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

Book Reviews

became involved in the maze of state politics, eventually being elected to the
U.S. House of Representatives and later to the Senate. His sponsorship of the
1902 Reclamation Act firmly established Newlands as a national leader in irriga-
tion and water development.
Reclamation, despite the title of the book, comprises but a small portion of
this biography. Rowley concentrates on the complexities of turn-of-the-century
politics, both in Nevada and nationally, as well as the conflict between New-
lands's adopted life of wealth in California and the pragmatic realities of main-
taining political influence in Nevada. Newlands was nothing if not a pragmatist,
and he approached reclamation in the same spirit as he did most other issues.
He moved to Nevada because the political situation was favorable; he supported
free silver because Nevadans required this of its politicians; and he promoted
reclamation because it represented a potential power base, a means of distanc-
ing himself from the state's railroad interests. Any hint of passion, any deeply
held personal commitment to irrigation development beyond the politically ex-
pedient, is absent from Rowley's portrait. The only noticeable weakness of the
work is its brevity, likely due to editorial constraints. Within his detailed recon-
struction of western political infighting, Rowley portrays Newlands as an individ-
ual both fascinating and influential, worthy of remembrance for more than a
single piece of legislation.
Texas Christian University MARK BARRINGER
John Wesley Hardin: Dark Angel of Texas. By Leon Metz. (El Paso: Mangan Books,
1996. Pp. xiv+337. Foreword, prologue, illustrations, afterword, acknowl-
edgments, appendices A-E, notes, bibliography, index. ISBN 0-930208-38-
8. $39.95, cloth.)
August 19, 1995, marked the one-hundredth anniversary of John Wesley
Hardin's death in an El Paso saloon. As Hardin was rolling dice at the bar, Con-
stable John Selman, convinced that Hardin intended to kill him (so it was
claimed), crept up hehind the notorious gunman and sent him to his grave. By
accident or by design, the 199os have seen a rash of books on Hardin, and it
seems that public interest in this legendary Texas killer is thriving as much in
the computer era as it did when the 'West was wild.
The best of these recent books is by Leon Metz, a well-known and widely rec-
ognized authority on gunfighters and lawmen in the Old West. Metz, based in El
Paso, has produced a well-written and carefully researched account of Hardin's
many exploits. It, along with Richard C. Marohn's The Last Gunfighter (1995),
should satisfy Hardin buffs for a while-even if several recent fictional treat-
ments by other writers leave much to be desired.
Metz, like most serious historians and zealous amatuers as well, relies heavily
on Hardin's autobiography, which was published in Seguin the year after his
death. Not many other famous gunslingers left an account of their life, and it is
an essential document for understanding Hardin's motives and what caused him
to become an outlaw in the Reconstruction period of Texas history. Metz wisely

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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 19, 2014.