Southwestern Historical Quarterly
only one in three families had purchased a farm and the government loss per
farm under the program was $5,048 higher than the national average.
Believing that the resettlement program and the relocatees' experience in it
was significant, Brian Q. Cannon examines several factors central to the reloca-
tion process: migration, agricultural and environmental adaptation, community
formation, and agricultural commercialization. As for migration and land utiliza-
tion, Cannon recognizes Irving Bernstein's thesis that New Deal "elitist" adminis-
trators rarely sought the advice of poor farmers. Yet Cannon understands that
planners were not elitist concerning the welfare of poor people. For the poor,
migration meant dreams of a better life, a belief in the promoter's claims, and
optimism. Their experiences confirmed Walter Prescott Webb's assertion that
adaptation to the challenges of the West could produce "new" people. This did
in fact occur as some farmers turned to commercial agriculture.
Some scholars have asked whether resettlement projects were poorly integrat-
ed communities. Cannon convincingly argues that these scholars have misinter-
preted outmigration as a source of social disorder and overemphasized personal
factionalism. He concludes that the relocatees acted in their own best economic
interest. But did they not do so when they entered the resettlement program?
The author successfully explains the practical reasons why the Mountain West
followed the national trend of having only a small percentage of residents partic-
ipate in community activities. Although Cannon identifies positive community
actions, he nonetheless shows that a lack of community spirit existed.
Life in rural resettlement projects also involved disputes between relocatees
and New Deal administrators. These complaints usually concerned financial in-
dependence, economic stability, and relations with government employees. Al-
though the government received some complaints regarding things beyond its
control, most residents acted reasonably and responsibly.
Having successfully challenged some interpretations of rural resettlement with
sound research and good judgment, Cannon has made a valuable contribution
to southwestern agricultural and administrative history during the New Deal.
Blinn College IRVIN M. MAY JR.
Texas Oil, American Dreams: A Study of the Texas Independent Producers and Royalty
Owners Association. By Lawrence Goodwyn. Foreword by Don E. Carleton.
(Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1996. Pp. xiii+274. Foreword,
acknowledgments, introduction, epilogue, appendix, notes, bibliography,
index. ISBN o-87611-158-4. $29.95, cloth.)
This is a well-written, celebratory history of TIPRO, the association of Texas in-
dependent oil producers and royalty owners founded in 1946. Unlike authors of
most institutional histories, Lawrence Goodwyn makes a concerted effort to
place TIPRO within the social, economic, and cultural contexts from which it
materialized. He attempts this, however, without consulting a wide range of
sources or referencing political, social, or cultural theories.
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 August 1, 2014.