The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 67, July 1963 - April, 1964 Page: 612
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
feels, probably with justification, that "Old Rip" himself would
have approved the present effort. For the first time there is avail-
able the body of Ford's writings in logical, coherent, chronolog-
ical fashion, as Ford himself wrote when he wrote his best. So
carefully is the Ford approach preserved that those who see the
material for the first time in Rip Ford's Texas may hesitate to
believe that it ever had any other form. Yet those who take pains
to compare the book and the manuscript (and they may be slightly
startled at certain editorial liberties-but by no means license),
although they may believe that the editing could be done in
another fashion, would be hard pressed to demonstrate that it
might be better done.
Ford's memoirs present multiple versions of certain events and
situations. Thus, editorial choices were necessary. They were well
made. In only one instance might one wish that an alternate
version had been included, that in which the Wallace-Slaughter-
Ford conference is described at the beginning of Volume VII of
Ford's manuscript. Perhaps the length of the portion dictated
against its inclusion in favor of the two initial paragraphs of
Oates' Chapter XXXI, but the attempt of author-politician-gen-
eral Lew Wallace to negotiate a separate peace between Texas
and the Union seems so little known generally that the more
detailed version might have been worthwhile. The research his-
torian will, then, find it prudent to examine the manuscript
source. On the other hand, any editor who could draw from what
almost appears to be organized chaos in the manuscript the lucid
exposition that is displayed in that portion of the book entitled
"Distant Horizons" is deserving of the commendation of the
entire Texas historical brotherhood.
Oates' personal style of writing-and it paces along in as cheer-
fully casual a manner as did its subject-is ably demonstrated in
his introductory biography of "Old Rip." While the conserva-
tively trained historian may blink at the statement that "Ford
dated Addie Smith steadily throughout the summer and fall of
i86o," or that he "spent countless hours in local coffee houses
talking 'shop' with other history buffs," there will be no com-
plaint on this score from the casual reader, and this is all to the
good: there is widespread feeling in the trade that what the casual
reader should read is history.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 67, July 1963 - April, 1964, periodical, 1964; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101197/m1/690/: accessed December 12, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.