The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 100, July 1996 - April, 1997

Book Reviews

Like Clyde Barrow, Raymond Hamilton grew to maturity among the shacks
and run-down houses in the desperate and deprived neighborhoods of west Dal-
las. By 1932, as a callow youth of nineteen, he had already moved beyond petty
theft and other small crimes to the big-time world of bank robbery and bloody
confrontations with police. Operating predominantly in north central Texas and
the southern Midwest, Hamilton did more than his share to contribute to the
sensational headlines of the time. His most notorious escapade came in i934,
when he masterminded a breakout from the Eastham unit of the Texas prison
system in which a guard was killed. It was this incident that resulted in his execu-
tion in the electric chair in Huntsville on May 10o, 1935, eleven days shy of his
twenty-second birthday.
Relying primarily on oral histories and contemporary newspaper accounts,
supplemented with police and court records, Underwood provides a glimpse in-
to early-twentieth-century Texas society that will be useful to all with an interest
in the history of the state. He describes Hamilton's brief life of crime in consid-
erable detail yet never romanticizes his subject or attempts to portray him as an
object of pity. Rather, the author contends that Hamilton and other notorious
local criminals of the time generally were persons of limited intelligence, pro-
foundly antisocial, whose success came about largely because law enforcement
operated under outdated guidelines and procedures that left them unable to
contend with desperate, well-armed individuals traveling in fast automobiles who
could move quickly from one police jurisdiction to another and stay well ahead
of their pursuers. As laws were changed to facilitate cooperation among law en-
forcement agencies and as police equipment and procedures were revised and
improved, Hamilton, and others like him could no longer move about with im-
punity. The era of the successful and occasionally glamorous local outlaw came
to an end.
Texas Tech University DONALD R. WALKER
The Chief Executives of Texas: From Stephen F. Austin to John B. Connally, Jr. By Ken-
neth B. Hendrickson Jr. Foreword by Michael L. Collins. (College Station:
Texas A&M University Press, 1995. Pp. xvi+246. Foreword, preface, intro-
duction, conclusion, index. ISBN o-89o96-641-9. $24.95, cloth.)
Kenneth Hendrickson Jr. has produced a handbook of Texas governors that
will gladden both history students and ardent political junkies. In his preface he
notes that earlier studies of Texas leaders by James T. DeShields (1940) and
Ross Phares (1976) are hagiographic. Like the youngsters of Lake Wobegon,
they all emerge as "above average." Hendrickson ventures only to "establish a
more balanced view, but [this work] is not intended to be definitive" (p. xiii).
Indeed, it is not. It relies on secondary works, including both DeShields and
Phares. Each of the twelve chapters opens with an extended headnote that pro-
vides generalized context and concludes with the sparest of footnotes and a
helpful reading list. In his introduction Hendrickson identifies only five Texas
governors as "truly outstanding leaders" (p. xvi): Sam Houston, Elisha M. Pease,

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 100, July 1996 - April, 1997. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101218/. Accessed April 17, 2014.