The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

but his account of his exhaustive search for the answer in British and American
libraries, archives, and used bookstores, is a delight to read. There is, he con-
cludes, no evidence of a Captain Flack having served in the Texas Rangers. He
also rejects the case made by some bibliographers that Flack was the English
writer Percy B. St. John. Most important of all, he properly points out that even
if we cannot know with certainty if Flack visited Texas, his works are still of great
value as "an example of the kind of writing that influenced British perceptions
of Texas and the frontier West" in the mid-nineteenth century.
This publication includes three of the original 34 chapters of the Texan Rifle
Hunter, published in London in 1866. Flack's writing has the tenor of an educat-
ed traveler. He was a bit of a rogue, and had a keen eye for the people and
places he encountered. He touches upon a wide range of topics including the
flora, fauna, people, social customs, and history of Texas in the mid-nineteenth
century. Two of the chapters include considerable material on hunting-Flack
claims to have worked for some time as a professional hunter-including "fire
hunting" a nocturnal way of killing game, the precursor of some modern illegal
hunting practices. While some of the narrative is surely fictional, or based on
secondhand knowledge, the details in other parts of the account (see chapter
five entitled "Fire Hunting") suggest the author is recalling events he witnessed
firsthand. Flack makes very specific reference to various events, personages, and
places, in the Brazos River valley in the vicinity of modern Washington and Bra-
zos Counties. Other parts of the narrative (the chapter entitled "The Lone Star
State") could have conceivably been cobbled together from other travel ac-
counts or extant publications on the history of Texas.
This work will appeal most to serious collectors of Texana. A limited edition of
274 copies, the sixty-page publication is priced at $120o. A solid binding and ex-
cellent paper insure the book will survive for many years. Unfortunately its cost
may keep this fine publication out of some libraries and it will not be readily
available to the broad audience it deserves. That caveat aside, the Book Club of
Texas has done a wonderful job producing this handsome volume. Ainsworth's
outstanding introduction makes it all the more so.
Southwest Texas State University Jeffrey Mauck
Legendary Texas Storytellers. By Jim Gramon. (Plano: Republic of Texas Press,
2oo3. Pp. xiii+281. Acknowledgments, introduction, illustrations, calendar
of festivals, list of web sites, bibliography, index. $18.95, paper.)
This is a fun book. It is filled with short anecdotes, observations, poems, quips,
song lyrics, and a few facts by and about many Texas characters. Indeed one of
the most striking things about the book is the number of persons who get men-
tioned. I counted nearly three hundred people named in the text but found on-
ly about sixty in the index.
The variety of people mentioned is almost as astonishing as the number. Gra-
mon does not define "storyteller" but it is clear he spreads that net very wide.
Songwriters such a Fromholz, Wier, Damron, and Willie Nelson are considered
storytellers; the Texas triumvirate of Bedichek, Dobie, and Webb are storytellers;
contemporary scholars including Americo Paredes are storytellers; newspaper

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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 December 21, 2014.