The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 105, July 2001 - April, 2002

Book Reviews

men connected with each other and the robberies in which they participated is
not clearly delineated.
The chronology of the book covers the years 1933 to 1935 and encompasses
some spectacular episodes of bank robbery and prison escape. For the most part
it concentrates upon the Whitey Walker Gang and the gangsters who comprised
the motley crew, with asides about Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker. But the
narrative is incredibly difficult to follow, probably because, as McConal relates,
on occasion there would be a necessity for "rabbit runs." He defines these as
"stories not directly related to the progression of the story, but that add a special
ingredient of atmosphere" (p. 3). The problem is that these asides do not lend
anything significant to the major plot and, in fact, too often muddle the organi-
zation of the book. In brief, Over the Wall has some interesting moments but they
are not consistently sustained. The story is not well told.
Gallaudet Universzty Barry A. Crouch
Amon: The Texan Who Played Cowboy for America. By Jerry Flemmons. (Lubbock:
Texas Tech University Press, 1998. Pp. xxiv+336. Acknowledgments, fore-
word, introduction, prologue, epilogue, index. ISBN 0-89672-406-9.
$31.95, cloth.)
In the course of a career spanning nearly twenty years in the field of state and
local history, I have read many biographies of figures who through initiative,
business savy, tenacity, and luck managed to amass a fortune and leave an indeli-
ble philanthropic imprint on the places in which they lived. I have never been as
moved by one, however, as I was by Jerry Flemmons's masterful portrait of Fort
Worth legend and Star-Telegram publisher Amon G. Carter. Like its subject,
Flemmons's biography has its flaws, of course. Sources are not provided, and the
chapters are devoted to themes that often appear to serve more as pretexts for
organizing anecdotes, or "Amon Carter stories," than as means of leaving read-
ers with a firm chronology. Nevertheless, the stories are irresistible, making the
whole tale far greater than the sum of its parts and revealing an extraordinary
character whose exuberance and spirit have, for better or worse, come to define,
within the state and without, what it means to be a Texan.
Despite its lack of documentation, Flemmons's writing exudes the authority
and confidence that derives from mastery of one's material. A Fort Worth Star-
Telegram reporter for more than thirty years, Flemmons arrived at the paper in
1963, nearly eight years after Carter's death on June 23, 1955, at the age of sev-
enty-five. Flemmons spent his career writing newspaper articles and books with
humor and insight about Texas and Texans. The anecdotes he delivers in Amon
are therefore not merely the result of oral history research but are instead the
product of a generation of working closely with and listening carefully to those
who knew Amon Carter well, including members of the family. Amon began as a
thesis for a master's degree at East Texas State University and was first published
in 1978. This revised and expanded edition includes new information pertain-
ing to Carter's noteworthy exploits at the 1928 Democratic Convention in Hous-
ton from H. L. Mencken's Thzrty-Five Years of Newspaper Work, published in 1994,
and updates on the disposition of Carter's financial empire and the lives and

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 105, July 2001 - April, 2002. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101222/. Accessed September 20, 2014.