The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 76, July 1972 - April, 1973 Page: 343

Book Reviews

and failed. It remains problematical whether or not it will work now.
From a viewpoint of historical methodology, the examples of racial in-
timidation given on pages seventy-six to eighty-one need footnotes, and
it would be a comfort to know that the anonymous interview material
had been deposited for future reference in a reliable archive. In spite
of that, Biracial Politics is a superior book, interesting, and worthy of
Colorado State University DAVID MCCOMB
Arthur E. Stilwell: Promoter with a Hunch. By Keith L. Bryant, Jr.
(Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 1971. Pp. xi+296. Illus-
trations, bibliographic essay, index. $1 o.)
Arthur E. Stilwell was an eccentric railroad promoter, townsite de-
veloper, and supersalesman of stocks and bonds for speculative railroad
ventures. He was the founder of Port Arthur, Texas, and the promoter
of a suburban railroad at Kansas City, Missouri; of the Kansas City,
Pittsburg, and Gulf Railroad into Port Arthur; and of the Kansas City
Mexico and Orient Railway through Texas to Mexico.
Stilwell's activities promoted economic development of regions along
his railroads and encouraged urbanization. Through his efforts, at a
period when capitalists were reluctant to invest in railroads, capital
from the East Coast, England, Holland, and Germany flowed into the
South-Central states and the Southwest. Yet his projects went bankrupt
for the same reason that railroad historians have pointed out for other
railroad failures-entrepreneurial error-overextension of capital re-
sources. His railroads into and through Texas failed financially during
the process of building, but ultimately they were completed.
Bryant successfully argues that Stilwell was motivated by a desire to
imitate his successful grandfather, by an inveterate optimism, and by a
real desire to make money for both financiers and the local townspeople
along his railroads. Bryant also considers the psychic experiences of
Stilwell, but he is not critical enough of Stilwell's contentions that
"brownies," "spirits," and, in later life, "hunches," guided him in his
promotional ventures.
The study is a worthwhile contribution to the history of the South-
west and is of importance to railroad, business, and urban historians.
Bryant has pulled together the scattered primary materials that relate to


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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 76, July 1972 - April, 1973, periodical, 1973; Austin, Texas. ( accessed May 26, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.

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