The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 86, July 1982 - April, 1983

Book Reviews

for paternal, monopolistic practices, native Mexicans deserted tradi-
tional forms and adapted to the new conditions. Thus native-born
frontiersmen differed from their counterparts of the central plateau,
and when Anglos offered another form of government, they were re-
ceptive to change because Mexico City had failed to recognize their dif-
fering needs.
Weber diverges from the traditional view that westward expansion
by aggressive Anglo-Americans was manifest destiny, and offers instead
the idea that Mexico lost the borderlands through neglect.
University of Houston at Clear Lake City MARGARET S. HENSON
Petroleum Politics and the Texas Railroad Commission. By David F.
Prindle. (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1981. Pp. ix+230.
Index. $14.95.)
This study of the only elective state regulatory commission in the
United States promises much and delivers little. Prindle examines
seven petroleum-policy episodes in the history of the Railroad Commis-
sion, beginning with the battle over the prorating of oil in the early
193os and concluding with the Lo-Vaca contract dispute in the 1970s.
He wanted to analyze why the regulators made the choices they did,
but his lack of research renders his conclusions suspect. This is not a
significant contribution to the growing body of regulation literature.
The focus of the book is schizophrenic. Prindle chose topics marked
by conflict within the agency or between the regulators and the indus-
try, eschewing nondecisions, for those "would make for a short and un-
informative book" (p. o0). He promised to explore how the commis-
sioners arrived at their decisions, but he failed to examine in depth the
men and their backgrounds, the structure of the agency, or the proce-
dures under which it operated. Nor did he compare the regulators'
tasks in the petroleum industry with those in the railway and trucking
industries. Contrary to the implications in this book, the commission-
ers did not spend one hundred percent of their time monitoring oil
and gas; in the early 1930s the commission led the country in control-
ling the still-young trucking industry.
The problem in focus is related to the lack of research. In reading
the footnotes (no bibliography was furnished) along with the text, this
reviewer found long narrative sections that were not documented, as
well as few citations to Railroad Commission records or private manu-
script collections. Though Prindle is a political scientist, he employs

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 86, July 1982 - April, 1983. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101209/. Accessed September 19, 2014.