Recent political trends are summarized by Dean William Havard, who
is a bit hard pressed to really conjure up a theme out of the politics of six
states that happen to open onto the Gulf of Mexico.
Despite its disunity, this is a book that ought to be read by New South
University of Texas at Arlington GEORGE GREEN
John B. Connally: A Portrait in Power. By Ann Fears Crawford and Jack
Keever. (Austin: Jenkins Publishing Company, I973- PP. viii+460.
Illustrations, bibliography, index. $9-50.)
John Connally's belated alliance with ex-President Nixon and his own
indictment have attenuated his once meteoric brilliance to that of a fading
star; nevertheless, Crawford and Keever's study leaves little doubt of Con-
nally's political stature before 1974. As the authors imply through their
selection of materials, the Horatio Alger myth was waiting, as it were, for
a man once more to inform it.
From "poor white trash" (p. 18) status in Floresville, Texas, to associa-
tion with the wealthy and powerful of the state, nation, and world, John
Connally's career certainly reflects the rags-to-riches formula. A combina-
tion of hard work plus luck in auspicious relationships with people such as
Lyndon Johnson and Sid Richardson provided the foundations for his
subsequent political power and wealth. Add to this what Crawford and
Keever characterize as Connally's good looks, his "charisma ... [and an]
astute and cynical political nature" (p. 401 ), and the shape of his political
power and stature gradually comes into focus.
The authors are to be commended for providing an interesting and
readable account of the political and public figure of John Connally. They
chronologically chart his ascendance to power. They offer some speculative
insights into how he manipulated that power to serve better his own per-
sonal and political needs. "Money and politics have been the twin pillars
of John Connally's life for nearly forty years, supporting his opulent life-
style and his massive ego . . ." (p. 404). They provide what seems to be
an unflattering but honest "portrait in power."
The study does have its shortcomings. Crawford and Keever obviously
worked without Connally's cooperation. Consequently they relied heavily
upon journalistic accounts and hearsay commentary by Connally's friends
and critics to create an impressionistic but one dimensional portrait of their
subject. They did not examine his legislative and administrative record for
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 August 28, 2014.