The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 91, July 1987 - April, 1988 Page: 113

Book Reviews

Many interviews were collected by the authors. Others were taken from
the collections of the Permian Basin Petroleum Museum and the
Panhandle-Plains Museum, and from the Pioneers of Texas Oil Collec-
tion at the University of Texas at Austin. Using these resources, the Oliens
follow boom after boom across Texas during the first half of the twen-
tieth century, as oil men rushed to such towns as Saratoga, Goose Creek,
and Batson in East Texas; Kermit, Wink, Big Lake, and Pyote in the
Permian Basin; and Borger, Pampa, and Amarillo in the Panhandle.
By taking care to use only minor editing for clarification, the authors
preserved the unique grammar, figures of speech, and salty phrases of
the interviewees. As a result, Life in the Oil Fields is filled with firsthand
accounts of the mad rush to the latest strike, descriptions of individual
boomtowns, living conditions, education, entertainment-both legal and
illegal-and the life-styles of those who followed the derricks. Of as much
interest as the oral recollections are the photographs. Pictures of such
characters as "Oil Field" Willie and "Lone Wolf" Gonzaullas, as well
as scenes capturing a baptizing at Seven Wells or two dancers in a Borger
dime-a-dance joint, offer a visual tour of the everyday life of oil-field
workers and their families.
By preserving a rapidly vanishing episode in the history of the West,
Life in the Oil Fields is an outstanding contribution to the culture of the
American energy industry.
Oklahoma Heritage Association KENNY A. FRANKS
The Shaping of America: A Geographical Perspective of 500 Years of Hzstory,
Volume 1, Atlantic America, 1492 -1800. By D. W. Meinig. (New
Haven: Yale University Press, 1986. Pp. xxii + 500. Preface, ac-
knowledgments, illustrations, maps, tables, notes, bibliography,
index. $35.)
This book, substantial in size and quality, is the first of three volumes
of a new interpretation of United States history from its roots in fifteenth-
and sixteenth-century Europe and Africa to the present. It is an inter-
pretation that de-emphasizes the familiar (but often overwhelming) detail
of politics and religion in favor of viewing "the United States as a gigan-
tic geographical growth with a continually changing geographical character,
structure and system" (p. xv). This volume, which takes us from the late
Renaissance to 1800 and the establishment of the United States as a per-
manent and relentlessly expansionistic force in North America, is an im-
pressive work of synthesis. Donald W. Meinig has read all the essential


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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 91, July 1987 - April, 1988, periodical, 1987/1988; Austin, Texas. ( accessed February 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.