The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956 Page: 541

Book Reviews

namely, that he tried and failed and tried again and again and
succeeded. It is a theme to which youth responds.
The book is a contribution to the field of literature about
Texans, for young Texans.
The Town that Died Laughing. The Story of Austin, Nevada,
By Oscar Lewis. Boston (Little, Brown & Company), 1955.
Pp. 235. $3.75.
At almost the very center of Nevada, rich silver ledges were
discovered during the year 1862. Followed the great rush of Jan-
uary, 1863. An early arrival at the new mining camp was one
David E. Buel, who is credited with naming the new place in
memory of Austin, Texas. Another early arrival was a newspaper-
man who founded, in May, 1863, the Reese River Reveille, which
still exists. Mr. Lewis has zealously conned through a file of this
journal, and in terms of selections and excerpts from it has pre-
sented a running narrative of the town's past. The method re-
quires that much shall be omitted from the historic record. That
which remains is entertaining, and is entertainingly presented.
The excerpts so generously provided will be read with varying
degrees of interest by students of western history, western humor,
and western folklore. Though Austin, Nevada, was never a large
place, and was prosperous for but a short span of time, it pro-
duced (or rather harbored) several persons who made names for
themselves in the world and whose "outside" unusual careers give
Mr. Lewis opportunities for some neat prose passages. "Grocer
Gridley and His Sack of Flour" illuminates an episode of Civil
War days that had its beginning at Austin; "The Odyssey of
Charles Breyfogle" recounts one of the best known of the mining
mysteries of the Old Pacific Coast; and "The Sagebrush Tinnet"
tells the story of an Austin girl, a singer, whose career led her
from San Francisco to fame, Paris, and Vienna.
The book emphatically makes good reading but is not to be
taken as a town history, in the current, accepted sense of a well-
planned community history. To produce such a work a method
different from that used by Mr. Lewis must be employed. He has


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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956, periodical, 1956; Austin, Texas. ( accessed July 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.