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

Book Reviews

around the turn of the century. Despite these shortcomings, the book
is to be applauded for its attempt to highlight the story of blacks in
East Texas. The general public will find it informative, and serious
scholars will find Pemberton's encyclopedia-type information useful as
a starting point for additional studies on blacks in Texas.
The University of Texas at Austin GEORGE C. WRIGHT
Life on Waller Creek: A Palaver about History as Pure and Applied
Education. By Joseph Jones. (Austin: AAR/Tantalus, Inc., 1982.
Pp. xiii+331. Preface, notes on sources, index. $17.95.)
The title of this volume suggests the greatest problem faced by any-
one attempting to review it. The book is many things: a personal re-
flection on the author's interaction, over a period of almost fifty years,
with a small creek that courses through the campus of the University
of Texas at Austin (an institution at which he taught English until his
recent retirement); a somewhat disjointed account of certain aspects
of the history of the city and of the University, which have developed
alongside the stream since their establishments in 1839 and 1883 re-
spectively; an ecological consideration of the effects of urbanization on
the creek through the years, emphasizing the influence of politics and
economics on city and University actions regarding the stream; a criti-
cal commentary on the current status of education in general and
English instruction in particular; and, finally, an attempt at applying
some of the author's findings and perceptions to the wider Texan and
American experience. Jones relied mainly on printed materials and his
own experiences for sources.
The author's apparent principal thesis is a familiar one. It is that
our rapidly growing urban society must learn from its recent past that,
unless it brings under rational control its exploitation of the natural
environment, the environment and the human beings who exist within
it will be seriously, perhaps irreparably, injured.
Many readers who attempt to plow straight through the volume may
find the going very slow. There are many digressions. Some are worth-
while; others can only be described as strange. A much briefer, more
closely focused work would probably have served both author and
reader better.
Though the book has organizational and conceptual problems, it is
a delight to read in detail. Jones's writing style is one of the book's
chief assets. This style and his considerable intellectual power yield
many memorable passages. For example, he asserts that UT "impresses

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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 16, 2014.