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

Book Reviews

complex forces that helped shape the city. But in its rush to entertain,
the book spends a disproportionate amount of time on some tangential
actors in Fort Worth's history. For instance, sixteen pages are devoted to
the adventures of marshall Jim Courtright, while another five pages are
given to Fort Worth's connection with Butch Cassidy and the Wild
Bunch. Although accounts of these individuals probably do convey the
raw frontier nature of the city, neither Courtright nor Cassidy really
played a significant role in the city's development or represent the expe-
riences of most residents. Instead of focusing so much attention on
these characters, the book would have benefitted from exploring the
development of the city's physical infrastructure in more detail and by
providing additional information on those behind that development.
Of course the shortcomings of this text reflect more on the undevel-
oped nature of historical writing on Fort Worth than on the inade-
quacies of the author, who relied heavily on secondary sources. Much
of what has previously been written on Fort Worth focuses on gun-
fighters and Indians, rather than the process of city building or the
changing role of the city in the national urban system. Only when that
research is completed can we expect a first-rate urban history of Fort
Worth. Until then, however, books like the one under review will pro-
vide a valuable introduction to a fascinating yet untold story.
The University of Texas at Arlington ROBERT B. FAIRBANKS
Alex Sweet's Texas: The Lighter Side of Lone Star History. Edited by Virginia
Eisenhour. (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1986. Pp. xxii+ 192.
Index, illustrations. $19.95, cloth; $9.95, paper.)
The editor of this volume has collected some of the best of Alex
Sweet's humorous writings-"siftings," he called them-about Texas.
Sweet, best known as the coauthor (with J. Armoy Knox) of On a Mexi-
can Mustang through Texas, from the Gulf to the Rio Grande (1883), wrote
newspaper columns for the San Antonio Express, the San Antonio Her-
ald, and the Galveston Daily News. He and Knox later bought the Austin
Weekly Review, which was renamed Texas Siftings. The periodical quickly
grew to have a circulation of 50,ooo, and in 1884 Sweet and Knox
moved the Siftings to New York City, where it became one of the best-
known humor magazines in the country.
Editor Virginia Eisenhour has brought together writings from Alex
Sweet's columns in all the papers he wrote for, as well as some of the
best selections from On a Mexican Mustang. Her system of arrangement
is by subject-"The State," "Cities," "People," "Life," and "Natural Re-
sources." At first glance, the book's organization seems forced and ar-

265

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 August 23, 2014.