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

Book Reviews

from high school and from Austin College in Sherman. After a short time as a
teacher and after completing service in the U. S. Navy during World War II, he
settled into what would become his permanent career-research and develop-
ment for cotton gins. In time he would become an executive officer in each of
the nation's two primary gin machinery manufacturers, but his chief accomplish-
ments were in engineering; he received twenty-eight patents for his inventions
and/or modifications to gin machinery.
Vandergriff's memoir places his career in context, but emphasizes his thought
processes. For clarity, he begins with the simple machinery of the early twentieth
century, which had not changed much since the 188os, and continues through
the end of the twentieth century, describing new equipment, inventions, modifi-
cations, and ultimately a revolution in ginning machinery. Vandergriff explains
successes, admits failures, clarifies patent claims, and suggests future projects.
Generously illustrated, this book, with its many engineering details, is not for
the faint of heart. But like Vandergriff's career, the reward of understanding is
well worth the effort of exploration.
Weslaco KAREN V. GERHARDT
Running With Bonnie and Clyde: The Ten Fast Years of Ralph Fults. By John Neal
Phillips. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1996. Pp. xvii+395. List of
illustrations, preface, acknowledgments, epilogue, notes, bibliography,
index. ISBN 0-8061-281o-o. $29.95, cloth.)
After extensive research in oral and written records, John Neal Phillips, a
Texas writer and photographer, has put together a readable work with a
point of view. The author does not stress that human aggression results from
the genetic structure of individuals. Rather, he emphasizes the point of view
that the aggressive nature of people is nurtured in the social structure in
which they live. For Clyde Barrow and Ralph Fults this meant that their early
lives revolved around their reactions to the inhuman prison conditions they
suffered after being tried and convicted for numerous crimes. At one point
Fults said that prison life changed Barrow "from a schoolboy to a rat-
tlesnake" (p. xiii).
Born in Anna, Texas, in 1911, Fults grew up "combative, both verbally and
physically" (p. 9). In time, he committed a number of burglaries-his first
crimes-in Texas and Oklahoma and was sentenced to a reformatory at
Gatesville, Texas. After escaping from this place, Fults got involved in numer-
ous criminal activities, including armed robberies, kidnappings, and shootings;
served time more than once in Texas state prisons; and met Clyde Barrow and
Raymond Hamilton, two crime figures more deadly than Fults. The author's
coverage of this crime spree, although informative and perceptive, can
become wearisome to the reader. At the same time, though, Phillips has put
together a powerful brief on the brutality and corruption in the prison system
in Texas in the early 19oos. The criminal careers of the main characters in the
book ended in different ways. Barrow and Bonnie Parker were gunned down

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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 November 29, 2014.