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

Book Reviews

are new and persuasive, including his view of Lee's army. Other aspects of his
discussion seem less fully developed, such as his effort to counter evidence of
increasing Confederate desertions. His greater emphasis on events and attitudes
in the eastern Confederacy also leaves room for further analysis of whether his
views apply as well in the West, including Texas. No one interested in the Civil
War should miss this important volume.
Texas Tech Universzty Alwyn Barr
Black Diamonds! Black Gold! The Saga of Texas Pacgzfc Coal and Oil Company. By Don
Woodard. (Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press, 1998. Pp. xii+322.
Illustrations, preface, epilogue, notes, bibliography, index. ISBN o-89672-
379-8. $29.95, cloth.)
The author is a retired Texas and Pacific landman who was inspired to write
this book after compiling a brief company history for the Fort Worth Petroleum
Club. The first ten chapters are a history of the TP Coal and Oil Company,
188os through 196os, and the remaining three a biography of the company's
last president, H. B. Fuqua.
During the years when coal mining was the company's main business,
1886-1917, the town of Thurber-a multiethnic community of European min-
ers--was the center of operations, but there is nothing new here about the oft-
described community itself.
The author maintains an implacable antilabor bias. One wonders if the author
had been lying on his back, arduously picking at a narrow coal seam and breath-
ing its dust for ten hours a day, six days a week, for a pittance, would he have
thought the improvements brought by the United Mine Workers strike against
TP in 1903 constituted a "Pyrrhic victory" (p. 84). He even blames the union for
reducing the town's population by half in the early 1920s (p. 133), when in fact
the underlying reason was the disappearing market for Texas coal. The author
would have done far better to derive his labor information from Marilyn
Rhlnehart's A Way of Work and a Way of Life (Texas A&M University Press, 1992),
a source that is not consulted.
It was longtime executive W. K. Gordon who insisted on plunging company
money into oil exploration in the area, in defiance of negative geological
reports. The result was the TP tapped into the fabulous Ranger field and
became primarily an oil company. Another veteran executive, John Penn, kept
the company solvent during the Great Depression. Pencils had to be used down
to a stub, then inserted into a three-inch extender and used until nothing was
left. The best parts of the book describe the company from the inside, though
much of it is in the form of vignettes of the oilmen's bonhomie and loyalty to
one another. It could have been a much more professional work had the
author consulted the W. K. Gordon papers at the University of Texas at
Arlington, the files of the first president, Will Johnson, at Texas Tech, as well as
important secondary sources about TP by Richard Francaviglia and Richard
Mason.

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 104, July 2000 - April, 2001. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101221/. Accessed July 23, 2014.