The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 65, July 1961 - April, 1962 Page: 456
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
the isolation of the people connected with the industry. This is
a result of the rural nature of lumbering. Isolation from educa-
tional opportunities, lack of knowledge or understanding of the
variety of economic opportunities, an immobility born of poverty,
an incognizance of what exists outside the piney woods, and a
fear of change, have evolved a "chain of cultural characteristics
.. so strongly forged that it withstands the assault of economic
The chapters on the development of the industry, wages, and
cost of living, while highly informative, are little more than
groups of tables tied together by explanation. But in discussing
the company town, attempts at organization, labor disputes, and
implications of this "island of poverty in a sea of plenty" Ruth
Allen exhibits organizational and literary abilities of a high cal-
iber. Her discussion of the company town is an important addi-
tion to the extensive literature on this institution. Payment by
script redeemable only at the company store, months without a
payday, whole mills being closed down to get rid of a few union
men, yellow dog contracts, and child labor make the plight of
these people much more understandable than the tables of sta-
The book has a much broader implication than the title might
indicate. Many of the conclusions would apply equally well to
lumber workers throughout the South, and the chapter on cost
of living will be of value for more general studies of Texas. The
isolation of these people suggests a valuable source for the folk-
lorist, and there are numerous examples for the student of race
The form of citation used sometimes falls into inconsistency,
and several citations are not specific, yet this reviewer found only
one minor error-a confusion of the title of an article and that
of the book in which it appears (p. 213). The bibliography,
though satisfactory, leaves something to be desired in organiza-
tion. The photographs included as illustrations are extremely
interesting and add much to the book.
Ruth A. Allen, professor emerita of economics at the Univer-
sity of Texas, has long been interested in the economic condition
of labor in the Southwest. This work joins her Great Southwest
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 65, July 1961 - April, 1962, periodical, 1962; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101195/m1/514/: accessed May 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.