He can, as this collection of essays shows, read a book and fit it into its place
in an author's corpus and into its place in the literature of this region.
The most complete and important of Pilkington's studies is devoted to
William A. Owens, the novelist, folklorist, and autobiographer. Originally
published as a pamphlet in the Southwest Writers Series, the chapter on
Owens traces the writer's career and makes valuable judgments on his works.
In addition, many of the comments on regionalism which appear elsewhere
in My Blood's Country seem to have grown from Pilkington's consideration
of Owen's works.
All the studies of individual writers add to our knowledge, though Pilk-
ington's defense of Larry McMurtry as an essayist will never stand scrutiny.
But his literary criticism is, in all other cases, sound and reasoned. The book
adds a great deal to our understanding: one only wishes that the whole book
had been rewritten to form a more cogent study of the region's writers.
North Texas State University JAMES W. LEE
The Year They Threw the Rascals Out. By Charles Deaton (Austin: Shoal
Creek Publishers, Inc., 1973. Pp. 244. Index, appendices. $2.95.)
On January 18, 1971, just prior to the inauguration of Texas Governor
Preston Smith and Lieutenant Governor Ben Barnes to a second two-year
term, the Sharpstown Bank scandal broke in the newspapers, thus trigger-
ing events of significant political magnitude. During the next 14o days the
Sixty-Second Legislature reeled almost daily from some new rumor or reve-
lation which undermined public confidence in state leadership. By the end
of May House Speaker Gus Mutscher had lost control of what most ob-
servers had considered an impregnable majority of representatives and was
retreating before the verbal onslaughts of capitol press correspondents and
of House rebels known as the "Dirty Thirty." By November, after a Travis
County Grand Jury had indicted him and two other cohorts on criminal
charges, all state politicians were under the cloud of Sharpstown. And in
the Democratic primaries in May, 1972, one out of every two incumbents
lost to opponents, climaxing what Charles Deaton, publisher of the Texas
Government Newsletter, has called The Year They Threw the Rascals Out.
By seizing upon a rather interesting catch-phrase for a book title, Deaton
has possibly misled readers and the public. After all, some may question
whether the electorate voted the "rascals" in or out. Surprisingly, Texans
elected ten House members, nearly all of whom were on the so-called "Mut-
scher team," to the state Senate. For that matter Representative Frances
"Sissy" Farenthold of Corpus Christi, whom Deaton admires tremendously,
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 78, July 1974 - April, 1975. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117149/. Accessed March 15, 2014.