The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 71, July 1967 - April, 1968

Book Reviews

volume blends standard freighting history, recorded in articles, books,
and monographs on the Santa Fe Trail, overland wagon routes, and
Indian wars, with valuable new material on wagons, stock, and equip-
ment; freighting companies; the supply "ports" in Missouri, Kansas,
and Nebraska; railroading versus wagon freighting; the transportation
of 'army supplies; and freighting into specific areas of Montana, Utah,
and the southern plains. Walker's book is stamped with the hallmarks
of good scholarship: careful synthesis of published material, thorough
research in unpublished sources, adequate documentation, and intel-
ligent interpretation.
Unfortunately, The Wagonmasters is not sprightly reading. It is
packed with loose, disjointed sentences and cluttered with statistics
that belong in tabular appendices. The bibliography is extensive, yet
some of the citations are too brief and others are inaccurate. Two of
the three maps are poor. Although The Wagonmasters is a volume of
accurate, objective history, appropriately illustrated and attractively
bound, it is only mediocre literature.
University of Texas JOHN E. SUNDER
Tales from the Big Thicket. Edited by Francis E. Abernethy. Austin
(University of Texas Press), 1966. Pp. xii+244. Illustrations,
maps, index. $6.75.
Rustic imagination and the mystery of pristine wilderness, charac-
teristics of Hardin County and its people, are evident qualities of the
stories collected by Francis Abernethy for Tales from the Big Thicket.
The seventeen selections in this anthology are drawn from personal
experiences of both native authors and selected specialists of this
unique region of Texas. From the geological explanation of the Thick-
et's origins (studied by Saul Aronow) to the journalistic accounts of
Archer Fullingin and Ruth Garrison Scurlock, from the primitive
fantasy of Howard Martin's Alabama-Coushatta legends to the family
humor and heroics of Lois Williams Parker and Ellen Walker Rien-
stra, the range of themes, styles, and talents afford a reading experience
to delight confirmed regionalists and to convert erudite skeptics to an
appreciation of the potentials of folklore studies.
The physical composition of this book credits the editor and his
publisher-the former for comprehensive balance in a collection of
narratives developing the human history of the region without suc-

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 71, July 1967 - April, 1968. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117145/. Accessed July 26, 2014.