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

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

Gratified blacks hailed his victory, while whites felt threatened and
disgraced by the event. Johnson did not help matters. He enraged the
white majority with his flamboyant life style, which embraced al-
cohol, fast cars, saloons, white prostitutes, and white wives. To avoid
prison he fled the country. He tried with little success to live in En-
gland, France, Spain, and Mexico. Along the way Johnson lost his
championship to Jess Willard in Cuba. Some critics, and later John-
son also, claimed the fight was rigged. Others, including Roberts,
think that it was a fair fight. There is no definite answer, but none-
theless, a white hope had been found at last. Johnson eventually
returned to the United States, spent a year in prison, and continued
to box. His powers and audience declined to a point where he could
perform only in carnival sideshows. He died in an automobile acci-
dent in 1946.
Roberts treats Johnson with sympathy, respect, and skepticism. The
boxer was not reliable when he talked about himself. Roberts, there-
fore, rarely takes Johnson's version of events without balancing it with
other reports. Particularly important are the recently unclassified
government documents that other writers have not used. Roberts, who
teaches at Sam Houston State University, conveys without melodrama
the difficulties of this free-spirited black man in a world without tol-
erance for such individuals. The study is a superb contribution to
black biography, sports, and the history of the early twentieth century.
Colorado State University DAVID G. MCCOMB
Southwestern Agriculture: Pre-Columbian to Modern. Edited by
Henry C. Dethloff and Irvin M. May, Jr. (College Station, Tex.:
Texas A8cM University Press, 1982. Pp. viii+307. Preface, tables,
index. $23.75.)
For well over a decade the Agricultural History Society has cospon-
sored an annual symposium featuring a specific theme, period, or region
in the saga of America's farming past. The Society has also usually ar-
ranged to publish most or all of the papers and comments as a special
enlarged issue of Agricultural History, with a special editor in charge.
As a result, we have had a series of volumes that are inevitably un-
even in quality, but invariably unique and useful in the focus they
provide on often neglected subjects, as well as for the fresh insights
offered in many of the papers. The 1980 symposium at College Station
was cosponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Texas

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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 October 23, 2014.