The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 35, July 1931 - April, 1932 Page: 172
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
make small areas-areas infinitely small-yield in abundance.
Yet, by and large, so far as successful agriculture is concerned,
all these agencies put together provide comparatively but a drop
of water in an empty bucket.
The book is well written and well printed. Some thirty-four
maps and drawings and a score of illustrations add greatly to
its appeal and instructiveness. Select bibliographies are ap-
pended to each chapter, limited so as to guide the reader rather
than to overwhelm and discourage him. Likewise in treating
the different topics the author has used rare discrimination. He
has not sought to tell everything; the reader does not lose him-
self in a maze of details. The style is clear and the tone of the
work genuine. The author grew to manhood in the land he
writes about and in his work are the elements of sympathy and
understanding which an outsider could never acquire. These
qualities are in evidence in every phase of the work, but in this
connection two quotations must suffice. Concerning the cowboy,
"the ordinary bow-legged human, who had to make his living
by working on horseback," he writes:
Since the cowboy was the first permanent white occupant of
the Plains, he had to adapt himself more perfectly because he
was without the artificial supports of an established civilization.
He was in more perfect accord with nature. When he made this
perfect adaptation he departed farther and farther from the con-
ventional pattern of men, and as he diverged from the conven-
tional pattern he became more and more unusual: he made bet-
ter copy for news-writer, artist, and cartoonist.
And concerning the mooted question of Western lawlessness
the following paragraph is forceful and suggestive:
Therefore the West was a lawless place. It was turbulent in
the early days because there was no law. It was lawless in the
later period because the laws were unsuited to the needs and
conditions. Men could not abide by them and survive. Not only
were absurd laws imposed upon them, but their customs, which
might well have received the sanction of law, were too seldom
recognized. The blame for a great deal of Western lawlessness
rests more with the lawmaker than with the lawbreaker.
To say that the book is informing and interesting does not ex-
press it. From its pages comes the very breath of the Plains.
RUPERT N. RICHARDSON.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 35, July 1931 - April, 1932, periodical, 1932; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101092/m1/176/: accessed March 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.