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

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

McAlester High School in 1927 with the highest grade-point average ever re-
corded. He then attended the University of Oklahoma, paying his bills by
means of numerous speaking engagements after winning a national inter-
collegiate oratorical contest. He built an enviable record during the next four
years, graduating in 1931 with a Phi Beta Kappa key as well as being elected
president of the men's council, the "most popular student," the "outstanding
male student," and a Rhodes Scholar. From 1931 to 1934 he strengthened his
educational training in classes at Oxford and broadened his outlook with vaca-
tions to many European countries. Upon returning to Oklahoma in the fall of
1934, he passed the state bar exam.
Because of the severity of the Great Depression, Albert had difficulty making
a living, even with such outstanding academic credentials. After working for
the FHA for two years (1935-1937), then several oil companies, and as an offi-
cer in the U.S. Army during World War II, Albert decided to enter politics,
which became an all-consuming profession. In 1946 he ran for Congress, and
with the help of retiring encumbent Paul Stewart he was elected. For the next
thirty years Albert worked to excel-first by learning the rules and traditions of
the House, next by being recognized by Speaker Sam Rayburn as a "comer,"
and eventually by achieving the approbation of his colleagues as Majority Whip
(1955-1962), Majority Leader (1962-197 1), and Speaker (1971-1977)"
The Little Giant is a rather typical autobiography, including fond remem-
brances as well as deliberate omissions. Assisted by Danney Goble of the
University of Tulsa, Albert has shown how anyone, no matter how poor the
background or meager the resources, can achieve the highest rung in his pro-
fession. But at the same time, possibly because of precious space, he does not
discuss the vagaries of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, the in-fighting among
many of his congressional colleagues, and personal problems confronting Al-
bert and his wife, especially during his last years as Speaker. As a consequence,
the Lzttle Giant is a worthy tome, but with some disappointments.
Texas Christian Unzverszty BEN PROCTER
Thomas O. Larkin: A Life of Patrotism and Profit zn Old California. By Harlan
Hague and David J. Langum. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press,
1990. Pp. xiii+304. Preface, introduction, black-and-white photographs,
map, notes, bibliography, index. $28.95.)
Massachusetts native Thomas O. Larkin (1802-1858) is one of those shad-
owy names that is accorded a sentence in many books on U.S. history, but rarely
much more. He was the United States consul for Mexican California whom
President James K. Polk, in October 1845, appointed confidential agent. Schol-
ars of Mexican War causation often use the phrasing of Larkin's secret instruc-
tions as evidence of Polk's intent to foment a Texas-style uprising in California
that would eventuate in its annexation.
The coauthors of this persuasive portrait reveal that Larkins' career illumi-
nates much more than one of Manifest Destiny's moments. Of course Hague

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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 July 30, 2014.