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

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

least seemed aware of a world outside baseball, but Hornsby was largely uninter-
ested in anything else. One former teammate claimed damningly that "Hornsby
cared for nothing but his batting average" (pp. 145-146).
Hornsby himself would doubtless have disputed this assessment; proud as he
was of his statistical records, he was equally proud of his reputation for honesty
and plain speaking. Yet while Hornsby thought of himself as a man of principle,
readers of Alexander's biography will probably see him as, at best, an emotional
cripple whose inflexibility did him incalculable harm, or, at worst, as a mean-
spirited misanthrope who cared nothing for the feelings of others. Most of his
contemporaries apparently inclined toward the latter view: said one, "He doesn't
have a friend in the world and he doesn't deserve one" (p. 260).
Moreover, for all his protestations of integrity, Hornsby had some remarkable
moral and ethical blind spots. His first marriage fell apart because of his affair
with a married woman, which he attempted clumsily to deny. When a bookmak-
er sued him for $92,000 in unpaid gambling debts, Hornsby successfully argued
that, since gambling was illegal in the state of Missouri, of which he was a citizen,
he should not be held liable for his debts. After separating from his second wife,
Hornsby began a relationship with a divorcee whom he repeatedly tried to pass
off as either his wife or his housekeeper. (She later committed suicide by hurling
herself out of a Chicago hotel window.)
Given Hornsby's personality, Alexander must struggle mightily to make his
subject a sympathetic character, and the strain shows in his writing. If at times he
tries a bit too hard to find the good in a man who was almost universally dis-
liked, well, we should all be so fortunate in our biographers. Ultimately, howev-
er, Alexander fails to convince us that we should care about Hornsby, and this
book is much less compelling than his earlier books on Cobb and McGraw.
Austin MARTIN DONELL KOHOUT
The Texas Rangers: Notes from an Architectural Underground. By Alexander
Caragonne. Foreword by Charles W. Moore. (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press,
1995. Pp. xx+442. Illustrations, foreword, preface, prologue, afterword,
appendixes, bibliography, index. ISBN 00-262-o3218-X. $50.00.)
The story Alexander Caragonne tells in this book is seemingly a familiar one.
A small group of young reformers, most of them from far-off places, comes to
Texas bringing new ideas. But the young Turks find themselves opposed by an
entrenched older generation of conservatives, and after a brave struggle they are
eventually vanquished and banished.
The somewhat unlikely setting for this little drama is the School of
Architecture at the University of Texas in Austin, and the time period is roughly
from 1951 to 1957. The dramatis personae include a number of now well-
known architects, architectural historians, and theorists, ranging from Harwell
Hamilton Harris (the noted Californian modernist and leader of reformers) and
his wife Jean Murray Bangs Harris (the power behind the throne whose off-scene
machinations lend heightened power to the plot) to the brilliant young English

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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 July 11, 2014.