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

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

stand for a long time as the definitive history of this part of Texas before
the Civil War.
The three opening and twelve closing chapters fall short of this standard.
In chapter two, while the author gives a competent account of the
eighteenth-century French and Spanish exploration of the region, she re-
peats much of the fiction contained in the highly questionable Journal of
Jean Lafitte published by Vantage Press in 1958 (see the review in The
Journal of Southern History, [February, 1960], p. 138).
In the closing chapters she abandons the chronological plan of organiza-
tion and falls back on the topical system favored by Texas county historians
since the I920S: chapters on schools, churches, clubs, doctors, cemeteries,
and so on. This fragmented approach obscures the development of Liberty
during the last century. Politics are completely ignored; economic develop-
ment is touched on only in a chapter on "Spindletop and Other Oil
Booms"; the Depression is not even mentioned, nor the impact of World
War II, nor the Civil Rights movement; in fact, virtually nothing is said
about the black population of Liberty County. The topical system is a re-
flection of the pre-Depression attitude that frontier towns were founded in
adversity and struggled to stability; that once stability was achieved, history
ended; and that the conclusion should be a description of the institutions of
a full-grown community. The topical approach is not well suited to writing
history in the 197os, and it does not serve this book at all.
The illustrations are profuse, if somewhat haphazard. The value of in-
cluding "artist's interpretations" of structures and events seems questionable,
as does the point of printing twenty-five photographs of historical markers.
However, there are many fine photographs from the 'eighties and 'nineties,
and many useful maps. One of these, a plan of the town of Liberty as it
was laid out by Jos6 Francisco Madero in I831, suggests a worthwhile
bicentennial project: reviving the original names of Liberty's streets. Socra-
tes, Demosthenes, Cincinnatus, and Cicero streets would be much more
distinctive than Main, Crockett, Fannin, and Austin, and Calle India
Azteca would be unequalled anywhere in the state.
University of Texas at Austin, Winedale Museum LONN TAYLOR
Captain Phillip Dimmitt's Commandancy of Goliad (1835-1836). By Ho-
bart Huson. (Austin: Von Boeckmann Jones, 1974. Pp. iii+299. Illus-
trations, bibliography. $15.)
This professionally tailored volume presents a monographic study of an
episode in the "Federalist Wars in Texas, I832-I 836." Huson's approach

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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 29, 2014.