The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 91, July 1987 - April, 1988 Page: 257
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veterans can retire their cherished cassette recordings of this after-
Probably the most scholarly among these essays is "Hood's Texas Bri-
gade: Lee's Dependable Expendables," a synopsis of his massive four-
volume work published between 1968 and 1977. Simpson is the ac-
knowledged authority on this famous fighting unit, just as James I.
Robertson is on the Stonewall Brigade. In fact, over the years there has
grown up a friendly rivalry between partisans of the two units over
which was the more brilliant. This essay presents nothing new about
the Texas Brigade, but will appeal to those who still are not ready to
tackle four large volumes.
Another favorite subject of Colonel Simpson's is World War II hero
Audie Murphy. Murphy's career, from his simple rural background to
his moment of reckoning in France to his numerous problems after the
war, bears remarkable resemblance to the career of another American
war hero, Alvin C. York. This brief essay may persuade the interested
reader to pick up Simpson's full biography of Murphy and also David D.
Lee's biography of York. The two men were cut from the same simple
Texas is the common thread running through most of these essays:
Audie Murphy was a good ol' farm boy from Hunt County, Texas; John
Bell Hood was an "adopted" Texan who led the Texas Brigade to fame
in the Civil War; Jefferson Davis's famous camel experiment was car-
ried out in the living laboratory of West Texas; the Second U.S. Cavalry
and Robert E. Lee's time in Texas are the subject matter of two essays.
This only leaves one oddball, "Booze in Battle and Bivouac," which
Simpson wrote before his "Texas phase" and has been delivering stead-
ily to appreciative audiences ever since. Try though this reviewer did,
he could not find a Texas connection in that essay.
If there is any criticism of the book it is that the essays sound better
when delivered by a public speaker of Colonel Simpson's polish rather
than read on the printed page. The total absence of footnotes becomes
irritating at times, as when Simpson refers to an unnamed historian
who calls Earl Van Dorn the "most dashing cavalry officer in Texas be-
fore the Civil War" (p. 109). The book has a perfunctory index, unusual
in a book of essays, but sadly lacks a bibliography, in addition to foot-
notes. This omission is not too disappointing because the appeal of
these essays is in the subject matter-the story-not in the original
At 117 pages these six essays can all be read in a leisurely evening, but
they deserve to be reread, savored as it were. One time through is not
Here’s what’s next.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 91, July 1987 - April, 1988, periodical, 1987/1988; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101211/m1/297/: accessed April 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.