Southwestern Historical Quarterly
of West Virginia and Tennessee in generational stages. As respite from
his weekly round of being ridden and pulling a plow or wagon, so the
story goes, he was raced on Sunday over short straight distances, often
of a quarter-mile; hence the name "quarter horse."
With impressive scholarship and in clear prose, Mackay-Smith, a
distinguished Virginia horseman, journalist, and belletrist, strips the myth
of its egalitarian overtones and properly credits the quintessentially Texas
breed with its rightful progenitors, the Irish and English "Racing Hob-
bies" of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. In America, colonial quarter
race horses were-the best of them-as carefully bred and looked after
as the most expensive Thoroughbreds of the present day. Their owners
were as apt to be men with cultural ties to the second Charles as republican
farmers in whom the democratic impulse had started simmering.
Moreover, Mackay-Smith also convincingly details the influence of the
colonial quarter-horse strains in the horse-breeding of the nineteenth and
The wide-ranging bibliography is particulary useful in listing little-
known primary sources and citing sporting journals often thinly (if at all)
represented in even the most comprehensive libraries. The beautifully
illustrated book is published by Helen Kleberg Groves, only child of Bob
and Helen Kleberg of King Ranch fame, and is dedicated to Mr. Kleberg,
a prime mover in founding the American Quarter Horse Association
The University of Texas at Austin KURTH SPRAGUE
Life in the Oil Fields. By Roger M. Olien and Diana Davids Olien. (Austin:
Texas Monthly Press, 1986. Pp. ix + 263. Preface, introduction, map,
photographs, index. $19.95.)
There have been several petroleum histories inspired by the recent boom
and bust in the energy industry. However, unlike many previous authors
who followed a chronological approach, Roger M. and Diana D. Olien
have utilized oral history and outstanding vintage photographs to pre-
sent the heritage and culture of the oil industry and the individuals in-
volved in it. Life in the Oil Fields focuses on the rise of the Texas oil and
gas industry, but because of the migratory nature of the business, the
same stories can be applied throughout the nation's oil fields. When taken
in this context, the book is representative of America's oil boom era.
In portraying a bygone way of life, the authors have condensed inter-
views with 131 participants in the Texas oil boom and arranged them
in a topical series portraying the entire spectrum of the energy industry.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 91, July 1987 - April, 1988. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101211/. Accessed March 29, 2015.