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

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

Patricia Hill effectively lays to rest two myths about the origins of Dallas. The
first is that Dallas is an accidental city, with no geographical reason for being.
This myth she traces to a 1949 Fortune magazine article. As any serious student of
Dallas history knows, John Neely Bryan selected his site for several sound rea-
sons, and the city's location played a major role in attracting the railroads and,
later, the airports that made it a transportation center.
The second myth is that Dallas always has been governed by a small, homoge-
neous group of business leaders. This was true from the mid-1930os until fairly re-
cent times, but Hill reminds us that before this period public life in Dallas was
characterized by both competition and cooperation, with business leaders fre-
quently disagreeing. Their lack of unity allowed other groups, especially women,
populists, socialists, and labor, to exert an influence and to win compromises
and concessions on many issues.
Hill's research, as displayed in the endnotes, is extensive. Particularly valuable
are her accounts of Dallas's infant labor unions of the late nineteenth century
(whose strikes to uphold contracts were met with a surprising amount of public
support) and the populists and socialists of the same era. These are groups
whose existence and impact have been frequently overlooked in local histories.
Likewise, her final chapter on the violence with which unionizing efforts were
met in the 1930s recounts a sorry episode that most Dallas histories skim.
This book is based on Hill's dissertation, which was completed seven or eight
years ago. Thus it fails to acknowledge some significant research that has taken
place recently, especially the work of Elizabeth Enstam and Jackie McElhaney on
women in Dallas, William H. Wilson on minority housing, and Robert B. Fair-
banks on public housing. Also, because the book is organized topically, a reader
without a good background in Dallas history could easily become confused.
But her thesis is a stimulating one with some valuable lessons for Dallas's cur-
rent civic leaders as the city pursues a more inclusive governmental path.
Southern Methodist University MICHAEL V. HAZEL
Collective Heart: Texans in World War II. Edited by Joyce Gibson Roach. (Austin:
Eakin Press, 1996. Pp. x+222. Introduction, illustrations, biographies. ISBN
1-57168-023-3. $15.95, paper.)
War, like every other major event, is a many-sided prism. Joyce Gibson Roach
has edited a book that gives a view of the Texas home front, a book inspired by
her viewpoint as a child who remembered the World War II years as some of the
happiest in her life.
The unique volume includes both nonfiction and fiction about the period by
Texas writers Jane Pattie, Jim W. Corder, Fran Vick, Joe Pat Brannen, Margaret
Rambie, Elmer Kelton, Francis Edward Abernethy, Hazel Shelton Abernethy,
Constance Henry Locke, James Ward Lee, Jim Harris, Judy Alter, James Thomas
Jackson, Robert Flynn, and David Westheimer, as well as Joyce Roach herself.
The writers reflect experiences of Texans in a wartime, pre-detergent era
when Texas Power and Light Co. filled its windows with photographs of local

526

April

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 July 23, 2014.