The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 99, July 1995 - April, 1996

Book Reviews

ward expansion and the contemporary West that took clear shape during the
Depression and World War II. Their memories remind us how much good histo-
ry waits to be written about those years. There is Lavender's pre-tourist
Telluride, Colorado, with its fading mines and surrounding ranches; the farming
and lumberjack country of Rice's Willamette Valley; Guthrie's Choteau,
Montana, as tractors intruded and "cowboys ... gave way to mechanics" (p. 61);
the Platte Valley of Morris's youth, a place of traveling drummers, air shows, and
a whole culture grown around the vital line of the railroad. Relatively little is
here on the emotional texture of these boys' home lives, although enough to
remind us that their families could be as fractured and difficult as our own.
It is up to the reader to find lessons about the making of the western charac-
ter. The writers themselves mostly just tell their stories, with obvious enjoyment.
The closest to an exception is the theme of the landscape's subtle shaping force.
Stegner tells of being molded by the West's "bigness, space, clarity, and hopeful-
ness" (p. 185), and Guthrie writes that "space has shaped me, space and distance
and the outdoors" (p. 62). Mythic the idea may be, but if these authorities are to
be believed, the expansive, liberating power of the western environment was
grounded in experience, at least for some.
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville ELLIOTT WEST
When I Was Just Your Age: Remarkable Reflections on Growing Up in Another Era. By
Robert Flynn and Susan Russell. (Denton: University of North Texas Press,
1992. Pp. xiii+175. Foreword, acknowledgments, introduction. ISBN o-
92939-831-9. $14.95, paper.)
This is a Texas Foxfire book of sorts. When I Was Just Your Age began as part of
the educational program of the Learning About Learning Educational
Foundation of San Antonio. Later funding came from the National Endowment
for the Humanities. The program sought to develop "ways of actively and per-
sonally connecting children to the past" by setting up oral history interviews
between children and Texans of their grandparents' and great-grandparents'
generations. The interview topic chosen was the recollected experiences of the
interviewees' early-twentieth-century childhoods.
Thirteen brief, heavily edited oral history accounts of remembered child-
hoods make up this short book, which seems mainly intended for teachers and
other interested adults who might wish to duplicate the experiment. The
authors do not explain why these persons were chosen over the project's many
other interviewees, but a concern with multiculturalism, regional representation,
and diversity of life experience shows up in the choice of such persons as play-
wright Horton Foote, lawyer Maury Maverick Jr., Native American political
activist Nakai Breen, retail magnate Stanley Marcus, and African American pho-
tographer Fannie Chism.
All accounts are brief, and some seem superficial in coverage, as if they were
the product of a single interview. However, because of the uniqueness and uni-
versality of the topic, none is without interest, and some are very good indeed.

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 99, July 1995 - April, 1996. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101217/. Accessed February 1, 2015.