these first essays present lively and well-written accounts of the Snively
expedition, Rangers on the border, and Texas under the secessionists.
While serious students of antebellum Texas are advised to consult
the author's Rip Ford's Texas for source material, Oates' account here
of Texas military activities during the Civil War is well documented.
His account of the battle of Galveston is especially interesting.
For Oates' empire-building Texans, the "martial spirit that had
dominated their lives in the antebellum period . . . gradually gave
way to a highly competitive economic spirit." The final two essays,
"Roaring Spindletop" and "The Space Age Comes to the Southwest,"
attempt to portray this spirit of competition. Culled largely from
secondary works (such as James A. Clark and Michel T. Halbouty's
Spiondletop), "Roaring Spindletop" provides a colorful description of
the early Texas oilfields near Beaumont-the fields which "produced
more wealth than the California goldrush."
The final essay, "The Space Age Comes to the Southwest," attempts
to delineate the forces underlying NASA's move to Texas in 1961
and to sketch the consequences attendant to development of a multi-
million dollar space project. Oates' argument that NASA chose Hous-
ton not because of political pressure but because of "the winning
combination of advantages Houston itself had to offer" is highly de-
batable. Had the author consulted the Albert Thomas Papers or
delved deeper into the NASA archives at Houston, he might well have
concluded that Houston's chief advantages were Lyndon Johnson and
In many respects, Visions of Glory is a perceptive and unusual book.
Oates' implicit belief that Texans have and do share dreams of empire,
political or economic, appeals to the imagination. Sadly, the uneven
quality of the book blurs this imagination; for one suspects that Oates
is right-that Jacob Snively and Rip Ford are really not so different
from the gentleman currently residing by the Pedernales River.
University of Texas, Austin GEORGE SHIPLEY
Runnels Is My County. By Charlsie Poe. (San Antonio: The Naylor
Company, 1970. Pp. xvi + 266. $7.95.)
Historians, genealogists, and the general public will appreciate this
recent addition to the list of Texas county histories. Charlsie Poe,
aided by the Runnels County Historical Survey Committee, has traced
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 74, July 1970 - April, 1971. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101200/. Accessed April 21, 2014.