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

Book Reviews

the lighter designs, power lifts, rubber tires, and three-point hitch had
created the modern farm tractor. Only in the late 197os and g1980s did
tractor sales begin a drastic decline, as dealerships and manufacturers
folded or consolidated. The decline in the number of farms, enlarge-
ment of the farm unit, introduction of the "monster" (p. 114) tractors,
and foreign competition marked the end of an era.
This history of the farm tractor is timely and interesting. It provides
a brief overview of an industry that requires further examination from
a number of perspectives. A technological history of the farm tractor
and related implements would be very useful. Business histories of the
firms are needed. Harry Ferguson merits a biography. The role and
history of the farm-implement dealers, drawing upon industry sources,
would be very instructive. The main deficiencies of the present study
are largely mechanical and structural. Firm records, especially those of
John Deere, IH, and Ford, would have been most useful, and this re-
viewer would have preferred that the material in Part 2 ("The Impact
of the Tractor on America") be integrated with the historical narrative.
This is a much-needed departure from the picture-book presentations
of the historic farm tractor.
Texas A&M University HENRY C. DETHLOFF
The Johnson Years, Volume Two: Vietnam, the Environment, and Science.
Edited by Robert A. Divine. (Lawrence, Kan.: University of Kansas
Press, 1987. Pp. ix+267. Preface, introduction, table, notes, in-
dex. $35.)
With volume 2 of The Johnson Years, Divine has shifted considerably
from the focus of volume 1. This series of essays, although based on
manuscripts in the Lyndon B. Johnson Library, is scarcely a survey of
the holdings of the library, or a guide to these records. Instead, the vol-
ume comprises a series of excellent monographs on Johnson and his
administration, without any coherent subject to glue them together.
I wonder-are these volumes to continue as annual clusters of the
best essays on Johnson? If so, the series could represent a new depar-
ture in publishing-a more flexible, more expensive replacement for
Divine opens with an updated bibliography. In a slightly defensive
way, he assesses several of the most critical recent books about Johnson.
Rarely has a former president, in such a brief period, suffered such a
devastating barrage of debunking biographies. Divine identifies either
distortion or unfairness in the savage jabs of Robert Caro, in the sor-
rowful disillusionment of Ronnie Dugger, in the litany of lost op-


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed March 2, 2015.