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

Book Reviews

served with distinction at a number of military posts in the Southwest, includ-
ing Forts Concho and Davis. Perhaps his most significant contribution came as
a result of the various engineering projects he completed. He designed and
constructed a drainage system at Fort Sill, and also supervised the building of a
highway that led from the fort to Gainesville, Texas. In addition, Flipper par-
ticipated in field operations against the Apaches during the Victorio campaign
of 188o.
The lieutenant's promising military career came to an abrupt end in 1882
when he was dismissed from the service for conduct unbecoming an officer
and gentleman. While serving as the post quartermaster at Fort Davis, Flipper
was accused of embezzling nearly $4,000 in regimental funds. The lieutenant
maintained that, while he was certainly negligent in his duty, he was not a
thief. The young officer was convinced that he was the victim of a conspiracy
by other officers to force him out of the army. Editor Harris, while maintain-
ing a degree of objectivity, makes a convincing case in supporting Flipper's
version of the circumstances involving his discharge from the army.
Following his dismissal from the army, Henry Flipper remained in the
Southwest where racial lines were less distinct and embarked on an adventurous
new career as a mining engineer. This new avocation brought him into close
contact with developer Albert B. Fall, who became Secretary of the Interior dur-
ing Warren G. Harding's administration. Under Fall's patronage, Flipper
became a special assistant to the Secretary.
In all, Theodore Harris has done a remarkable job in rescuing Henry Flipper
from obscurity and placing him within the context of the turbulent frontier
where he lived and worked for forty years.
Slippery Rock Unzversity DAVID DIXON
Attention, Fool! A Crewman of the USS Houston Survives Its Sinking and Japanese Death
Camps in Burma. By WilliamJ. Weissinger Jr. (Austin: Eakin Press, 1998. Pp.
xiv+175. Illustrations, note, acknowledgments, preface, prologue, glossary,
appendices, index. ISBN 1-57168-171-X. $17.95, cloth).
So often had the heavy cruiser been mistakenly reported sunk during the first
months of the Pacific War that crewmen took to calling her the "Galloping
Ghost of the Java Coast." Luck, however, ran out for the men aboard the USS
Houston in Bantam Bay just past midnight on March 1, 1942, during the
Japanese invasion of Java. Struck by intense fire from a numerically superior
force, the ship went down. Well over six hundred American sailors lost their
lives during the naval engagement. Three hundred and sixty, including twenty-
one-year-old native Texan William J. Weissinger Jr., escaped the sinking vessel
and struggled ashore, only to fall quickly into enemy hands.
Attention, Fool! is Weissinger's absorbing but all too brief personal reminis-
cence of the Battle of Java Sea, his capture, and experiences as a prisoner of war
over the next three and a half years. Before liberation in August 1945, he
endured and overcame inadequate and overcrowded facilities, malnutrition,

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 102, July 1998 - April, 1999. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101219/. Accessed September 2, 2014.