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

Book Reviews

includes many of his masterful drawings and cartoons. Because of information
contained in the diary, Fujita was later called to testify at some of the Japanese
war crime trials in San Francisco.
Fujita's diary shows that he considered himself a loyal American. His account
is certainly truthful. He discusses Japanese guards who were brutal and sadistic,
as well as others who were kind and benevolent. Despite the subject, the book
reveals much of the humor of Fujita and his comrades. And in our drab, politi-
cally correct world, Foo is refreshing in that it never deviates from its view of the
Japanese as the aggressors and barbarians of the Pacific war-the view of a
Japanese American who served his country with dignity and honor.
Austin MARK CHOATE
John Lamrn. By Joseph Edward Blanton. (Albany, Tex.: Venture Press, 1994. Pp.
41. Acknowledgments, index. $19.95.)
By all accounts John Larn was a tough and controversial customer. More than
a century has passed since a party of vigilantes entered the Albany, Texas, jail
and summarily executed the prosperous rancher, former sheriff, and accused
outlaw, at the same time forcing several of his confederates, including John
Selman, to leave the region.
In the past century, historians, through constant repetition, have enshrined as
history much hearsay about Larn's career and sorry demise. Some of the most
pervasive stories implicate members of the prominent Reynolds and Matthews
families of Shackelford County in the killing. These tales and their tellers are the
principal targets of this brief monograph by the late Joseph Blanton, with assis-
tance from his venerable uncle Watt Matthews.
Seeking to "refute the many lies which have been written about the Larn
affair" (p. 6), Blanton, a Princeton-trained architect and author of previous
books on church organs, carefully analyzes the available documentary evidence
and oral testimony, including a transcript of the inquest held a few hours after
Larn's murder. He begins by correcting or clarifying minor details of Larn's
birth, childhood, and early career before moving on to the crux of the matter:
the circumstances surrounding Larn's death.
None of the major historical accounts of the Larn saga, including Edgar Rye's
The Quirt and the Spur, C. L. Sonnichsen's I'll Die Before I Run, Charles Robinson's
recent The Frontier World of Fort Griffin, escapes his scrutiny and condemnation.
According to Blanton, each is flawed, some by "pure fiction" (p. 24), others by
tainted evidence.
Besides setting the historical record straight on John Larn, Blanton also
attempts to redeem the good names of several individuals injured over the years
by inaccurate or insensitive reporting. He warns of the potential legal conse-
quences of such sloppy history, recounting a successful though unrelated libel
suit filed in 1954 by the Reynolds family against an errant author and publisher
to emphasize his point.

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1995

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 July 10, 2014.