The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 78, July 1974 - April, 1975

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

possible clues to his political philosophy. Instead they take at face value
Connally's statement: "If people knew me well, they'd realize that on many
of the things they discuss about me so vividly, I haven't any views" (p.
417). Consequently the book provides but few clues to the private motives
and character of the man. The reader is left with the uncomfortable im-
pression either that he or she has not read the whole story or that Connally
is but a sophisticated evolution of the old demagogue species.
In spite of its failings, John B. Connally is a valuable book. It provides
fascinating reading not only about the public career of John Connally but
also about how a man of his position and power can dominate both state
and national politics.
Luther College HARVEY L. KLEVAR
Samuel Bell Maxey: A Biography. By Louise Horton. (Austin: University
of Texas Press, 1974. Page ix+222. Bibliography, photographs, foot-
notes. $Io.)
Samuel Bell Maxey reached the high point of his political career, and his
life, during his two terms as a United States senator from Texas, between
1875 and 1887. Never a significant figure in the Gilded Age Senate, Maxey
lived through important events and wrote newsy letters to his relatives at
home. Accordingly, it is helpful to have Louise Horton's brief biography
gather the relevant information on her subject's legislative tenure into a
convenient form.
This would have been a better book, however, had Horton been more
aware of such recent literature on this period as Irwin Unger's The Green-
back Era and David J. Rothman's analysis of the Senate. She relies too
heavily on older accounts from Allan Nevins and C. C. Tansill for her view
of the era's political history. Familiarity with the work of skeptical students
of the Democratic Party like Geoffrey Blodgett and R. Hal Williams might
have led her to examine with more detachment Maxey's fidelity to his
party's basic creed of localism and negativism.
Maxey himself is hardly a sympathetic character. The Senate appears to
have offered him a chance to escape a complaining wife in Texas and to
improve his own finances, rather than to pursue any strong legislative goals.
Horton dutifully records her subject's diligence in placing friends and rela-
tives in patronage positions, his support for Roscoe Conkling and opposition
to civil service, and his indiscreet dalliances with railroad men and eastern
bankers. There are suggestions that Maxey's zeal to enrich his personal posi-
tion and his use of the spoils may have contributed to his defeat in 1887,

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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 27, 2014.