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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 82, July 1978 - April, 1979

Book Reviews

the idea was already under discussion. The hurricane gave emphasis
and impelled the change.
The commission form coincided with the progressive movement, and
in Des Moines reformers appended the ideas of initiative, referendum,
and recall. Between 1907 and 1917 about five hundred cities, coast-to-
coast, adopted the plan, but thereafter it lost popularity to the city-
manager form. Commission government was no panacea, and in time
faults appeared, such as the lack of a specific leader. According to the
author, it, nonetheless, provided initial efficiencies in government and
demonstrated the possibilities of urban reform.
The book is well written, to the point, and the best historical account
of the commission form of government. Information about the spread
and adoption of the plan which is provided in the text and appendix is
particularly useful and a credit to the thoroughness of the study. This
kind of diffusion data is rare, indeed. Bradley Rice has made a fine con-
tribution to political science and urban history.
Colorado State University DAVID MCCOMB
A Yankee in German America. By Vera Flach. (San Antonio: The Nay-
lor Company, 1974. Pp. vii+ 176. $5.95.)
In the early 192os the author of this book, a native of Chicago, aban-
doned a position teaching at Texas Woman's University and married
Ernst Kapp Flach, a German rancher in the hill country northwest of
San Antonio. Arriving at her new home, Vera Flach discovered a region
strange in custom but rich in heritage. Her attempts to understand the
culture of her husband and neighbors resulted in A Yankee in German
America.
The book is primarily a narrative of personal experience filled with
descriptions of the distinctive customs of the Germans of Texas. Detail
abounds on such topics as the celebration of the Geburtstag (birthday)
and the rituals of butchering and sausage-making. Mrs. Flach records
her initial distaste for certain attitudes of German men-their con-
tinual preoccupation with firearms, for instance, and their callous dis-
dain for religion.
Woven into her story is an exercise in family history. The material
presented is intriguing enough to compensate for a style occasionally
maudlin. Several documents are translated and reproduced, including
letters from Texas by Ernst and Ida Kapp (liberal German expatriates,
great-grandparents of Ernst Kapp Flach) and excerpts from the reports

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 82, July 1978 - April, 1979. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101206/. Accessed May 4, 2015.