The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 86, July 1982 - April, 1983 Page: 460
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
went from being an itinerant laborer to real-estate hustler and small-
time cardshark to oilman and potentate of extreme right-wing politics.
Useful to Texas historians are Hurt's chapters on Hunt's involvement
in the East Texas oil discovery and the subsequent controversy over
martial law and prorationing. While a portion of those chapters are a
mere rehashing of James A. Clark and Michel T. Halbouty's The Last
Boom, Hurt does clarify Hunt's relationship to Columbus M. ("Dad")
Joiner, discoverer of the oil field, and his contribution to the establish-
ment of order in the field. Out of obvious self-interest, Hunt became a
forceful advocate of prorating.
Hurt also does a good job of detailing H. L. Hunt's political activi-
ties. Like other nouveau-riche American oilmen, the more wealthy
Hunt became the more he worried that the government would take his
money away from him. In addition, the more money Hunt accumu-
lated, the more intelligent he believed himself to be. Like Hugh Roy
Cullen, Hunt felt an obligation to share his "wisdom" with less intelli-
gent Americans. Hunt created a powerful political-propaganda device
called Facts Forum to educate the citizenry about current events as in-
terpreted by H. L. Hunt. Facts Forum later evolved into the pseudo-
religious LIFE LINE.
Hurt's discussion of Hunt's political activism provides information
about his association with Senator Joseph R. McCarthy, John Birch So-
ciety founder Robert Welch, and other celebrities of the extreme right.
He makes the important point that, while Hunt associated with and
admired these men, he never really joined them. He preferred to go it
alone. It was precisely this propensity for stubborn independence that
kept the right-wing during the McCarthy era from becoming even
more powerful than it was.
Other sensational aspects of H. L. Hunt's life, such as his bigamous
marital status, Hurt handles in an unsensational and objective man-
ner. A significant portion of Texas Rich details the almost unbeliev-
able business affairs of H. L.'s sons Bunker and Herbert. Lack of space
prohibits a discussion of their activities, but it involves everything
from wiretapping ecapades to an attempt to corner the world silver
Texas Rich is more journalistic than scholarly in style. There are no
footnotes or bibliography, but there is a notes and references section
that provides some documentation. Hurt makes good use of interviews
and has examined the pertinent sources. The most valuable thing
about this biography is that, unlike other biographies of important
Texas entrepreneurs, such as Bascom N. Timmons's Jesse H. Jones and
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 86, July 1982 - April, 1983, periodical, 1982/1983; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101209/m1/508/: accessed May 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.