The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 82, July 1978 - April, 1979 Page: 458
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
on his land and his people, only that he could write about them with
broader perspective, more enlightened perception.
Readers who like American success stories, especially of American
writers, will find in this biography the individuality, ingenuity, strength,
and plain cussedness of the folk hero, with none of what he called aca-
demic puling in his character or his achievements. Lon Tinkle has
made this a personal biography and left criticism both literary and his-
torical to others. There is no attempt to assess Dobie's place in litera-
ture, not even in Texas. Any Dobie reader knows it is large.
Closeness between biographer and subject over many years made pos-
sible a consideration of internal conflicts, some of which bedeviled
Dobie all his life, all of which left marks on the man and his works: the
hard choice of career between ranching and teaching; the youthful op-
timism that overlaid the realism of later years; the conservatism that
under social change and friendly argument gave way to identifiable
liberalism; the economic pressures which forced him to give up his
dream of becoming novelist or poet and settle for what he considered
a lesser being, a chronicler.
Of all his conflicts, the rejection of traditional scholarship cost him
most in his formative years and left him soured on the subject. The
cost can be inferred to a degree in a statement famous but somewhat
aslant the truth: "The average Ph.D. thesis is nothing but a transfer-
ence of bones from one graveyard to another." The irony is that some
student may prove him right with a study of color imagery, in, say, The
Longhorns, or a listing of westernisms in The Mustangs. The hope is
that these students, no matter how they approach or use him, will be
the better for encounters with his original and robust mind.
New York WILLIAM A. OWENS
American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur, z88o-z964. By William Man-
chester. (Boston: Little, Brown Sc Co., 1978. Pp. xviii+793. Au-
thor's note, order of battle, illustrations, notes, index. $15i.)
MacArthur, a legend in his own time, has been legendized again.
William Manchester has produced a saga, heavily reliant on secondary
sources well salted with imagery, but less hagiographical than, say, For-
rest C. Pogue's trilogy on George C. Marshall or Frank E. Vandiver's
biography of John J. Pershing. Of all the many biographies of Mac-
Arthur-John Gunther's, Charles A. Willoughby's, Gavin M. I.ong's,
MacArthur's own Reminiscences, and the most definitive in a scholarly
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 82, July 1978 - April, 1979, periodical, 1978/1979; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101206/m1/520/?rotate=90: accessed December 15, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.