The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992

Southwestern Hzstorical Quarterly

Gregory covers a myriad of intriguing topics including Okie attitudes toward
major New Deal issues; Okie racism and prejudice toward ethnic groups; Okie
ambivalence toward strikes, unionization, and socialism; the passionate funda-
mentalism that characterized most Okie churches; and the language that
bound all Okies together-the country or "hillbilly" music exemplified in the
songs of Bob Wills, Gene Autry, and, later, Merle Haggard. This is a fine his-
tory, thoughtful, well-written, and detailed. It is based on a wide variety of
sources, including oral histories, archival materials, published government
documents, manuscript collections, census records, and newspapers. Gregory
might have done more to explain the concept of "subculture," and he exagger-
ates the Okie contribution to religion, music, and politics in the San Joaquin
Valley. By focusing exclusively on the Okies, he fails to consider how other
people resisted or helped shape the subculture. Nevertheless, this is a fascinat-
ing story that reveals the superficiality of the Okie images burned into the
American consciousness by The Grapes of Wrath, the remarkable photographs of
Dorothea Lange, and may other books and films.
Texas A&M University DONALD J. PISANI
Other People's Money: The Inszde Story of the S&L Mess. By Paul Zane Pilzer with
Robert Deitz. (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1989. Pp. 269. Preface,
prologue, acknowledgments, notes, selected bibliography, index. $18.95.)
Scandal and chicanery, speculation and peculation, have, of course, long
been commonplace in the financial world. Every so often, though, the scale of
rapacity, the scope of corruption, or the profundity of disaster deviates so far
from financial norms as to capture the attention, and not just the assets, of the
general public. Thus, everyone from Paul Harvey to normally somnolent un-
dergraduates is eager to put in his two-cents' worth on Michael Milken, or at
least on Gordon Gekko, and Tulip Crazes, South Sea bubbles, Credit Mobillers,
and Teapot Domes are, to many, currency of the realm. To the foregoing may be
added another case from our own junk world-the savings and loan debacle-
and it is this calamity that Paul Zane Pilzer, with the help of Robert Dietz, ana-
lyzes in his fast-paced and timely little primer Other People's Money. The Inszde
Story of the S&L Mess.
To call the book fast-paced and timely, however, is to understate the case.
Indeed, in less than two hundred fifty pages of text, Pilzer, a Dallas-based de-
veloper and adjunct professor of finance at New York University, traces the his-
tory of the U.S. thrift industry, explains the causes of the S&L fiasco of the
1980s, and offers several sensible, if modest, policy recommendations; more-
over, as I write, the U.S. government's Resolution Trust Corporation is prepar-
ing to spend almost $1 billion per day to bail out insolvent thrifts! (See New York
Tzmes, May 2, 1990.)
In Pilzer's view the roots of the S&L crisis lie in the legislation passed in 1933
and 1934 that gave birth to the modern thrift industry in the United States.
According to the author, this legislation, enacted during the heady days of the

116

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117153/. Accessed April 24, 2014.