The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 101, July 1997 - April, 1998

Book Reviews

133

bewildering events surrounding John Kennedy's assassination. On November
2o, 1993, nearly seventy who had worked the story three decades earlier met at
Southern Methodist University to reminisce about their experiences that fateful
weekend. This small but excellent publication is a transcription of that confer-
ence.
Their remembrances make fascinating reading. Associated Press photograph-
er "Ike" Altgens was positioned only fifteen feet from the presidential limousine
when rifle shots rang out at Dealey Plaza. Although he caught Kennedy through
his viewfinder clutching at his throat, Altgens temporarily froze when microfrag-
ments of the president's shattered skull showered down at his feet. Tony Zoppi,
entertainment editor for the Dallas Morning News, quickly pursued the fast-break-
ing story to Parkland Hospital. Like others in the media, he was barred from the
facility by the Secret Service. Zoppi, however, found himself inside after being
conscripted to help carry in Kennedy's coffin. Bob Jackson of the Dallas Times
Herald describes the positioning and luck behind his historic photograph freez-
ing forever the instant of accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald's murder. Within
arm's reach was Ike Pappas of WNEW (New York City), so close he initially
thought he himself had been hit by gunfire. Pappas was flabbergasted; Jack Ruby
had arranged an interview for the reporter with District Attorney Henry Wade
only thirty-six hours earlier in a crowded police headquarters hallway.
Participants discussed the practical problems they encountered. Insufficient
film and malfunctioning cameras, transportation and manpower shortages, in
addition to communication difficulties greatly complicated the task. They reveal
as well the remarkable speed with which recrimination regarding the assassina-
tion poisoned relations between local and national reporters covering events in
Dallas.
As other reviewers have noted, the book's only significant flaw, like the confer-
ence itself, is its brevity. Some speakers found themselves rushed and unable to
fully relate their experiences given the time constraints of a one-day conference
with almost seventy participants. Nonetheless, readers will find this an informa-
tive and enjoyable work providing a new perspective on the Kennedy assassina-
tion
Austin Community College L. PATRICK HUGHES
Bill Clements: Texian to His Toenails. By Carolyn Barta. Foreword by James A.
Michener. (Austin: Eakin Press, 1996. Pp. xviii+479. Foreword, introduc-
tion, illustrations, notes, bibliography, index. ISBN 1-57168-o9o-X. $29.95,
cloth.)
This book offers readers a comprehensive look at the remarkable life of
William P. Clements Jr. Carolyn Barta, longtime political reporter and editor
at the Dallas Morning News, examines both Clements's phenomenal business
career and tenure as deputy secretary of defense from 1973 through 1977.
The ambitious college dropout founded and built Southeastern Drilling
Company (SEDCO) from a shoestring venture on borrowed capital into the

1997

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 101, July 1997 - April, 1998. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117155/. Accessed August 30, 2014.