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

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

sented by the actual papers, and the papers then follow in chrono-
logical order. The documents are usually footnoted with explanatory
material and source information. McLean writes with a definite point
of view on most matters and leaves the reader with no doubt as to what
it might be.
There are some instances in which the reader may question the deci-
sion to include a particular document. McLean, however, has repeat-
edly stressed throughout his study his intention to include everything
that might tell something about these eventful years. He has made
every effort to do so.
Lamar University ADRIAN ANDERSON
Texas Cowboys: Memories of the Early Days. Edited by Jim Lanning and
Judy Lanning. (College Station, Tex.: Texas A&M University Press,
1984. Pp. xvii+ 233. Acknowledgments, introduction, photographs,
notes, bibliography. $15.95.)
Texas Cowboys is composed of interviews with cowboys, recorded
during the depression by writers working for the WPA in the Federal
Writers' Project. Of the four hundred interview manuscripts lodged in
the Texas Rangelore Collection of the Library of Congress, editors Jim
Lanning and Judy Lanning chose thirty-three for this collection.
These memoirs are told in the first person and were recorded word-
for-word by the interviewers. Since the cowboys (and the women in a
section called "Women on the Range") told their own stories, the mate-
rial retains the integrity of detail that is sometimes lost when non-
cowboys write about cowboys. Hence, a researcher in the field is able to
study the subjects' own descriptions of horses, roping, techniques, and
equipment, and to assume that they are accurate. The editors are cor-
rect in their assessment when they say, "It is our feeling . .. that these
cowboy stories are basically substantive" (p. xv). The interview format
also works well in recording expressions ("I wasn't bigger than a pint of
cider," p. 113) and manners of speech ("I had run low on chuck and
was hankering for chuck right smart," p. 113).
The section on women is a nice surprise, and their stories offer a per-
spective on the western experience that is hard to find. In our age,
when men and women are having their problems getting along, it is in-
teresting to note a theme repeated by several of the women: "I want to
say that the old-fashioned cowboys were the finest fellows I ever knew,
loyal and true in every respect and had the greatest respect for women"
(p. 216).


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 89, July 1985 - April, 1986. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed February 6, 2016.