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

Book Reviews

Goodwyn is best known for his first book, Democractic Promise: The Populist Mo-
ment in America (1976). Although Texas Oil, American Dreams contains themes
that grounded his important history of populism-for example, the problem of
sustaining democratic institutions in an ever-centralizing political economy and
the influence of Texas on national politics-it is based on many fewer archival
sources. In addition to a short list of secondary sources, Goodwyn relies mainly
on TIPRO's various publication and oral histories of its members, all of which,
along with internal files that are not footnoted, are housed at the Center for
American History in Austin.
The first two chapters of the book analyze the political economy of oil in
Texas from Spindletop (not Corsicana) to East Texas through World War II.
Goodwyn develops the familiar line that the major oil companies controlled the
political economy of oil, and thus threatened the existence of the independents.
The next four chapters chronicle the fifty-year evolution of TIPRO as its leaders
struggled to take a diverse membership in concerted directions on the issues of
imports, depletion allowances, and taxes. The leaders first had to learn how the
political cities of Washington and Austin really operated, and that took some
time. According to Goodwyn, they eventually learned the political ropes, and
even expanded their influence to independents in other states. The final chap-
ter, "A Way of Life," offers glimpses into some of the men who captained
TIPRO; the appendix contains drawings of each of the white males who served
as president and executive vice-president of the association.
Members of TIPRO often disagreed on strategies, particularly on whether or
not to support field unitization schemes (which made much economic and envi-
ronmental sense, but raised the spectre of control by the majors). Goodwyn sug-
gests that the cultural trait that tied all of the diverse independents together was
their common knowledge of how to put together a drilling deal. There was more
to the leaders' success than this common experience, of course, and Goodwyn
highlights some of the personalities' abilities. But he could have improved his
analysis by relating the leaders' actions to the notions of "political entrepreneur-
ship" that James W. Doig and Erwin C. Hargrove have studied.
This is not the definitive history of TIPRO. Goodwyn tells a compelling story
well, and his assertions about the political economy of oil and the independents'
relationship to that arena are probably mostly on the mark. But other historians
will have to employ sources from the presidential libraries, the National
Archives, and other private and public collections before we can definitively
agree with those assertions.
Ohio State Universzty WILLIAM R. CHILDS
Dallas: The Makzng of a Modern City. By Patricia Evridge Hill. (Austin: University
of Texas Press, 1996. Pp. xxxii+240. Acknowledgments, introduction, illus-
trations, epilogue, notes, selected bibliography, index. ISBN o-292-73104-3.
$14.95, paper.)



Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 100, July 1996 - April, 1997. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed November 29, 2014.