The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 91, July 1987 - April, 1988 Page: 267

Book Reviews

tional maps of the state, a glossary, a chronology of Texas history, and a
selected reading list of Texas books.
Equipped with the 194o Texas guide in his or her "car library," the
198os explorer can leave the swirling freeways to search out the tone
and character of Texas in an older, less hurried time. While the "Gen-
eral Background" chapters introduce the reader to the historical Texas
of Austin and Houston and the mythical Texas of Pecos Bill and Span-
ish legends, the tours transport the reader to towns like Pearsall, whose
residents boasted the only self-service hotel in the United States. Guests
selected their own rooms, put payments in envelopes and dropped
them into a box. Although the guide fails to mention the volume of
business, the management estimated only about five dollars lost an-
nually from guests who forgot to pay. One of the tours passes through
Claude, a town so law-abiding that the Armstrong County jail was used
as the Methodist parsonage. Another tour pierces the gloom of the Big
Thicket in East Texas-the origin of "many tales of lost travelers, of
sudden disappearances, of murder .. ." (p. 410)
For the serious student of Texas as well as for the casual reader, The
WPA Guide to Texas has much to offer. Some of the highway designa-
tions have been altered and some of the towns and activities so lovingly
described no longer exist, but the sense of place that the guide cap-
tured so well remains. The Texas guide, like the other volumes in the
series, is more than a traveler's companion and compass. Now, almost a
half century since they were originally compiled and published, the
state guides have become part of the primary material on the nation's
social history prior to World War II.
The Robert S. & Grayce B. Kerr Foundation ANNE HODGES MORGAN
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
The Mythic West in Twentieth-Century America. By Robert G. Athearn.
Foreword by Elliott West. (Lawrence, Kan.: University Press of
Kansas. Pp. xi+319. Foreword, prologue, map, photographs, epi-
logue, essay on sources, index. $25.00oo.)
The West of the Imagination. By William H. Goetzmann and William N.
Goetzmann. (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1986. Pp. xviii+458.
Introduction, preface, acknowledgments, illustrations, notes, in-
dex. $34.95-)
A cowboy poet might have written: "The West stands out on either
side / as wide as the imagination is wide." From Capt. John Smith's Vir-
ginia to John Wayne's Monument Valley, Americans have imagined the
West as more than place and geography. It was, and remains for many,


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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 91, July 1987 - April, 1988, periodical, 1987/1988; Austin, Texas. ( accessed August 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.