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

Book Reviews

interviews provide the primary interest for readers attracted to the more gen-
eral aspects of Texas history. The numerous tales involving publisher and
broadcasting legend Amon G. Carter Sr. are worth the price of admission, but
the plethora of other anecdotes dealing with the great, near-great, and not-so-
great of Texas broadcasting are equally valuable. In addition to stories by and
about the likes of Dizzy Dean, Cactus Pryor, Harold Hough, Gordon
McLendon, Bob Wills, and Wolfman Jack, the reader learns about border
radio celebrities and charlatans who transmitted from powerful stations across
the Rio Grande in the 1930s in order to evade Federal Radio Commission reg-
ulations. The most extraordinary of these was perhaps Dr. Richard Brinkley,
who earned his medical degree in less than a month from Eclectic Medical
University in Kansas City and developed a procedure for transplanting goat
glands into humans as a remedy for impotence. This procedure he sold by way
of station XER, across the border from Del Rio, which he financed in 1931
after the FRC shut him down in Kansas and which broadcast at a wattage ten
times greater than was possible in the United States. He provides one of
numerous examples of the extremes and eccentricities of border radio.
Interspersed among the entertaining stories is the thoroughly documented
history of the development of radio and television, the challenges and misper-
ceptions involved, and the means by which the challenges were faced and the
misperceptions overcome. Texans are not historically known for being especial-
ly put off by either misperceptions or challenges, and readers will not be sur-
prised to learn that from the inception of radio to the establishment of com-
mercial television networks, they have been in the forefront of the development
of broadcast media. Detailing the ups and downs of this development and
always pointing to the role of Texans therein, Schroeder's book not only pro-
vides a historical context by which to measure Texans' accomplishments, but it
also offers valid comparisons for the technological changes currently faced by
media innovators and entrepreneurs. Schroeder reports that Amon Carter told
Harold Hough in 1921: "If this radio thing is going to be a menace to newspa-
pers, then maybe we had better own the 'menace.' . . . We'll put $300 in this
radio thing, and when that's gone, we're out of the radio business" (p. 32).
Carter remained in the radio and, later, the television business for the rest of
his life, and his newspaper, the Fort Worth Star Telegram, survived as well. It's a
good story, and only one of the many that can be found in Texas Signs On.
Fort Worth J. KENT CALDER
Up the Hill, Down the Years: Southwest Texas State Unzversity, i899-.999. Ronald C.
Brown with David C. Nelson. (Virginia Beach, Va.: The Donning Co., 1999.
Pp. 176. Preface, foreword, index, about the authors. ISBN 1-57864-065-2.)
In 1999, Southwest Texas State University celebrated the centennial of its
legal creation as a normal school by the Texas Legislature. With classes begin-
ning in i903, the school has grown over the decades into a university offering
several doctoral programs and with an expanding national reputation. Alumni
include Olympic athletes, Air Force generals, acclaimed actors, popular musi-
cians, countless teachers, and accomplished leaders from almost all walks of life

2000

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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 August 20, 2014.