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

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

that Johnson lacked couth. The official tone of this celebratory volume appar-
ently precluded quoting letters from Texans who "thanked God the President
had not suffered from hemorrhoids."
This book deserves more readers than the already-persuaded. Its larger pur-
pose, surely, is a visual- rejoinder to the endless demonology of Robert Caro,
whose volumes are conspicuously missing from the short bibliography. John-
son as raconteur, as messianic salesman for political programs, as a successful
politician wholly comprehensible within our society's understanding of effec-
tive political leadership-all this is seen in images of a president who may have
to be forgotten yet more before finding his proper historical place in the com-
plex world that was America in the 196os.
A contemporary comparison may be instructive. Helmut Kohl, addicted to
dull public oratory and hard-pressed to conceal his person in baggy suits, em-
barrasses German intellectuals. His visual image is at odds with his extraordi-
nary political leadership. Since Americans have no emotional stake in Kohl's
appearance, it makes no difference what Kohl looks or sounds like. We judge
him from afar, and measure him in terms of his political astuteness. One hopes,
now that passions have cooled, that close study of LBJ images will permit us to
reflect on the extraordinary political accomplishments of a president who was
condemned, as his popular mandate eroded after 1965, to find no solace in any
of the 550,000 images taken by official White House photographers. Now is the
time to see the aesthetic contribution of Yoichi Okamoto to Johnson's place in
history.
Louisiana Stale Unzverszty DAVID CULBERT
Katherzne Anne Porter and Texas: An Uneasy Relatzonship. Edited by Clinton Ma-
chann and William Bedford Clark. (College Station: Texas A&M Univer-
sity Press, 199o. Pp. xxiji+19i. Acknowledgments, introduction, black-
and-white photographs, notes, bibliography, index. $29.50.)
In 1975 Katherine Anne Porter, in a letter to the president of Howard Payne
University, declared herself "the first native of Texas in its whole history to be a
professional writer." Whether or not that claim is accurate, Miss Porter unques-
tionably built a towering national and international literary reputation; also un-
questionably, she was never recognized in her home state during her lifetime
(she died in 1980) in any way commensurate with her achievements.
To some degree the oversight is being corrected. In April 1988 a major con-
ference was held at Texas A&M University to consider Miss Porter and her
work. Kathezne Anne Po? te and Texas is a collection of the presentations made at
that symposium. As is to be expected of such volumes, its parts are uneven in
quality and often repetitious; moreover, the book adds little to our knowledge
and understanding of Miss Porter's artistry. (The one exception to this gener-
alization is the essay by Don Graham in which he shows us precisely how and
why Miss Porter's stories are so much better than the works of other Texas writ-
ers of her generation.)

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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 October 1, 2014.