Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Simmons's Assignment Huntsville: Memoirs of a Texas Prison Official (University of
Texas Press, 1957) under the category "Inmate Narratives."
For historians this is a wonderful resource for the human side of Texas prisons
during this fifty-year period. For those on both sides of the criminal justice commu-
nity it can be instructive as it explains the origins of some of today's jargons and
customs. Nevertheless, the best institutional history is still Walker's Penology for Profit.
Hams County Records Center PAUL R. SCOTT
Texas Giant: The Lfe of Price Daniel. By Dan Murph. (Austin: Eakin Press, 2002.
Pp. ix+291. Foreword, introduction, acknowledgments, sources and notes,
index. ISBN 1-57768-571-5. $26.95, paper.)
Once Upon a Time zn Texas: A Liberal zn the Lone Star State. By David Richards.
(Austin: University of Texas Press, 2002. Pp. 275. Acknowledgments, index.
ISBN 0-292-77118-5. $39.95, cloth.)
The recent proliferation of Texas political biographies reinforces a core belief
of many Texans: Our politicians, as a rule, loom larger than their counterparts
elsewhere. This holds true for our giants, such as LBJ and Sam Rayburn, and for
the lesser mortals who shaped our political landscape.
Texas Grant is an affectionate, comprehensive biography of Price Daniel,
whose Texas political career encompassed terms as Speaker of the House, attor-
ney general, United States senator, governor, and Supreme Court Justice. Be-
tween election to the Texas House in 1938 and resignation from the court forty
years later, Daniel's only losing race was a 1962 bid for a fourth term as gover-
nor. Daniel also served in the army in World War II and held appointive posi-
tions in the Johnson administration.
The author, Daniel's grandson, admires his subject, whom he portrays as an
exemplary family man, unabashed Texas patriot, able lawyer, and dedicated
public servant. Murph focuses on Daniel's leading role in several monumental
legal fights, including the tidelands controversy of the 1940s and 1950s, and
credits Daniel for Texas retaining the vast oil and gas reserves within three ma-
rine leagues of the coast (most states retained only one league). Daniel also par-
ticipated as attorney general and governor in landmark battles of the civil rights
era, unsuccessfully defending a segregated University of Texas Law School in
Sweatt v. Painter, and charting a course as governor (1957-1963) that avoided
many official abuses that plagued Deep South states. As evidence of his legal col-
leagues' respect, today's Texas Supreme Court building bears Daniel's name.
Texas Giant is a readable and well documented study of a leader who served
Texas at the highest level of all three branches of government. Its weakness,
which is also part of its appeal, is that the author's fondness for his grandfa-
ther-who died in 1988-limits critical analysis of Daniel's role in a turbulent
If Price Daniel represented the mid-century Texas political establishment,
civil rights attorney and memoirist David Richards stands out as a representative
political outsider in the decades that followed. Richards, ex-husband of former
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 May 30, 2015.