The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 102, July 1998 - April, 1999

Book Reviews

descriptions of the work of clubwomen and city planning, along with the effects
of mass-transit and streetcar suburbs. The negative influence of the Ku Klux
Klan in the 192os and the positive results of the 1936 Texas Centennial are both
noted. The development of postwar Dallas as a sunbelt city is covered, along with
the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the rise of political diversity.
This volume does not claim to be a comprehensive history of the city, but it
does offer a well-crafted description and analysis of the factors that shaped
Dallas from a lean-to on the banks of the Trinity River into the eighth-largest city
in the nation by 1990. For those who desire to know more, Hazel has included
numerous footnotes to sources that provide a scholarly discussion of each topic.
Dallas: A History of "Big D" would be a valuable addition to the library of any stu-
dent of Dallas or Texas history.
How Mitchell Energy & Development Corp. Got Its Start and How It Grew: An Oral
History and Narrative Review. By Joseph W. Kutchin. (The Woodlands:
Mitchell Energy & Development Corp., 1998. Pp. vii+339. Illustrations,
foreword. ISBN 0-9662127-0-3. $40.00, paper).
This book is a compilation of taped interviews by Joseph Kutchin, a vice-presi-
dent of Mitchell Energy and Development, with over twenty participants in the
company's history. It is largely the story of how a successful oil and gas compa-
ny-driven by hard-charging George Mitchell-changed direction and created
the innovative Woodlands community north of Houston. The work amounts to a
casual, colorful, eyewitness update of George T. Morgan's and John King's The
Woodlands (Texas A&M University Press, 1987). It is unavoidably more disorga-
nized and less scholarly than the older work, but it nevertheless merits attention.
George Mitchell, the son of a Greek goat herder, was a pioneer driller in the
practice of hydraulic fracturing. Like most American engineers and business-
men, his knowledge of the liberal arts and social sciences was stunted, but he was
exposed to the broader worldview in the Young Presidents Organization in the
1950 and 1960s.
Mitchell became upset with the national trend of ever more urban and subur-
ban traffic, and by white flight from the inner cities and the resulting decay in
the old downtowns. He soon envisioned a planned, forested community, inte-
grated by class and race, with no pollution or congestion. Hundreds of separate
land purchases were arranged through the 1960s. He could have subdivided the
land early on and garnered quicker returns with much less hassle, but he was
spurred by his vision. The federal housing act of 1970 allowed Mitchell to tap
into vital HUD funding, and the Woodlands community opened in 1974.
The project came under severe financial stress and many staffers resigned or
were fired. Many of the problems were beyond corporate control-the plunging
national economy, the stingy Nixon administration, and the foundering HUD.
The Woodlands was the only one of thirteen communities funded by the 1970
law that survived, thanks primarily to Mitchell's perseverance.



Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 102, July 1998 - April, 1999. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed August 31, 2015.