The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 79, July 1975 - April, 1976

Book Reviews
ROBERT A. CALVERT, Editor
The Papers of the Texas Revolution, 1835-1836. Edited by John H. Jen-
kins. (Austin: Presidial Press, 1973. 10 vols. Pp. [vi]+4864. Anno-
tations, index. $I 15 )
The appearance of these ten volumes constitutes a twin surprise. One is
that the task has never been attempted by past generations of good bibli-
ographers. The other is that in this generation John H. Jenkins has pulled
off the accomplishment, for this is the kind of work that usually emanates
from thirty years of unremitting labor and finally appears either in the twi-
light of a man's life or perhaps posthumously.
On labor alone The Papers of the Texas Revolution represents the con-
summation of a prodigious effort. While one can quarrel with specifics of
the publication, in no way can one diminish the fact that it has been done.
Others may come along with superseding editions, but these Papers will
invariably be the starting place for studies of these two momentous years
in the history of a fledgling Texas and the unfolding of a myth.
Again, in most works of this kind the editor is basically a gray sort of
person, little known. The work is what matters. But Jenkins is a young
motion machine who constantly amazes with all he accomplishes. If he
doesn't crack up from breaking too many historical sound barriers, no telling
what he will publish in the next thirty years.
Herein lies one of the faults of this "young man in a hurry." Despite his
awesome knowledge of Texana and Texan personalia, to borrow a phrase
that Eugene C. Barker once used about William C. Binkley, his works
invariably show certain signs of haste. Proofreading is erratic, and not
infrequently the book itself has a slapdash quality about its makeup. But
you can't deny one fact-the books get published, and each makes a con-
tribution.
As I read reviews of Jenkins's various works, I can't decide whether I and
other reviewers are annoyed because he is building up such a numerically
impressive number of publications, whether we are therefore being picky
about a multiplicity of unnecessary errors, or whether we are genuinely con-
cerned because a fine talent is being flawed by haste. Academics are the
world's worst to blame others for what they have not done themselves, and
if you left it up to most of them, they would still be looking for additional
material before publishing the Bible. They would damn MacBeth and

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 79, July 1975 - April, 1976. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101203/. Accessed November 27, 2014.