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

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

He indicates, too, that money from the federal government in the form of grants
and appropriations for national parks and monuments has helped create a mod-
ern tourist industry in the Four Corners-an industry that has helped to foster
economic development in the area.
The books are timely and instructive. With passion and insight, they cover
such modern themes as subregional differentiation and natural resource man-
agement. They are packed with lessons for western policy makers.
Texas Tech University PAUL H. CARLSON
My Kind of Heroes: Selected Speeches. By Elmer Kelton. (Austin: State House Press,
1995. Pp. 93. ISBN 0-88051-027-8. $19.95.)
Elmer Kelton has an international reputation as a Western novelist, but he
also speaks. Four speeches along with illustrations by the author and family pho-
tos are gathered together in a handsomely bound volume.
"My Kind of Heroes," the last speech in the book, has something to do with
the other three. Kelton's heroes are not the brave, dangerous, six-foot-plus
heroes of popular Western literature or film. He says that his heroes are closer
to five feet eight and nervous. They are ordinary people of the range, possessed
of the kind of character it takes to live there, honest and stubborn to a fault, and
suspicious of government and any other meddlers.
In "Politically Correct or Historically Correct," Kelton takes on the revisionist
historians who blame his kind of hero for grievous errors in making the land
useful. Kelton agrees that women and minorities have not received the attention
they deserve, but he is agitated over the belief that "white male ancestors of
European origin or ancestry" are responsible for any and all harm done in and
to the West. The second speech, given before the German Association for the
Study of the Western, seems an extension of ideas suggested in the first. Kelton
speaks about "Racial Relations in the Western," showing that prejudice, especial-
ly in early Westerns, was sometimes but not always present. "Myth vs. Reality" also
flows from the first address, as Kelton treats the idea that there are often no
sharp distinctions between myth, image, tall tale, legend, and folklore, yet each
is true in its own way, and has something to do with history.
Kelton's voice in these speeches is the same one a reader notices in his novels.
He explains characters, events, and situations and offers opinions, praise, blame,
explanation, and humor, just as in his novels. The speeches, like the novels,
evince Kelton's personal sense of time and place. After all, West Texas is his
inheritance, warts and all. Kelton speaks the whole truth about the place and its
inhabitants. We can ask no more of any historian.
Age of the Gunfighter. By Joseph G. Rosa. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press,
1995. Pp. 192. Introduction, bibliography, index, picture credits. ISBN o-
8061-2761-9. $19.95, paper.)



Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 99, July 1995 - April, 1996. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed May 28, 2016.

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