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

Book Reviews

gressive hatched from a nobler bygone age in the West, and academic historian
Frederick Turner's immortal paper on the end of the frontier all come together
to create the "myth moment." That moment, a nostalgic look backward through
rose-colored glasses at a West that might have been-or perhaps never was-cre-
ated the myth of the west at that specific time by easterners to guide the Ameri-
can people through a decade of crisis.
Then skipping lightly over the movies and American music "goin' to Califor-
nia with a banjo on my knee," not to mention Edward Curtis's soft-focus nostal-
gic photographs of Indians (The Vanishing American), the author devotes a
whole chapter to twentieth-century politicians who he says played cowboy--that
186o-188o phenomenon. There was T. R., a real cowboy for a time; Eisenhow-
er, who seems to have won World War II while reading pulp westerns; Nixon,
who admired the now-hated John Wayne; and Death Valley Days "Dutch" Rea-
gan, an ersatz cowboy with a ranch in California. Kennedy the "cowboy" vision-
ary who saw space and Vietnam as the New Frontiers and LBJ a true westerner
who "nailed coonskins to the wall" are also enthralled by the western "myth plot"
as they gazed covetously and imperialistically at the paradise of Vietnam. The
bias of the book stands revealed in the theorem: a) an eastern immigrant, Dr.
Strangelove invents the lethal bomb, b) only a stupid reckless western cowboy
volunteers to ride it to its earthbound destination (cowboying thus becomes a
late-twentieth-century verb), and c) the U.S. east and the U.S. west have thus
blown up the globe. Murdoch's book provides plenty of material for class discus-
sion.
Universzty of Texas at Austin William H. Goetzmann
Lone Star Heroes Series, Book One: Comanche Peace Pipe. By Patrick Dearen. (Plano:
Republic of Texas Press, 2001. Pp. 97. ISBN 1-55622-831-7. $8.95, paper.)
Lone Star Heroes Series, Book Two: On the Pecos Trail. By Patrick Dearen. (Plano: Re-
public of Texas Press, 2ool. Pp. 102. Glossary. ISBN 1-55622-830-9. $8.95, pa-
per.)
Lone Star Heroes Series, Book Three: The Hzdden Treasure of the Chisos. By Patrick
Dearen. (Plano: Republic of Texas Press, 2001. Pp. 117. Glossary. ISBN 1-
55622-829-5. $8.95, paper.)
Dearen's three books follow three years in Fish Rawlings's life. Book One in-
troduces readers to eleven-year-old Fish as he travels with his family on a Texas
wagon train in 1867. Fish meets and saves a young Comanche's life, which chal-
lenges the Indian-hating lessons his father taught him. Book Two finds Fish
learning how to drive cattle as an inexperienced cowhand. With his father now
deceased, Fish must turn to the men he travels with, and his Uncle Guy, for
lessons on growing up. The final book traces Fish searching for lost Spanish gold
that an old, dying Apache points out to him. Two of the books include a glos-
sary-Book Two contains terms that cowboys might use, and Book Three ex-
plains Apache words, among others-and all contain a brief history that
informed the storylines.

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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 September 16, 2014.