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

Book Reviews

(p. 4). The growth of the city along with leadership changes in the newspaper
dimmed Rosenfield's influence at the end of his career, but by this time Dallas
had grown with his help into a community of cosmopolitan awareness.
Davis employed the life of John Rosenfield and his many comments to track
also the history of the various cultural enterprises of his time. For a general read-
er there is probably too much about who and what played where and when. But,
after all, this is the story of the life and times of a critic who wrote daily on such
matters. Who and what played where and when, thus, would be expected in such
a biography. Although there is a thoroughgoing bibliographic note, academic
readers will miss footnotes in the text. Davis explains in the preface that foot-
notes are unnecessary since approximate dates are given in the text and quota-
tions are taken either from interviews or from Rosenfield's columns. Well, yes,
perhaps, indeed, but it is hard for fusty academics to give up footnotes.
The Rosenfield biography joins Davis's books on Linda Darnell, John Wayne,
John Ford, Van Johnson, Hollywood, and music. Along with his oral histories on
the performing arts gathered since the 197os Davis, who recently retired from
Southern Methodist University, has contributed enormously to the study of en-
tertainment. Although most historians ignore recreation and entertainment as
unimportant, Davis has persisted on a somewhat lonely path to explore this area
of human existence. John Rosenfield's story explains much about the struggles
of cultural growth in Dallas; it clears a blurred facet of Dallas history; it provides
insight into the character of the city. Thus, we benefit from Ronald Davis's work.
Fort Collzns, Colorado David G. McComb
The Red Zone, Cars, Cows, and Coaches: The Life and Good Times of a Texas Dealmaker.
By Red McCombs with Mickey Herskowitz. (Austin: Eakin Press, 2oo2. Pp.
xiv+226. Foreword, acknowledgments, photographs, epilogue, sources, in-
dex. ISBN 1-57168-7-7-6. $24.95, cloth.)
Already owner of a Corpus Christi used-car business by age thirty-one, Red Mc-
Combs drove to San Antonio before dawn, January 2, 1958. He was going to
help his friend and former boss, Austin Hemphill, whose Ford dealership was
threatened with bankruptcy. When Hemphill announced that McCombs would
take charge for the time being, all but five employees walked out. McCombs re-
calls being so nervous that he threw up in Hemphill's wastebasket and went to
drive "aimlessly" in the South Texas winter morning (p. 28). He regrouped and
within a week salvaged the dealership's finances and devised a creative public re-
lations strategy. By April, he had moved to San Antonio, where he became a
renowned entrepreneur, with a chain of car dealerships, investments in oil,
ranching, media, and other enterprises, and a string of sports franchises that
kept him in the public eye.
McCombs reviews his life from a West Texas childhood in Spur through re-
cent ventures, including ownership of football's Minnesota Vikings and work
with at-risk schools in San Antonio. After quitting the University of Texas law
school in 1950, he began selling cars in Corpus Christi, where his family had
moved during World War II. He knew he had the "attitude" for selling, and he
perceived that he could rise quickly in the auto business, a business that after all

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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 July 31, 2015.