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

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

rial was hard to come by, mostly interviews with the few surviving
friends (two major interviewees had died by the time the book was pub-
lished) and relatives (mainly Anderson's widow, whom he married
three times!) and scant personal documents; thus there is padding. But
it is more often helpful than annoying. Bennett also delivers a nice pe-
riod piece from the 192os through the 194os and introduces us to such
secondary characters as Abilene writer John H. Knox, for instance, or
Chester Seltzer ("Amado Muro") of El Paso, Gene Fowler, the Holly-
wood legend, and a bit of negative Frank Dobie (Anderson didn't like
him). The literary climate of a large part of Texas is displayed: Abilene,
Houston, Fort Worth, El Paso, the Hill Country, Cuero, Brownsville,
and the Rio Grande valley. Finally, the book proves that the history ap-
paratus of Texas needs to pay more attention to Texas writers and their
literature. Any reader can see historical gold shining through the fac-
tual gravel.
Center for Texas Studies, A. C. GREENE
University of North Texas
Watkins Reynolds Matthews: A Bzography. By Lawrence Clayton. (Abilene,
Tex.: Hardin-Simmons University Press, 1990o. Pp. 123. Illustra-
tions, acknowledgments, preface, notes, bibliography, index. $65.)
One of the richest ranching traditions in America belongs to the
Lambshead Ranch at Albany, Texas. For many decades now this opera-
tion has been the lengthened shadow of its ninety-year-old managing
partner Watt Matthews. His tenth decade may be his best yet if one may
judge by the simultaneous appearance of two new books about the man
and the ranch that has been his life. He has filled that life with such
achievement and with such interesting associations that his story makes
a great read.
Matthews emerges from Clayton's well-organized account as a prin-
cipled, caring, unpretentious individual of unquenchable goodwill and
decency. Totally devoid of condescension, his employees don't work for
him-they work with him. Watt-and everyone calls him that-is a
hero to the people who know him best, the residents of Shackleford
and Throckmorton counties where his Lambshead Ranch is located.
Watt's post office and base of operation is located at Albany, itself a
place that seems almost too good to be true. It does number a few, how-
ever, who are too true to be good-just enough to make it a real place
after all. This small community, which seems so redolent of quintessen-
tial American values, is remarkable for its cohesiveness, its inclusive-
ness, its urbanity, and its willingness not only to tolerate but to actively
promote and showcase the talents of those in the community who

162

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 94, July 1990 - April, 1991. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101214/. Accessed August 27, 2014.