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

Book Revzews

Four chapters of the book are devoted to a single case that Burges
participated in outside of Texas, the defense of the sheriff and towns-
folk of Bisbee, Arizona, against charges of kidnapping. These charges
stemmed from the roundup and removal of 1,2oo striking I.W.W.
miners from the Phelps Dodge plant in Bisbee to Columbus, New Mex-
ico. These chapters provide an interesting account of the defense's
preparation for the resulting trial.
The main flaw in this book is that the author, like his mentor William
Burges before him, is always an advocate. Burges's position in every
case and on every political issue is justified and defended. Burges's op-
ponents are described as ranging from laughable to traitorous, and
they are always wrong. A more unbiased discussion of the cases may
have led to a greater understanding of the issues.
University of Texas at Austin ROBIN A. MELVIN
Pilgrim in the Sun: A Southwestern Omnibus. By C. L. Sonnichsen. (El
Paso: Texas Western Press, 1988. Pp. xvi+272. Preface, notes, ac-
knowledgments. $25.00, cloth; $15.00, paper.)
The Laughing West: Humorous Western Fiction Past and Present. An An-
thology. Compiled and edited by C. L. Sonnichsen. (Athens: Swal-
low Press/Ohio State University Press, 1988. Pp. xi+3oo0. Acknowl-
edgments, introduction, afterword. $24.95, cloth; $11.95, paper.)
Doc Sonnichsen is my kinda guy: outlive your detractors, then write
a book. Readers of the Southwestern Historical Quarterly will recall the ac-
count of his prickly relationship with J. Frank Dobie that appeared in
the July 1988 Dobie-Webb commemorative issue. Sonnichsen sets the
record straight less with vinegar than with disarming humor. He does it
again in prefatory notes for each chapter of Pilgrim in the Sun, a collec-
tion of selected chapters from his previous books.
Confessing his belief that it is better to be slandered than ignored,
Sonnichsen opens with a discussion of how he found his niche as a
grass-roots historian. This essay, "Blood on the Typewriter," is a spir-
ited defense for those of us who enjoy our love affair with history that is
less than respectable. It is a theme that he expanded upon in The Am-
bidextrous Historian (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1981). At
other times Doc delights in recounting how his publishers seemed con-
genitally unable to recognize a good thing when they saw it. These
stories-behind-the-stories make rollicking good reading. Nearly all of
Doc's books are represented in this anthology, beginning with Billy
King's Tombstone in 1942. None of the choices can be faulted, and one of
them is actually the introduction for the second book under review here.


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 93, July 1989 - April, 1990. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed April 17, 2014.