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

Book Reviews

supplemented by many others taken especially for the book, she blends
stylistic analysis of architecture with an account of how design and con-
struction decisions, both public and private, were made in Fort Worth
during the boom years of the 192os and the depression and reconstruc-
tion years of the 1930s. General thematic chapters that emphasize the
relationships of architecture to the larger culture alternate with chap-
ters that contain mini-essays on specific buildings. Cohen does an ex-
cellent job of exploring the relationships among local architects, busi-
nessmen, and community leaders as revealed in the construction of
office towers, theaters, schools, hospitals, retail stores, and government
buildings. From a larger perspective, her study is important because
it demonstrates the degree to which a small midwestern city acted on
cosmopolitan aspirations and reveals how urban styles reached Fort
Worth-through architecture journals, cement industry promotions,
movies, the travels of influential citizens, and, in some cases, the work
of architects employed on a national basis by chain stores. Cohen origi-
nally began this study to promote preservation of Fort Worth's Art
Deco landmarks; one hopes that she succeeds as well in that as in her
scholarly intentions.
University of Texas at Austin JEFFREY L. MEIKLE
We're Czechs. By Robert L. Skrabanek. (College Station: Texas A&M
University Press, 1988. Pp. xiii+240. Preface, illustrations, bibli-
ography, index. $12.95, paper.)
Robert L. Skrabanek, a longtime professor of sociology at Texas
A&M University, has given us a very informative and entertaining book
on ethnic history couched in a very personal, informal, and folksy style.
He simply reminisces about his formative years in Snook, a small, pre-
dominantly Czech community in Burleson County.
Czechs are the second largest European ethnic group in the state.
They began arriving in Texas in the early 185os and kept coming in
increasingly larger numbers until the close of unrestricted immigration
in 1914. Most of them were farmers and settled in the area bounded
loosely by Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston. As a group the Czechs
have a history of developing strong ethnic communities wherever they
settled. Skrabanek, born a week after Armistice Day in 1918, grew to
adulthood in just such a community-virtually a closed society.
The author's recollections describe the simpler life of a simpler time.
His tales, told in a loose chronology, focus on those primary activities
that bound families and communities. Most of the chapters are anec-
dotal in nature and offer small intimate glimpses into the way rural
Czech families worked, celebrated, played, and worshipped. The tales

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 93, July 1989 - April, 1990. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101213/. Accessed October 24, 2014.