The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 91, July 1987 - April, 1988 Page: 567
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northern and western portions of the state and the counties lying to
the east and south. Further, he contends that most historians have been
solely concerned with traditional political narrative and have deliber-
ately engaged in "censorship" (p. xi) of embarrassing episodes in the
state's history. Thus he endeavors to expose the realities of racism and
repression, the degradation of the tenant farmers, and the "true" causes
of the dust bowl and the consequent Okie migrations (p. xi).
In an episodic treatment, Thompson discusses the frontier society
and the settlement of the Indian and Oklahoma territories. The north-
ern and western areas modernized and accepted the capitalistic system
of exploitation, while in the southern and eastern portions of the ter-
ritories the crude frontier lingered to produce a poor and isolated land
of uneducated tenant farmers susceptible to the more radical strains of
socialism. Other chapters focus on the rise of rural socialism in the
early statehood years, and particularly on the efforts of the book's hero,
Oscar Ameringer, to convert the oppressed to the gospel of Industrial
Democracy. Thompson believes that the Socialist party, which was
stronger in Oklahoma than anywhere else in the nation, would have
won control of the state government had not the Democrats, landown-
ers, bankers, and corporate leaders turned to repression, violence, bal-
lot-box stuffing, and economic coercion. A brief fling at neo-populism
in the 192os marked the end of the "radical response."
This is not a work in the tradition of Frederick Jackson Turner, as
Thompson claims; it is personal and often anecdotal history. As Thomp-
son states in the notes to the preface, "The evidence necessary to prove
crucial components of my hypothesis remained elusive" (p. 227). The
narrative is not based on substantial research in primary materials, and
the footnotes and bibliography suggest that major books and articles
have been ignored. Thompson makes assertions that contradict his evi-
dence, and he links people and groups in defiance of facts. The survey
of politics from 1916 to 1923 speaks of the continuing strain of radi-
calism, but never mentions that Warren G. Harding swept the state in
1920, when the Republicans elected their first United States senator,
gained control of the state House of Representatives for the first and
only time, and elected a majority of the congressional delegation.
It is difficult to find justification for this book; it makes no original
contribution to knowledge and is not based on new sources. Scholars
interested in radical politics in Oklahoma should turn to the solid works
by James R. Green, Garin Burbank, and W. Robert Miller.
Texas A&M University KEITH L. BRYANT, JR.
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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/m1/639/: accessed December 16, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.