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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 85, July 1981 - April, 1982

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

taken by the Roosevelt crowd. He played an insignificant role in sev-
eral farm bills, including the first AAA. He fought the "rainbow
promisers" (p. 128), but these were in fact the people who were initiat-
ing agrarian reforms. Certainly Jones wasn't.
As a leading expert on wartime food management, he favored high
prices for agricultural commodities to insure production, while the
administration favored a freeze on prices with subsidies to insure
production. He did not believe in the cause as strongly as Chester
Davis, however, who quit as War Food Administrator over that issue.
Finally, taking Davis's job, Jones delegated most of his authority to
others; he originated nothing, but took the kinks out of the program.
In the postwar years he served as a practical-minded judge on the U.S.
Court of Claims, reflecting "neither profound nor original thought"
(p. 250).
The author makes a few trivial errors, asserting, for example, that
lame-duck congresses no longer exist, giving Jones credit for the 1933
AAA, and not labeling some farm legislation in a clear and timely
way. But on the whole the book is well written and well researched
and should be valuable for agrarian scholars. I am less certain that it
is valuable for the rest of us. Jones had a long public career and was a
fairly important congressman and bureaucrat for a time, but the
author's excellent article on the Panhandle congressman in Agricul-
tural History (1977) probably contains all that most of us need to know
about Marvin Jones.
University of Texas, Arlington GEORGE N. GREEN
Talking with Texas Writers. By Patrick Bennett. (College Station:
Texas A8cM University Press, 1980. Preface, introduction, illustra-
tions, index. Pp. x+307. $17.50, hardback; $9.95, paperback.)
This is a useful book to dip into but not the kind that repays a sus-
tained reading. The reason is the genre, the interview format. For the
sake of consistency, Patrick Bennett asks each of his twelve subjects
basically the same questions. What hours do you like to write? (Most
say mornings.) Do you use a pencil or typewriter? (Those who can
type usually do.) Do you have any advice for beginning writers? (The
answers range from yes to no.) Most of the time Bennett observes the
cardinal rule of good interviewing: stay out of the picture; let the sub-
ject talk. But now and then his interests obtrude. He asks several writ-
ers what they think of Anthony Powell, a contemporary British author


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 85, July 1981 - April, 1982. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed May 6, 2016.

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