Southwestern Historical Quarterly
American enterprise ventures, these two failed, and it is a credit to Edward Zuck-
erman's acuity in observation and understatement and abilities in narrative and
character development that he does not have to tell the reader why: lack of capi-
tal; ignorance; excessive attention to style over substance; using revenue for ex-
pansion rather than retiring debt; and the bad luck to be entrepreneurs reliant
on revolving bank loans in Texas in the 198os.
That Zuckerman is a New York-based journalist with a recently discovered at-
traction to Texas might lead some non-Texan readers to infer that some of what
he records is exaggerated, but every page rings true with the wildness, strengths,
and weaknesses of the Texan entrepreneurial spirit. Zuckerman also deftly, but
not overbearingly, reveals the surreality of banking in Texas and how bankers
did not appreciate how a business really operated. In one poignant scene, a laid-
off banker, from whom Teal had borrowed before the bust and whom he had
now hired to sell T-shirts in an Austin mall, is intently repairing the display case
when he should have been on the phone ordering stock for the T-shirts that had
The book should be required reading for students in business management
courses and is a wonderfully sad introduction to others interested in business in
the 1980s. The absence of notes and sources should not deter professional histo-
rians, for they could learn more about American business from this volume than
from a dozen social science studies on entrepreneurship.
Ohio State University WILLIAM R. CHILDS
The Quanah Route: A History of the Quanah, Acme and Pacific Railway. By Don L.
Hofsommer. (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1991. Pp.
xiv+2 15. Preface, abbreviations, black-and-white photographs, illustrations,
maps, tables, notes, bibliography, index. $42.50.)
Short line railroads are almost always exercises in entrepreneurial hubris, and
the Quanah, Acme and Pacific was no exception. All through the nineteenth
century communities throughout the United States generated groups of Babbitts
convinced that the future of their communities, and those nearby, depended on
a rail link with the main line, thirty to Ioo miles away. The builders of the QA&P
had such a vision. Its founders wanted to link Quanah, in Hardeman County,
with El Paso to form, with the St. Louis and San Francisco (Frisco) at the Red
River, a direct route from Saint Louis to the West Coast. Between 1909 and
1928 the Quanah Route built to the Red River northeast of Quanah, in the
process becoming a subsidiary of the Frisco, and west through Cottle, Motley,
and Floyd counties to Floydada and a connection with a very reluctant Santa Fe.
It never did make a desired connection to Lubbock, much less to El Paso.
Briefly, during the Second World War, the Quanah Route served as a relief
route between the Frisco and the Santa Fe for heavy wartime freight and military
traffic. After the war an increasingly uninterested Frisco diverted much of its
through traffic to the Santa Fe at Avard, Oklahoma, and the QA&P withered
slowly away. The Frisco was merged into the Burlington Northern in 1980, but
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 97, July 1993 - April, 1994. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117154/. Accessed April 28, 2015.