The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 89, July 1985 - April, 1986

Book Reviews

NORMAN D. BROWN, Editor
Imagining Dallas. Edited by Gail Thomas. (Dallas: The Pegasus Founda-
tion, 1982. Pp. xii+95. Introduction, notes. $6.oo, paper.)
Dallas, USA. By A. C. Greene. (Austin: Texas Monthly Press, 1984. Pp.
ix+264. Acknowledgments, photographs. $15.95, cloth.)
As Dallas increasingly becomes an important city, people want to
know what makes it tick. Not a seaport, not at the crossing of a major
waterway, and not located strategically close to a reservoir or natural
resources, Dallas has flourished for reasons different from those that
have encouraged other cities. Imagining Dallas and Dallas, USA are
critiques that try to explain this metropolis.
Imagining Dallas, edited by Gail Thomas, is a collection of eight
papers given at two separate seminars: one held in 1979 and the other
in 1982. Essays by A. C. Greene, Bill Porterfield, and James Pratt are
noteworthy. These essayists see Dallas as a modern American city with-
out encumbering traditions, a city that looks forward and evaluates life
in terms of present economic successes rather than in terms of the price
paid for lost aesthetics, beauty, and gracefulness of life.
The ingredients in Dallas's success, speculates A. C. Greene in Dallas,
USA, are good organization and management, money, and rich and
powerful people. He finds these ingredients in city government, pro-
fessional sports, fashion, and the arts. It is a city run by businessmen
for businessmen. On the other hand, these same ingredients worked
against making Dallas a great city. Boasting no political bosses, the city's
burden was the influence of the Citizens' Council, 250 decision-making
businessmen who made government work and encouraged business,
but who ignored human needs and the aspirations of the minority com-
munities between 1937 and 1975. "It's no place to be handicapped,
economically, physically, or emotionally," Greene warned. "If you can't
contribute, go elsewhere" (p. 6).
Greene speaks of four modern Dallas legends: TV's "Dallas"; the
Kennedy assassination; H. L. Hunt and family; and the Cowboys. All

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 89, July 1985 - April, 1986. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117151/. Accessed July 10, 2014.