The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 103, July 1999 - April, 2000

Book Reviews

time, places the blame [for the riot] on 'the lack of law enforcement"' (p. 200oo).
Even the FBI's and ATF's flaming lack of law enforcement toward the Branch
Davidians in Texas cannot hold a candle to law enforcement's betrayal of blacks
in 1921 Tulsa (see Waco: The Rules of Engagement, a documentary by Michael
McNulty). Nevertheless, the parallels are disturbing and make this book a must-
read on that account alone.
It is difficult, almost revolting, to criticize the teller of such a staggering tale as
Johnson has told on literary points. Nevertheless, for the sake of the record, his
alliterations, while clever and always enjoyable, sometimes sacrifice sense for asso-
nance, especially in his table of contents, where he might have had a chapter cap-
tioned, "The Reality," sandwiched between "The Roots" and "The Riot" (p. iii).
His appendices could have been more organized so that the reader would not
have to contextualize these sizzling documents ex nihzlo. Sometimes his transitions
are not altogether lucid. He may have had more Baptist history than business his-
tory in his contents, and that might disturb someone other than this reviewer.
And Johnson occasionally is repetitious. But his tale is well worth repeating, read-
ing, and recommending. The latter I have done many times already. So have
Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating and former Oklahoma Sen. David L. Boren on the
colorful dust jacket-in spite of the fact that Johnson's book calls for reparations
of some kind from the government to the black community. It is obvious that
Oklahoma has made a major paradigm shift. Shift happens.
Guilford Technzcal Community College, Jamestown, N.C. JAMES LUTZWEILER
Border Boss: Manuel B. Bravo and Zapata County. ByJ. Gilberto Quezada. (College
Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1999. Pp. xviii+291. Illustrations,
tables, preface, acknowledgments, introduction, notes, bibliography, index.
ISBN 0-89096-865-9. $29.95, cloth.)
Relying on an impressive range of primary and secondary sources, J. Gilberto
Quezada has written a solid account of the political career of the South Texas
boss Manuel Bravo, but the author's effort to characterize his study as an exer-
cise in revisionist history is less successful. The son of an Anglo mother and a
Tejano father, Bravo mastered both Spanish and English, understood the needs
of his Mexican American constituents, and excelled at political negotiation and
the formation of alliances-both within the Hispanic community and across eth-
nic lines. After an apprenticeship in the political machine of A. Y. Baker of
Hidalgo County, Bravo moved in 1933 to the isolated county of Zapata, where
the small population was overwhelmingly Hispanic. The leading Mexican
American families had dominated local politics since the death of the Anglo
boss Angus Spohn in 1921. Although the families had divided and formed two
competing parties, the Democratic Partido Viejo (Old Party) prevailed by engag-
ing in the practices of boss rule that Spohn had introduced to the county. Bravo
became active in Democratic politics and accepted the invitation of the power-
brokers of the Partido Viejo to run for county judge in 1936. Holding that office
for the next twenty years, he emerged as the boss of Zapata County.
The author admires Bravo, and many of Bravo's actions justify this admira-
tion. Judge Bravo opposed discrimination against Mexican Americans,

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 103, July 1999 - April, 2000. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101220/. Accessed July 25, 2014.