The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989 Page: 499

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Book Reviews

quently took risks but who seldom made mistakes; a man who sought
always to profit financially from each of his innumerable activities, even
his hobbies and vacation spots. Examples included Bluebird Farms,
Matagorda Island (Murchison once owned the entire island), and his
extensive holdings in Mexico. Van Buren explains, "Clint always ex-
pected to make money in every venture; that was his primary motivat-
ing force" (p. 137). His "daring deals" frequently required borrowed
capital. Brother-in-law Ernest Closuit once observed: "I have never met
anyone like him. He had no interest whatsoever in the anatomy of an
oil well or a drilling rig. He was a financier. He was interested in grow-
ing and in using borrowed capital" (p. 103). Murchison went to consid-
erable lengths to avoid government restrictions and taxes (pp. 88-91,
220); he "never operated with a board [of directors], and he did not
want to answer to a board" (p. 106).
Van Buren's few negative assessments include recognition that Mur-
chison was a supporter of Joe McCarthy and friend of J. Edgar Hoover
and that columnist Drew Pearson attacked him in the 1950s as a Texas
"fat cat whose business chicanery lined his pockets" (p. 347).
The combination of Van Buren's bibliography and the volume's lack
of footnotes, however, fails to indicate the vastness of Murchison's pri-
vate correspondence from which the author quoted extensively. As
R. Hal Williams notes in his Preface, the book "covers important
ground" (p. x), but unfortunately the author served neither the inter-
ests of her readers nor of Clint Murchison by her lack of any significant
amount of critical analysis.
Spanzsh Sea: The Gulf of Mexico in North American Discovery, 1500-r685.
By Robert S. Weddle. (College Station, Tex.: Texas A&M Univer-
sity Press, 1985. Pp. xvi+458. Acknowledgments, preface, maps,
illustrations, photographs, notes, glossary, bibliography, index.
$34.50, cloth.)
In Spanish Sea, Robert Weddle has expanded upon the theme of Gulf
exploration and its importance to Spanish dominion in the New World
that he first raised in Wilderness Manhunt: The Spanish Search fobr La Salle
(Austin: University of Texas Press, 1973). The thesis of the present
work is that the Gulf of Mexico is a "distinct entity" that shaped the
course of Spanish discovery and conquest in North America. To accom-
plish his goal, Weddle ties together what is known about Spanish ex-
plorer and conquistador activities in the region into a single narrative,
thereby producing a valuable work of unique proportions.


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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989, periodical, 1989; Austin, Texas. ( accessed October 21, 2016), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.