lyrics from some of his better-known songs, Christensen also allows young read-
ers to experience Guthrie's poetry directly.
Although Christensen focuses mainly on the more positive aspects of
Guthrie's life and musical career, she also touches on the many hardships the
singer, and the nation itself, faced as they struggled through the Great Depres-
sion and World War II. Christensen does a good job of explaining larger, more
complex issues, such as the disastrous economic downturn of the 1930s, the
mass displacement of farm families during the Dust Bowl years, and issues of la-
bor unionism, in a way that children will easily understand and be encouraged
to discuss further with a parent or teacher.
Christensen avoids the more controversial aspects of Guthrie's political ac-
tivism, but she provides a succinct and fairly objective discussion of the types of
problems working-class Americans faced, as well as why Guthrie felt compelled
to devote so much of his time and talents to addressing these issues. This is a
very attractive and readable book that will help teach young Americans not only
about the life and times of this remarkable folk poet, but also about a very im-
portant, and not so distant, part of our nation's past.
Southwest Texas State University Gary Hartman
Travels wzth Joe: The Life Story of a Historian from Texas, 1917-1993. By David G.
McComb. (Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 2oo001. Pp. 158. Selected
readings, lists, notes, index. ISBN 0-87611-181-9. $24.95, cloth.)
I was pleased when asked to review this book. The pleasure was personal, and
this will be a personal review. I knew and liked Joe Frantz, and I know and like
David McComb. From the beginning it was my opinion that no one could do a bet-
terjob describingJoe and his life. My instincts are rewarded by this slim volume.
It has been almost nine years now since Joe died. His stamp is still on the
Texas State Historical Association although the dramatis personae have changed.
This very journal that you, the reader, have in your hand is evidence. One need
examine only the cover and the format of the Southwestern Historical Quarterly. Ev-
ery issue could carry the words, "Sired by Joe B. Frantz." I first met Joe in 1959
when, as an older student, I enrolled in graduate school after three and a half
years in the Marines followed by a few more in corporate life in Dallas. My asso-
ciation with him was as accidental as my association with the University of Texas.
I had been accepted for doctoral work at Berkeley, but after not much more
than a week in the Bay Area realized that California's high cost of living cut dras-
tically into my means. I'll always appreciate Texas's broad interpretation of ad-
As it turned out, Dr. Frantz (I didn't call him Joe then) needed a grader, and I
was selected. Grading for Joe was an adventure. He treated his charges the way a
friendly scoutmaster would his troop. He took me and others to the very first
Houston Colt .45 (later Astro) game and again to the Bluebonnet Bowl com-
plete with dinner at Sonny Look's. Incidentally, he paid for everything. My last
formal association with him was when he sat as a reader at the defense of my dis-
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 July 29, 2014.