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Not Now

The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 104, July 2000 - April, 2001

2 oo1 Book Reviews 615
present, and which ranges from the famous (David Crockett) to the forgotten
(Santos Benavides). Indeed it is a rare volume of Texas history that treats in the
space of a few pages both Quanah Parker, the nineteenth-century Comanche
leader, and Audie Murphy, the most decorated American of the Second World
War. Moreover, Sizer should be commended for her attention to the achieve-
ments of individuals from groups often overlooked by standard historical
works-men such as Milton Holland, a Union soldier who became the first
African-American to win the Congressional Medal of Honor, awarded for his
involvement in the 1864 Civil War battle at New Market Heights, Virginia.
These attributes notwithstanding, Texas Heroes has many problems. For exam-
ple, except for the consistent emphasis on her subjects' bravery and combat
valor, Sizer brings no clear thematic organization to the book; nowhere does she
attempt with any rigor to link the lives of the men through an analysis of their
socio-economic backgrounds, pre-military careers, or political beliefs. Thus, one
is left to ponder what exactly the eighteenth-century trader and diplomat Louis
Jucherau de St. Denis had in common with Admiral Chester Nimitz, save for
their military experience and the fact that at one time both called Texas home.
Furthermore, many of the biographies are limited by Sizer's rather eager accep-
tance of the deeply romanticized elements of her subjects' lives and combat tra-
vails; this is most evident in her chapters on the Alamo defenders and the Texas
Rangers (pp. 63-146). Most significant, however, is Sizer's failure to consider
the undeniably mythical aspect of these stories and their subsequent importance
in shaping the way Texans think about their state, and thus themselves. How can
we explain the hold on our imagination exerted by these men and the tales of
their deeds? What purposes are served through their perpetuation? And what
might the answers to these questions tell us about the state and the interpreta-
tions of its past?
Texas Heroes, then, serves adequately as a popular introduction to some of the
state's most revered military figures, as well as several who have slipped into rela-
tive obscurity. For academic purposes, however, its uses are more limited.
Princeton Unwerszty Andrew Graybill
Frontzer Chzldren. By Linda Peavy and Ursula Smith. (Norman: University of
Oklahoma Press, 1999. Pp. xi+164. Foreword, notes, index. ISBN o-8061-
3161-6. $24.95, cloth.)
Linda Peavy and Ursula Smith note that there is a shortage of histories on
childhood in the trans-Mississippi West. Primary source material is limited
because few letters and journals written by children now exist.
Yet, they note, the sparseness of the written record is supplemented by the
"unexpectedly extensive" photographic record (p. 5). It is a sampling of this
photographic record contained in archives throughout the West, New York, and
Washington, D.C., that the authors offer in Frontier Children.
Following a foreword by Elliott West, author or editor of two books on the his-
tory of children, Peavy and Smith set forth a "verbal and visual montage" (p. 13)

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 104, July 2000 - April, 2001. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed May 4, 2016.

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