The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 64, July 1960 - April, 1961 Page: 416
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
the things it says happened did happen." Yet, Graves explains, he
has not scrupled to dramatize historical matter and to shape its
emphases. With this caution, the reader is prepared for Goodbye
to a River, which is a book of history, legend, folklore, of adven-
ture, character and nature description, and personal philosophy.
The book is concerned with some one hundred fifty or two
hundred miles of the Brazos, Texas's longest river, which rises
on the Llano Estacado and wanders over the salty red-bed terrain
of West Texas and flows, sometimes only an intermittent creek,
sometimes an angry red flood or a sluggish thick black-bean soup,
down to the Gulf. Rarely, except immediately below a dam or
at the mouth of a limestone creek, is its water somewhat clear,
for the river has leached pigment from the soil and runs red-
muddy through most of its course to the sea. And, just as the
Brazos slices across the map of the state, so it slices too across
the history of Texas.
The framework of Goodbye to a River is an account of a three-
weeks' canoe trip on the upper-middle Brazos, from just below
Possum Kingdom Dam to the vicinity of Lake Whitney, that
portion of the river which meanders down between the rough
low mountains of the Palo Pinto country, into sandy peanut and
post-oak land, and on through the cedar-dark limestone hills
above the lake. Onto this framework are attached the tales of
those who have worked and played, lived and died along the
banks of the river.
October, says the author, is the best month on the Brazos, if
one can choose, but with luck November can be all right too. It
was in November of 1957 that Graves made his trip, after he had
heard that five new dams were to be constructed on the river.
He knew that for those to whom the Brazos had personal mean-
ing there would be changes, and to the "river-minded ones" not
even the inevitability of change nor the need for it nor any
wry philosophy could prevent a feeling of enraged awe, to realize
that "a river you've known always, and that all men of that place
have known always back into the red dawn of men, will shortly
What Graves wanted to do was float down his piece of the river
again, the stretch of the Brazos which had had meaning for him
Here’s what’s next.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 64, July 1960 - April, 1961, periodical, 1961; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101190/m1/453/: accessed August 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.