The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 93, July 1989 - April, 1990

Book Reviews

Gateway to Texas is literally a labor of love by staff members and local
citizens associated with the Heritage House Museum. As is often the
case in a work involving numerous authors, the volume is of uneven
quality. Some of the chapters are well researched and reflect the latest
historical scholarship. The chapters on early Indian life, the republic,
the Civil War, and the cattle, rice, and lumber industries are particu-
larly impressive. The chapters on slavery and on Reconstruction (only
three pages) follow the interpretations of U. B. Phillips and Archibald
Dunning. Chapter 8, social violence in the county, seems out of place.
Although most of the content relates to the post-Reconstruction pe-
riod, in the present volume the chapter is located before the Civil War.
Like many Texas county histories the book is stronger on the nine-
teenth century than the twentieth. The effect of the civil rights move-
ment, the merger of school districts, and the cultural impact of the
Stark Museum and Lutcher Theater deserve more attention than they
receive. Even with these limitations, Gateway to Texas is a worthwhile con-
tribution to local history. The authors have uncovered a good deal of
material and deserve praise for their efforts to preserve the history of
this section of the state. The many illustrations will bring back memo-
ries of a colorful past. The listing of names of county officials in the
appendix will be welcomed by future political historians seeking such
Lamar University RALPH A. WOOSTER
Jack Longstreet: Last of the Desert Frontiersmen. By Sally Zanjani. (Athens:
Ohio University Press, Swallow Press, 1988. Pp. x+ 171. Acknowl-
edgments, introduction, illustrations, photographs, notes, bibli-
ography, index. $19.95, cloth; $9.95, paper.)
Jack Longstreet was a desert rat, a cantankerous lone wolf who out-
lived the frontier by decades, but who somehow maintained a fiercely
independent existence on the fringe of civilization until the 192os. The
first half of Longstreet's life is obscure: a Southerner, he was rumored
to have been a Confederate guerrilla, a Pony Express rider, and a man-
killer during his early years. He had an ear sliced off when he was a
young man, perhaps because he was a horse thief, but he never offered
an explanation for the amputation, and he remained ferociously de-
fensive about the mysterious disfigurement. Longstreet always was reti-
cent about his past, and little can be pinpointed about his life until he
reached his forties.
Longstreet probably was born in 1838 in Louisiana, but not until the
188os, when he turned up in Utah as a prospector and squaw man, can


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 93, July 1989 - April, 1990. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed November 30, 2015.