The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 87, July 1983 - April, 1984

Book Reviews

The goal of the authors was to "show what happens in an oil town
through description and analysis .... in short . . . the effect of petro-
leum activity on community life" (p. xiv). To do so the authors ex-
plored local records and interviewed in excess of 30o individuals who
participated in the boom years. Based on this research, the Oliens have
constructed a model of oil boom town development that would apply
to other such communities throughout the country. In the pattern they
delineated, the boom is touched off by a wildcatter opening a new area
to production. Once this occurs there is a wild rush for leases, followed
by a horde of oil-field workers and camp followers descending on the
new discovery. As production increases often there is construction of
refineries and related manufacturing plants. If this is the case, the boom
town generally survives the bust, which always follows the end of flush
production; if not, the community usually disappears.
While such a pattern could be transposed on other mineral rushes,
the Oliens have discovered that, unlike the gold and silver rushes, the
oil booms attracted a distinct segment of the population, one that fol-
lowed the flow of crude from one discovery to another. In addition, be-
cause most of the early oil development was governed by the "law of
capture," which meant that the oil belonged to whatever company
pumped it from the ground, regardless of whether it was being pumped
from beneath a neighboring lease or not, they discovered that oil-field
communities developed much faster than other boom towns. As a re-
sult, oil boom towns had more problems with rapid population in-
creases, housing shortages, and inadequate municipal facilities.
Oil Booms is a valuable contribution to the history of the American
West.
Oklahoma Heritage Association KENNY A. FRANKS
Interwoven: A Pioneer Chronicle. By Sallie Reynolds Matthews. (1936;
reprint ed., College Station, Tex.: Texas A8cM Press, 1982. Pp.
xiv+ 226. Introduction, foreword, illustrations, index. $14.95.)
Lambshead Before Interwoven: A Texas Range Chronicle, 1848-1978.
By Frances Mayhugh Holden. (College Station, Tex.: Texas A&M
Press, 1982. Pp. xv+230. Preface, acknowledgments, illustrations,
index. $15.95.)
There is no doubt that West Texas history has been enriched by the
production of Frances M. Holden's Lambshead Before Interwoven. A
much-needed companion to the classic saga Interwoven, Lambshead

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 87, July 1983 - April, 1984. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117150/. Accessed September 19, 2014.