The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 94, July 1990 - April, 1991

Book Reviews

MFGC activities as radical and revolutionary threats to establshed au-
thority, contributed to the organization's demise by the late i93os.
Working the Waterfront is important because it represents "history
from the bottom up" as told by a participant, a genre which has been all
too rare in labor studies, especially those of the South. The introduc-
tion by historian George Green provides valuable background for the
reader unfamiliar with the history of the maritime unions.
Overall, the volume should prove to be essential to anyone interested
in the waterfront unions and in understanding the development of a
radical perspective by a working longshoreman.
Rough and Rowdy Ways: The Life and Hard Times of Edward Anderson. By
Patrick Bennett. (College Station: Texas A&M University Press,
1988. Pp. xv+191. Preface, illustrations, sources, bibliography,
index. $16.95.)
Readers may ask, who is or was Edward Euell Anderson? Edward
(Eddie) Anderson was a Texan who, in the 193os and 194os, wrote not
the usual rural narrative but of the desperate social and political en-
vironment of his days, the depression years, as his titles suggest: Hun-
gry Men and Thieves Like Us.
In the 193os he was hailed as quite a promising author, and his books
found a decent amount of critical acceptance both in the United States
and Great Britain. Issued first in a special Literary Guild edition, Hun-
gry Men was reissued in 1985 and translated into French. Thieves Like Us
was a good seller (three editions, the last in 1987) and twice has been
made into a movie, first in 1950 as They Live by Night, and in 1974 under
its own title by director Robert Altman. But the story of Eddie Ander-
son is not of his success but of his long, often sadly tragic struggles to
become a successful writer. Born 1905 in Weatherford, Texas, Ander-
son grew up "everywhere," as his father, a printer, led the family over
Oklahoma and Texas. It was only natural that the son should become a
newspaperman, working for fifty-two papers, mainly in Texas. But the
importance of Anderson's life lies in what it shows today's writer, not so
much what he did as an individual. Anderson was, if not the first, cer-
tainly among the earliest of "modern" Texas authors, writing from a
regional background-but not a regional environment. Today his liter-
ary value is held higher in many other parts of the world than in Texas.
He went to Hollywood not for fame but for fortune, but the Hollywood
years extracted a tragic artistic and spiritual toll.
Pat Bennett tells the Anderson story in direct, unadorned prose that
delivers a satisfactory portrait of both man and writer. Resource mate-

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 94, July 1990 - April, 1991. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed May 30, 2016.

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