The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003

Book Reviews

The collection begins with seven essays from Donald Davidson. While the es-
says cover a variety of topics, several themes remain constant. Davidson defends
the South, arguing for progress by returning to the land. He also defends both
the Fugitive Poets and I'll Take My Stand, while denouncing the leviathan of the
New Deal as well as southern liberals who attempted to emulate Northern indus-
trialists. Davidson's racial views became most apparent in "A Sociologist in
Eden," a response to Arthur Raper's critique of Southern race relations. The
racial issue remains one of the most controversial elements of Agrarianism.
While Davidson's writings comprise the bulk of the collection, the other writ-
ers echo much of Davidson's main themes. Yet, the Agrarians did not agree on
all issues. Herman Clarence Nixon, who played an advisory role in developing
the New Deal's agricultural policy, was more apt to support New Deal reforms
and took a less rigid stance on race than Davidson. John Crowe Ransom's later
writings also defended New Deal policies. Frank Lawrence Owsley proposed a
land reform policy for the South, as well as expanded on the Dunning's school
interpretation of Reconstruction. He called the Scottboro case the "third cru-
sade" of Northern whites against Southern society. Finally, the volume closes
with Allen Tate's "A View of the Whole South," a response to William Terry
Crouch's Culture zn the South (1934).
In all, the editors have compiled twenty valuable and provoking essays from
the six leading Agrarians during the New Deal era. The selections include book
reviews, journal articles, academic presentations, and excerpts from Who Owns
America? (1936), the sequel to I'll Take My Stand. The editors provide a thorough
introduction with a brief historiography, as well as biographical sketches of the
authors and a brief overview of each excerpt. The work is a valuable addition to
the study of Southern history during the New Deal.
Oklahoma State University Stefanie Decker
Great Plains Cattle Empire: Thatcher Brothers and Associates (1875-1945). By Paul E.
Patterson and Joy Poole. (Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press, 2000. Pp.
xv+211. Foreword, preface, acknowledgments, epilogue, notes, bibliography,
index. ISBN 0-89672-397-6. $28.95, cloth.)
In the 186os, when Pennsylvania-born John and Mahlon Thatcher opened
their mercantile in Pueblo, Colorado Territory, they laid the foundation for an
enduring financial empire. Subsequently, they and their associates, particularly
Frank Bloom, Henry Cresswell, and Oliver Baxter, provided the wherewithal for
ranches throughout the West. They were part of the late-nineteenth-century
Beef Bonanza, which ended with the hard winters and prolonged drought in the
mid-18oos and early 1890os. Their diverse investments and sound management
allowed them to emerge chastened but able to continue building. They went on
to finance banks throughout Colorado as well as several large cattle ventures,
such as the Circle Diamond ranches near Roswell, New Mexico Territory, and
Malta, Montana; a grazing operation on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in
South Dakota; the Bar Double O in the Tonto Basin in Arizona Territory; and

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/. Accessed October 22, 2014.