Dodge does not neglect the merchants, inventors, and businessmen
who brought on the revolution in growing and manufacturing the
white staple. She notes the South's blindness to the weakness of its cot-
ton economy and slave system. After losing the Civil War (the British
had not intervened) and seeing their Negroes set free, southern leaders
finally heeded William Gregg's message to industrialize. With their
cheap labor, southern entrepreneurs by 1900 were seriously challeng-
ing their New England counterparts, just as the latter had challenged
English manufacturers. Meanwhile, soil depletion, erosion, and the
boll weevil were having disastrous consequences for the southern cot-
There are no significant new findings in this book, but it is an admi-
rable account for laymen who wish a brief review of a broad subject.
The author is well versed in cotton culture, its manufacture, and the
worldwide significance of both.
Generally, her judgments in other areas are sound, but this reviewer
must question her implication that on the eve of the Civil War southern
planters were, on the whole, ignorant of scientific agriculture. Also,
poor southern "sandhillers" (p. 129) were not as numerous or as loyal
to the Confederacy as she implies. As for style, she includes too many
lengthy quotations for smooth reading.
But weakest is her interpretation of German imperialism that some-
how slips into the book. In noting the South's defeat, she writes that
southern leaders might not have considered secession a valid solution
for their problems "if the price to be paid was to include accepting the
domination of a German kaiser bent on enslaving them all" (p. 127). A
strange conclusion, indeed!
Clemson, S. C. ERNEST M. LANDER, JR.
Voices from the Oil Fields. Edited and with an introduction by Paul F.
Lambert and Kenny A. Franks. (Norman: University of Oklahoma
Press, 1984. Pp. xii+26o. Preface, acknowledgments, introduction,
illustrations, index. $19.95.)
Oil-field culture possessed a romantic glamour when it arrived in
Oklahoma and Kansas from the Midwest after 19oo. Youngsters left
the drudgery of the farm for the mobility and anonymity of life in the
oil patch, trading mechanical skills and a strong work ethic for the
promise of money, travel, and high adventure. Thus was born the arti-
san class of oil-field workers in the southwestern states of Oklahoma,
Louisiana, New Mexico, Kansas, and Texas.
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 13, 2014.