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

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

Editors Kenneth Hendrickson Jr. and Michael L. Collins argue convincingly
that beginning in the early years of this century Texans have held a dispropor-
tional amount of power in the national government. What is surprising is that
until the publication of this book very few of these politically powerful Texans
have attracted the serious attention of political historians-at least to the degree
that attention is measured by the production of major scholarly biographies.
Hendrickson and Collins address this shortcoming by assembling a series of
brief political biographies that examine the careers and achievements of thir-
teen of the most significant Texans who exercised power at the national level.
While not pretending that they have covered every Texan of national promi-
nence, the editors have nevertheless done a good job selecting the subjects for
this book. Those included range from figures like Edward House and Jesse
Jones, who never held elected office, to the group (beginning with John Nance
Garner and continuing to Jim Wright) who controlled the reigns of power in
Congress for much of this century, and finally to the Lone Star State's two presi-
dents, Lyndon BainesJohnson and George Bush.
As in all essay collections of this type individual pieces vary in quality. Never-
theless, the editors have done an admirable job of maintaining a high level
throughout this volume. There are, of course, strengths and weaknesses. Robert
Hildebrand's essay on the enigmatic Edward M. House reveals clearly the com-
plexity of this unusual man, while Lionel V. Patenaude's piece on John Nance
Garner and Janet Schmelzer's piece on Tom Connolly effectively define the
shifting but crucial role that these two played in the administration of Franklin
Roosevelt. Yet several essays exhibit too clearly the political convictions of their
authors-John Tower and Jim Wright need a more balanced assessment. The
level of research in these essays is also impressive. Most are based on the careful
analysis of the personal papers and relevant manuscript collections. Here, too,
there is occasional unevenness. The essay on Sam Rayburn, for example, relies
too much on a handful of published sources, while the essay on Barbara Jordan
could have been strengthened by a visit to the Barbara Jordan Papers at Texas
Southern University.
These criticisms, however, do not detract from the real value of this book.
Hendrickson and Collins have compiled an impressive introduction to the Tex-
ans who have provided national leadership in this century. They will have
achieved real success if their book can stimulate the series of scholarly biogra-
phies that these figures rightly deserve.
Texas Southern University CARY D. WINTZ
The Fall of the Duke of Duval. By John E. Clark. (Austin: Eakin Press, 1995. Pp.
xii+351. Foreword by William S. Sessions, preface, acknowledgments, illus-
trations, epilogue, appendix, index. ISBN 1-57168-049-7. $24.95, cloth.)
Having completed a ten-month sentence for failure to pay taxes on a $25,000
kickback, George Parr vowed never to return to a jail cell. He did not, however,
abandon the predatory financial manipulation of local government that had



Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 100, July 1996 - April, 1997. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed October 9, 2015.