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

Book Reviews

joining Mahon Ranch in I938) from a "rawhide" cow-and-calf proposition
into a highly profitable producer of "range-wise" yearlings. But shrewd
management would have meant little without the dedication and savvy of
the wagon bosses--like Roscoe Latham, Porter Fancher, and Oscar Cole-
man-and the cowboys-like Jim "Drinkin' " Bennett, Frank Robbins, and
Mart Stansfield-to whom this book is inscribed. They were, remembers
the author, "some of the best cow waddies who ever swung a leg over the
saddle" (p. 25), besides being "about the best-educated men I ever met"
when it came to "weather, land, cattle, horses, and human nature" (p. 25).
Proud individuals, they wouldn't deign to do the work of "footmen";
sensitive, they perceived and interpreted the beauty in the "All Knowin'
Feller's wide open country" (p. 21); discerning, they preferred Hill's
Brothers over Arbuckle's and Log Cabin over Tea Garden.
This well-designed book contains a wealth of information, including the
recipe for "Son-of-a-Bitch Stew," the way to tell a "hard and fast" from a
"dally welta" roper, and a discussion of ranch management according to
the law of Survival of the Fittest. While the dialogue is at times contrived,
the prose, like Mike's stew, is generally palatable; and Bob Sharp, true to
his purpose, presents a genuine ranchman's reminiscence, nothing
more.
Southwest Texas State University JAMES A. WILSON
Recollections of a Long Life. By Elijah L. Shettles. Edited by Archie P.
McDonald. Forward by J. Frank Dobie. (Nashville, Tennessee: Blue
and Gray Press, 1973. Pp. xix+i86. Index. $7.95.)
This is an autobiography of a man whose unlikely professions were
gambler, Methodist minister, and bookman. Presumably no one ever pur-
sued his professions with more vigor than did Shettles. His early gambling
days were also drinking days for him. He was what would presently be
called a high roller, and he was either flush or broke. His conversion to
Christianity and his call to preach brought about the second major phase
of his life. He wrestled sin with the same determination he had once hustled
cards.
His gambling days were spent mostly in Texas, and that is also where
he performed his ministry. Like most preachers, he moved often. Four years
spent in Bryan constituted his longest stay in one spot. When he decided to
retire from preaching, he became a bookman, and a premier one he was.
Austin was then his headquarters and most of Texas's greatest book rarities
passed through his hands. Actually he had long been interested in books

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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 1, 2014.