The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 77, July 1973 - April, 1974

Book Reviews

in the absence of an adequate staff of trained chefs, it is small wonder that
the finished product perhaps more accurately resembles a Mulligan stew
than a gourmet's piece de resistance.
One of the regrettable shortcomings of the book is the scarcity of infor-
mation about minority groups. The few references to prominent black and
Mexican-American citizens and their institutions by no means reflect their
significance in the history of the county. Numerous errors in fact also mar
the usefulness of the book as a reliable reference.
These criticisms are not to suggest that the book is without merit or value.
It is only to say that the editor's original objective of creating a "convenient
reference volume with concise, accurate information on the widest range of
subjects" is not fulfilled.
The Handbook of Waco and McLennan County is perhaps the first of
its kind in Texas. Hopefully it will encourage similar studies in other coun-
ties. Those who may be disposed to prepare handbooks for their communities
would be well advised to profit from this work and spend more time and
money on basic research and professional editing.
A final word of commendation: The ladies of the Junior League of Waco
are to be commended for sponsoring the Handbook. It is unfortunate that
the final product falls short of their good intentions and generosity.
Baylor University Rurus B. SPAIN
William Barret Travis: His Sword and His Pen. By Martha Anne Turner.
(Waco: Texian Press, 1972. Pp. xv+318. Illustrations, index, notes..
$I2.)
For years William Barret Travis has remained an enigma for Texas his-
torians. The bare facts of his life which could be proven were sufficient for
brief sketches, if not for a full biography, but even these were embellished
with a plethora of legend. A good deal of the darkness was caused by Travis's.
early years' being spent in near obscurity in the frontier regions of western
South Carolina and southern Alabama, his questionable motives for immi-
grating to Texas, and the conflicting trends of revolutionary Texas. With-
out the true facts, most historians became folklorists and gave to the state
the hero Texans wanted by making Travis a larger-than-life figure, similar
to the way the popular mind conceives of George Washington.
Finally a biography, or a volume claiming to be a biography, has ap-
peared. Unfortunately, William Barret Travis: His Sword and His Pen is.
not the book so long awaited by students of Texas history. Frankly, it is
difficult to really condemn or praise the book. Turner has looked into the-

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 77, July 1973 - April, 1974. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117148/. Accessed December 28, 2014.