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

Book Reviews

Morris Shepherd. Jones kept in close touch with the members of the
Texas delegation and returned the favors of their support for his pro-
grams through his use of the RFC to support theirs.
Olson, who teaches at Sam Houston State University, is sensitive to
the Texas side of the RFC story but does not overplay it. Nor has he
prepared a narrow agency history. Rather, he skillfully describes the
role of the RFC within the context of the many political and economic
forces that shaped the Roosevelt administrations.
As I read this fine piece of scholarship, I sometimes had difficulty in
sorting out in my mind what I was reading in Olson's book and the daily
newspaper, since both were filled with tales of failure of financial in-
stitutions and government bailouts. After more than half a century, it
appears we are still "Saving Capitalism."
Stephen F. Austin State University JAMES V. REESE
Growth in a Changzng Envzronment: A History of Standard Ozl Company
(New Jersey), 1950-1972 and Exxon Corporatzon, 1972-975. By
Bennett H. Wall. (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1988.
Pp. xlv+ 1020. Introduction, prologue, charts, photographs, notes,
appendices, acknowledgments, index. $39.50.)
This voluminous study of twenty-five years in the history of Standard
Oil of New Jersey, subsequently called Exxon, is one of the better ex-
amples of its genre. Like most business histories it is densely packed
with facts, so much so that the reader might wonder whether the usual
tests of historical relevance may have been suspended or at least
stretched a bit. This feeling is particularly likely when the reader must
make his way through a thicket of names, nicknames, offices, corre-
spondence, and conferences in which all participants and interchanges
are identified at exhausting length. However, other scholars may well
find this archival material useful when they want to check out exact
sources and references for matters of more general interest.
The study has a worldwide focus, corresponding to the activities of
its subject. Most of its chapters concern foreign operations, but it offers
an extended and detailed examination of Humble Oil and Refining
Company (a Jersey subsidiary) that will be particularly interesting to
readers in Texas. Many who remember that feisty and intensely Texan
company probably shared the sense of loss hinted at by the author
when it was merged indistinguishably into the monolithic mass of
Exxon.
The chapter devoted to Humble illustrates one of the problems of
the book. It is largely organized into parallel chapters, each covering
one aspect of the corporation's activities or experiences over all or part

167

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 1, 2014.