writers of the
Old West.
Hardin-Simmons University RUPERT N. RICHARDSON
This Stubborn Soil. By William A. Owens. New York (Charles
Scribner's Sons), 1966. Pp. 1-3o8. $5.95.
This is one of the best American autobiographies written in
our time. It takes the author from his birth in 1905 on a farm
near Pin Hook, Texas, down to his entry into college at Com-
merce, Texas. During most of the book, Bill Owens is not far
from his birthplace in the northeastern corner of the state.
Bill was born while his father in the next room lay dying of
meningitis, contracted when he was away from home picking
cotton on the black waxy prairie, his own crop having failed
in the sandy soil of Pin Hook. With the help of her older boys,
Bill's mother had to carry on the work of the farm. Owens'
grandmother and also his great-grandmother had lost their
husbands young and had been forced to plough and cut wood.
As soon as he was able, Bill had to help out. Life was very hard
for the family, and in the worst years the boys had no shoes and
had to stay home from school during freezing weather. Mr. Owens
writes of conditions as they were and allows no note of self-
pity or complaint to enter in.
After several jobs in Dallas and more farm work and schooling
in Pin Hook, Bill was sure that he must go to college. With
only an eighth grade education, he persuaded the president of

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 70, July 1966 - April, 1967. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101199/. Accessed April 18, 2014.