The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 76, July 1972 - April, 1973

Book Reviews

the original. This edition appears with a new copyright, no mention is
made of the original publication by Dutton. The only revisions that
are evident are the changes in title and the superficial one page preface
by Harry L. Shapiro, professor of anthropology at Columbia University.
This book is recommended for all libraries which do not have copies
of the original edition, for art collectors interested in American Indians,
and for students of the American Indian who may be unfamiliar with
the writings of John Collier. As commissioner of Indian Affairs from
1933 to 1945 and as the leading figure in the movement to preserve In-
dian culture from 1921 to his death in 1968, Collier was the most elo-
quent and influential white spokesman for the Indian cause in the
twentieth century. His description of southwestern Indian culture in
this book is one of his finest works.
North Texas State University LAWRENCE C. KELLY
Some Things I Did. By Roxy Gordon. (Austin: The Encino Press, 1971.
Pp. 127. $6.95.)
Remember when the campuses were adrift on the winds of change?
Remember when college students marched, picketed, and talked about
social reform and how necessary it was to solve the United States's social
ills? Remember? Let's flash back in time several years. The LBJ admin-
istration is waging its "War on Poverty," and the vanguard of this
campaign is the so-called "domestic Peace Corps," Volunteers In Service
To America (VISTA). The idea of VISTA is to take activist-oriented
students and siphon their energies into "bettering" the poor communi-
ties of this country. Some Things I Did is a young Texan's account of
his life while fighting the war on poverty.
Roxy Gordon has set down in his small volume one of the most con-
cise descriptions of the ordeal of a government-supported activist that I
have seen to date. Gordon gives a rather keen little window into the
thinking of the VISTA staff and strategists. What we see is a very callous
and absurd perspective of poor people that characterizes them, in Gor-
don's words, as "not human at all, but some super-sensitive, super-stupid
aliens who must be eternally conned." We see also that Gordon, his wife,
and his fellow VISTA trainees had to be reconditioned to present a
formidable "Positive Presentation of Self" in order to lift the dullards of
the community out of their despair.
But Some Things I Did is more than a just indictment of our theory-

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 76, July 1972 - April, 1973. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101202/. Accessed December 20, 2014.