The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 88, July 1984 - April, 1985

Book Reviews

cates of the second view-dominated Houston and, by implication,
had set the city on a path it follows today.
Platt is not the first to suggest that services were manipulated for
other reasons than promoting health and comfort. Indeed, the boss
system that prevailed in many cities in the nineteenth century de-
pended heavily on control of services for political ends. But Platt gives
a detailed and carefully researched rationale for the evolution of mu-
nicipal responsibility in this area, a subject that is often glossed over
in other studies. Although motivation for action is difficult to deter-
mine, especially in the case of the "metropolitans," who are not identi-
fied as precisely as they might have been-Platt presents a persuasive
argument about urban growth in Houston.
In his conclusion, Platt places Houston's growth in the larger con-
text of the New South. His strongest assertion is that in the search for
greater efficiency in the delivery of services, Houston leaders came to
rely upon the "politics of exclusion" (p. 209). He adds that municipal
reformers throughout the country pursued "discriminatory goals" in
distributing services and political power, but that "success in achiev-
ing these anti-democratic ends by manipulation of structural reform
was restricted largely to the South" (p. 2o9). One might question the
geographical limits Platt imposes with this argument, but the notion
of a "politics of exclusion" deserves more attention in the context of
service delivery. It is a tantalizing point, suggested merely as a footnote
in this excellent study.
Texas A&rM University MARTIN V. MELOSI
Wildlife and Man in Texas: Environmental Change and Conservation.
By Robin W. Doughty. (College Station, Tex.: Texas A8cM Uni-
versity Press, 1983. Pp. xv+246. Preface, introduction, maps, pic-
tures, tables, bibliography, index. $16.95.)
Novelist Larry McMurtry has in past years urged Texas fiction
writers to give up their characteristic probing of the man-land relation-
ship in order to write urban-based novels about the state. It is fortu-
nate that historians, geographers, and Texas scholars in American
studies have not heeded that advice. The state's legacy of environmental
action may not be much to brag about, but ever since the days of Wal-
ter Prescott Webb, J. Frank Dobie, and Roy Bedichek, Texas has
been home to an impressive number of academics who have written on
the Texas environment and human history. Like the novelists, who
have paid scant attention to McMurtry's advice, they keep turning out


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 88, July 1984 - April, 1985. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed May 30, 2016.

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