George W. Littlefield, Texan. By J. Evetts Haley. Norman
(The University of Oklahoma Press), 1943. Pp. xiv+285.
In portraying the life and times of George W. Littlefield
the author, J. Evetts Haley, has again proven his competence
as a biographer. As in his earlier writings, The XIT Ranch
of Texas and Charles Goodnight, Cowman and Plainsman, Mr.
Haley here presents an honest, realistic account of his subject.
According to his own assertion he aspires to the standards of
history rather than romance, and his fidelity to documented
evidence is apparent throughout the book.
As a subject for biography George W. Littlefield is less
colorful and dramatic than his contemporary, Charles Goodnight,
but he displays the same dynamic qualities of courage, vision,
native sagacity and strength of purpose. He was, in the words
of the author, "a man of tremendous drive and vitality who
was able to shed the irrelevancies of life and concentrate all
his faculties on the job at hand." The author has drawn his
material from original sources-personal letters, ranch record
books, newspapers, a fragmentary autobiography, and, above
all, the "verdant memories of stable and unhurried Texans"
who knew the robust cowman-banker in the various phases
of his busy career. From this bewildering array of testimony,
Mr. Haley has reconstructed with a wealth of anecdote and
description not only the career of George W. Littlefield but
also the realities of life on the trail and the range in an
era when men were "free to battle and survive, plan and per-
form, aspire and achieve."
There is a human, convincing quality to this story which may
be attributed to the author's own intimate knowledge of the
cattle business, his familiarity with the climate and physical
features of the region involved, his feeling for the land, and
his ability as a raconteur. Mr. Haley is at his literary best in
descriptions of life on the range and the varied activities of
the "cowboy outfits." His prose is vigorous, graphic, often
[ 432 }
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 47, July 1943 - April, 1944. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146054/. Accessed December 5, 2013.