The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989 Page: 108

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Southwestern Hzstorical Quarterly

know him and like him personally but I'll be damned if I can understand what
besets a man when he insists that everyone share his own prejudices in produc-
ing a book. I'll stick by my guns. I still think you have done the best job of this
kind that I have seen in twenty years, man and boy.
I had letters from several people who were troubled by that review.
Among them was one by my friend J. J. Lipsey, the Colorado Springs
rare-book dealer. He wrote on November 16, 1957:
I can't recall whether or not I told you: Some months after the publication of
your COWBOYS AND CATTLE KINGS, Frank Dobie was spending an afternoon here
at our house ... both of us were mellowed, he with Scotch, I with Bourbon.
... I said: "Frank, the only unkind and unjust thing I ever knew you to do
was to write that terrible review of Sonnichsen's COWBOYS AND CATTLE KINGS for
the Satrevlit." And so on. I expected him to blow up, for his flashpoint is low.
To my surprise and delight, he said only: "Well, perhaps I was wrong." And we
have been good friends ever since. Sometimes I think these big shots like to
have someone stand up to them.
Dobie to the contrary notwithstanding, I don't think I whitewashed
my cattlemen. My feelings were expressed by Farrington Carpenter of
Colorado, a leading rangeland spokesman, when I asked him how
many cowmen he thought were crooked. "I think they are about 2 per-
cent sons of bitches," he said, "just like everybody else."
An Encounter in Cambridge
Somewhere on my library shelves, at the moment undiscovered, is a
fragile volume bound in light green cloth entitled Politics, by Aristotle.
That book was acquired in 1944 in Cambridge, England, in a bookstore
that bore the signs of generations of scholars and browsers, hard on the
perimeter of Cambridge University.
At the ripe old age of nineteen, in the uniform of a First Lieutenant,
U.S. Air Force, I found Cambridge a heady scene, albeit at the time I
was only vaguely aware of the remarkable history of the place or of its
heritage of giants of the intellect who had occupied its ancient and hal-
lowed halls.
It must have been in September or October of 1944. The airbase at
which I was stationed was on the outskirts of Norwich in East Anglia,

*William B. Hilgers is an attorney in Austin.


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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989, periodical, 1989; Austin, Texas. ( accessed October 25, 2016), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.