The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 74, July 1970 - April, 1971 Page: 436
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
ties, flayed reactionaries, and struggled to impart a progressive flavor
to the increasingly conservative Democratic party. Professor Hender-
son's workmanlike biography will provide Maverick's friends and ad-
mirers with a useful review of his controversial career.
The serious scholar will be less satisfied. Henderson has relied solely
on the Maverick Papers, and did not consult the collections of Mav-
erick's congressional colleagues, his Texas contemporaries, and nation-
al Democrats. Notable omissions include the Hatton Sumners, Sam
Rayburn, Thomas B. Love, and Jesse H. Jones papers. The records at
the Franklin Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman libraries were also left
unexplored. This failure weakens the treatment of Maverick's years
in Congress and leaves obscure his tense relationship with Roosevelt
from 1937 to 1938. It is no longer possible to write a twentieth-cen-
tury political biography from one manuscript source, however com-
plete that collection may appear.
A study of Maverick's life might have offered some fresh insights
into the troubled history of political reform in Texas, but the author
generally passes over the hard questions about his subject's activities.
He provides no penetrating analysis of Maverick's complex problems
in building an electoral base among San Antonio's ethnically diverse
population, and his discussion of Maverick's coolness toward black
aspirations before 1950 lacks subtlety and depth. Because the descrip-
tion of the Texas political environment in the 193o's and 1940's is so
unsophisticated, Henderson adds little to existing accounts of the
Democratic factionalism in which Maverick played so large a part.
Most important, the author attempts neither to appraise Maverick's
influence on the liberal wing of the Democratic party, nor to ask
whether his career is symptomatic of the larger problems, ideological
and organizational, of Texas liberals since 1940.
Professor Henderson's prose is serviceable but uninspired. Repeti-
tious material clogs the narrative on occasion. The University of Texas
Press should have excised a gratuitous plug for a local dramatic pro-
duction that the author unwisely included. As an introduction to the
tempestuous Maverick, this book should find a large audience; it can-
not, however, be regarded as the definitive word on its fascinating
University of Texas, Austin
LEWIS L. GOULD
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 74, July 1970 - April, 1971, periodical, 1971; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101200/m1/448/: accessed August 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.