The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989

Book Revzews

of importance within the forty-one features, thirteen out of forty-one is
hardly conclusive evidence; referring to the tables, one discovers that
three of the crucial thirteen are listed as "very common" in both the
Fenno-Scandian and southern German regions; three more are listed
as "very common" in the German-Slavic but only "common" (two)
and even "rare" (one) in the Fenno-Scandian region; one is listed as
"common" in both the Fenno-Scandian region and the German-Slavic
borderland; one as "rare" in both those regions; four as "occasional"
in the Fenno-Scandian region and "rare" or "absent" in the others;
and only one (the single-crib barn) as "very common" in the Fenno-
Scandian region and "occasional" or "absent" in the others.
Jordan argues that "the strongest Fenno-Scandian influence occurs
in the most primitive Midland American forms-those associated with
pioneering and the frontier. The log cabin, with its round timbers,
saddle or crude V notching, log gable, and gently patched ridgepole
and purlin roof covered with boards, is largely Fenno-Scandian .. "
(p. 148) Yet of these six features only two, the V notch and the board-
covered roof, appear on the table on the previous page as occurring
only in the Fenno-Scandian region; the other four appear with equal
frequency ("very common") in southern Germany.
All of this may only indicate the futility of attempting to reduce cul-
tural geography to a quantifiable science, or it may mean that there is a
misprint in the tables. The fact remains that, after being carried along
toward the author's conclusion by lucid argument and clear explana-
tion, the reader is considerably let down by the final summary. To put it
another way, this is a book of brilliant insights and meticulous docu-
mentation in which individual pieces of carefully gathered evidence are
marshaled by the author to belie his conclusion. Jordan has done a
great deal to rehabilitate the Fenno-Scandian theory of log-cabin ori-
gins, but the jury, in this reviewer's opinion, is still out.
National Museum of American History LONN TAYLOR
Oklahoma Populism: A History of the People's Party in the Oklahoma Territory.
By Worth Robert Miller. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press,
1987. Pp. xiii+ 280. Preface, illustrations, notes, appendices, biblio-
graphical essay, index. $22.50.)
In June, 1893, an Oklahoma Democrat warned President Grover
Cleveland that if he appointed only former southerners to patronage
positions within the territory "it would be furnishing the disappointed
Democrats from the North an opportunity and excuse to combine with
Populists" and bring Oklahoma into the Union as a state without loyal
Democratic senators or presidential electors. The letter indicated the

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101212/. Accessed November 27, 2014.