The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 90, July 1986 - April, 1987

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

the book a one-dimensional quality. While overall the work lacks bal-
ance, it is well researched and provides an adequate introduction to the
history of the West during World War II.
North Texas State University J. B. SMALLWOOD, JR.
Warning: Writer at Work. The Best Collectibles of Larry L. King. By Larry L.
King. Foreword by Edwin Shrake. (Fort Worth, Tex.: Texas Chris-
tian University Press, 1985. Pp. xx+289. Foreword, introduction,
illustrations. $17.95-)
Larry L. King's writing belies Thomas Wolfe's admonition, for not
only can King go home again, but his best work is about his home state.
Actually, King has lived most of his adult life outside Texas, but as this
new collection demonstrates, he returns often to his experiences in
The Texas essays are included in part one, "Echoes of Texas," com-
prising over 200 pages, and three essays are especially good. In "Con-
fessions of a White Racist" King traces his difficulties in coming to
terms with small-minded West Texas racism. In "Playing Cowboy" he
discusses his life as an expatriate good-ol'-boy Texan living in New York
City during the cowboy boom of the seventies. To explore new writing
topics, he often returned to Texas, and on his trips back he sensed a
split between the old and the new, especially as he drove along a favor-
ite stretch of road: "For a precious few moments I exist in a time warp:
I'm back in Old Texas, under a high sky, where all things are again pos-
sible and the wind blows free. Invariably, I put the heavy spurs to my
trusty Hertz or Avis steed: go flying lickety-split down that lonesome
road, whooping a crazy yell and taking deep joyous breaths, sloshing
Lone Star beer on my neglected dangling safety belt, and scattering
roadside gravel like bursts of buckshot. Ride 'im, cowboy! Ride 'im .. ."
(p. 176).
One of my personal favorites is "The Old Man," a tribute to his fa-
ther, Clyde King, a farmer, blacksmith, and janitor. It is also an essay
about the problematic relationship between fathers and sons. King and
his father had a fight when Larry was a teenager and were estranged
for three years until time finally healed the rift. When Clyde was an old
man nearing death, Larry took him on a trip to the Alamo. At his fa-
ther's funeral, Larry found the Old Man's hands particularly memo-
rable: "They told the story of a countryman's life in an eloquent lan-
guage of wrinkles, veins, old scars and new. . . . No, it is not given to
sons to know everything of their fathers-mercifully, perhaps-but I


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 90, July 1986 - April, 1987. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed February 12, 2016.