2000), the public image of "Big Oil" has suffered mightily. And public percep-
tion influences local, state, and federal legislative strategies, particularly those
having to do with regulation of industry practice with regard to environmental
results on industry procedures.
Pratt, Becker, and McClenahan traverse a laser-thin tightrope in illuminating
the purpose, structure, and methodology of the NPC; yet they succeed in pre-
senting a balanced perspective of the organization and its product. And what
could have been an accurate yet pedantic traipse through minutiae instead
proved good reading. For example, the NPC's studies and reports on the
Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the alterations in regulatory landscape regarding
the environment, and the post-deregulation of natural gas and its emergence as
a major energy sector factor provided insight as to the weight given these crucial
topics by the federal government. The section dealing with the natural gas
industry should be of acute interest to Texans. Currently the largest domestic
producer of natural gas, the state's proved reserves make it one of the major
producers of natural gas in the world.
The book may have benefited from a discussion of the NPC's role in the
post-September 11, 2001, environment. Several of the topics that arose from
the terrorist attacks were the subject of earlier NPC reports; therefore a hasty
addition to a book copyrighted 2oo2 may have proved unnecessary and, ulti-
In the final analysis, the authors understandably favor the marketplace infor-
mation as a major factor of government oversight over what they described as
"command and control regulation" (pp. 119, 133, 192-193, 194). In terms of
the achievement of mutual situational enlightenment, undergirded by speedy
mobilization and thorough research, the authors argue that the NPC is the para-
digm of industry/government cooperation for the national good; they've made
a rather convincing case.
Austin PAGE S. FOSHEE
A Breed So Rare: The Life of J. R. Parten, Liberal Texas Ozl Man, x896-1992. By Don
E. Carleton. (Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1998. Pp. vi+668.
Introduction, illustrations, conclusion, author's note, selected bibliography,
notes, index. ISBN o-87611-166-5. $39.95, cloth.)
Confronted with six hundred pages about an independent oilman born in
1896, contemporary readers may wonder what the subject did to merit that
much scrutiny. In the case ofJubal R. Parten, whose life and career are detailed
in this biography by historian Don Carleton, the subject did a lot.
As the title indicates, J. R. Parten is remembered today primarily as an
anomaly--a "liberal" Texas oilman who financed progressive candidates and
causes. While oilmen are often stereotyped as free market conservatives and
political reactionaries, historically there has been a symbiotic relationship
between the industry and the government. Parten's baptism in Texas politics
came in the 1930s, when he initially championed unrestricted production
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101224/. Accessed September 23, 2014.