The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 91, July 1987 - April, 1988

Book Reviews

When the place of the South in the international economy began to
change and cotton prices declined again in the 192os, the isolation of
the southern labor market began to end. Desperation forced southern-
ers to look elsewhere for work. New Deal programs in the 193os, which
raised wages nearer the national level, and the demand for labor cre-
ated in the North and in certain southern cities by World War II com-
pleted the degeneration of the isolated labor market. By the 196os eco-
nomic conditions in the South resembled those of the North.
This is a fruitful book-one which you might not always agree with,
but one which sparks many questions. For example, just how receptive
were northern employers to southern labor before the 192os? To what
degree did racism, anti-Confederate prejudice, or the desire to have a
more docile or more skilled labor force encourage the hiring of Euro-
pean immigrants instead of southern whites and blacks? In addition, to
what degree did the Southwest differ from the Southeast, the area to
which Wright devotes most of his study. Before the turn of the century,
northerners such as J. S. Cullinan, the founder of the Texas Company,
and Henry J. Lutcher, a pioneer East Texas lumberman, followed their
money south and brought managerial expertise and technological in-
novation to the petroleum and lumber industries. Does this mark Texas
as being different from the rest of the South? If so, how did the role of
property owners in Texas differ from that in the rest of the region?
Texas A&M University WALTER L. BUENGER
Plantation Life in Texas. By Elizabeth Silverthorne. (College Station,
Tex.: Texas A&M University Press, 1986. Pp. xvii+234. Preface, il-
lustrations, maps, notes, bibliography, index. $22.50.)
Elizabeth Silverthorne's Plantation Life in Texas is a beautifully de-
signed book, embellished with forty-four drawings and eight full pages
of watercolor representations of nineteenth-century Texas life by
Charles Shaw. Yet its attractiveness is not matched by its scholarly merit
or usefulness. It is an anecdotal compilation of material from inter-
views, manuscript plantation records, newspapers, and a seemingly ar-
bitrary selection of secondary sources. Except for George P. Rawick,
on whose collection of slave narratives Silverthorne relies heavily, the
book cites no general interpretations of slavery other than Kenneth M.
Stampp's The Peculiar Institution (1956) and John W. Blassingame's The
Slave Community (1972). It is thus not surprising that Silverthorne de-
votes so little attention to slave culture, religion, or family life, for she is
apparently not acquainted with the more recent work of such scholars

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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 November 23, 2014.