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

Book Reviews

called, to this world or many? In a compelling argument, Gjerde finds many
minds in many locales, doing what common sense would suggest: using their dis-
tance from urbanization to insulate them from the transformative impact of
polyglot culture. In a broad sweep of practices, mores, patterns of living, politics,
and other indicators of cultural allegiance, Gjerde shows the tension between
the ties people felt to their ethnic pasts and the cultural options the United
States provided them. It is a powerful story of mitigating the distance between
tradition and assimilation, of keeping culture and ethnicity vibrant in a social
environment often changing for the better, but away from the ways of the past.
The Minds of the West is the tip of an intellectual iceberg that merits much
greater exploration. Along with volumes such as D. Aidan McQuillan, Prevailing
Over Time: Ethnic Adjustment on the Kansas Prairies, z875-1925 (Lincoln:
University of Nebraska Press, 1990), Gjerde's book belongs on the shelf of any-
one who seriously wants to understand how some immigrants became cultural
Americans and why others did not. Its lens gives a more complicated, more
interesting West and nation.
University of Nevada, Las Vegas HAL ROTHMAN
The Making of Legends: More True Stories of Frontier America. By Mark Dugan.
(Athens: Swallow Press/Ohio University Press, 1997. Pp. xvii+272.
Illustrations, acknowledgments, introduction, notes, index. ISBN
0-8040-0996-1. $19.95, paper.)
In The Making of Legends Mark Dugan surveys a cast of characters from
Pennsylvania to California, North Carolina to Oregon, and Texas to Idaho who
ran afoul of the law. Their crimes spanned the gamut from murder to counter-
feiting, vigilantism to train robbery, and other illegal acts. Although most of
the individuals that he describes are relatively unknown, except for Wyatt
Earp, Dugan believes their stories deserve the same attention as that given to
such luminaries as Billy the Kid, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, or Jesse
James. Subtitled More True Stories of Frontier America, the book has essentially no
theme but is a series of disparate essays that attempts to explain why these indi-
viduals committed desperate deeds.
In Texas, for example, a father and son named Ham White are the focus for
a tale of revenge. Dugan, who published an earlier biography of the son,
relates how the father was ambushed and murdered, which leads the younger
White to a life motivated by a revenge killing, stagecoach robbery, and finally
incarceration in San Quentin. Unfortunately, Dugan is so enamored of the
senior Ham White that he never considers that he may have been slain
because he was unscrupulous. To arrive at this conclusion the author accepts
the older view of the Freedmen's Bureau, citing a source published forty-five
years ago, and thus denigrates a bureau agent's description of the elder White
as "biased." There is more to this cold-blooded killing than Dugan surmises.
What are we to make of this book and its contributions? Dugan, a freelance
writer, not a professional historian, provides much information about such

1998

553

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 20, 2014.