The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 100, July 1996 - April, 1997 Page: 124
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124 Southwestern Historical Quarterly July
Lim6n's field experience descriptions ring true and show great writing talent. The
devil must have caused the editors to miss too many misspellings and accents, and
to use an annoying "San Antonio" throughout. It is a small price to pay to see
Lim6n dance with the devil to the tune of his "major signifier" (p. 165), the polka.
Texas A&M International University JosE ROBERTO JUAREZ
Force Without Fanfare. By K. M. Van Zandt. Edited and annotated by Sandra L.
Myres. (Fort Worth: Texas Christian University Press, 1995. Pp. 200. Ac-
knowledgments, introduction, genealogy, index. ISBN o-87565-154-2.
Since many primary sources and early works of Texas history are now out of
print, it is welcome news that Texas Christian University Press has reprinted the
memoir of "soldier, legislator, merchant, banker, and community builder" Khle-
ber M. Van Zandt. Edited and annotated by Sandra L. Myres, this version reflects
painstaking research to compile from letters, photographs, and other family
records the most complete record possible of an early Texas pioneer. Her efforts
provide important context and dimension to the story and also enable other re-
searchers to trace links between historical figures that can further expand their
knowledge of Texas history.
The son of Isaac Van Zandt, for whom Van Zandt County, Texas, is named,
Khleber was a transitional figure in history who witnessed the emergence of
modern Texas from events following the Texas Revolution. Arriving with his
family from Tennessee in 1839, he accompanied his father to Washington, D.C.,
to negotiate Texas annexation and took part in several battles of the Civil War,
which he saw chiefly as an economic conflict. He emerged as a leader in Texas
history, however, after moving to Fort Worth in 1874 to begin a new life as a
Like other writers of important autobiographies, Van Zandt was "the changer,
the doer, the creator, the observer and recorder of great alterations" (Richard
Gordon Lillard, American Life in Autobiography , 5). He helped establish
Fort Worth's first post office, co-founded its first newspaper, and created the Fort
Worth National Bank, where he served as president for over forty years. One of
those who recalled sightings of a panther in the "Panther City," he also helped
bring in the community's first railroad, ran a cattle business, supported both
white and African American churches, and served on the local school board.
The value of autobiography lies in its ability to give scale and substance to
events dimly seen in history. Van Zandt's memoir will particularly interest Fort
Worth and Texas historians, but also those interested in the history of slavery,
Texas politics, and southwestern city building and economic development.
Most of all, however, his work captures the enthusiasm of an individual who en-
joyed the freedom to create new institutions. As he explained, although he be-
came a wealthy man, he "was interested in other values before money. Fort
Worth was growing and there was much to be done" (p. 123). His account
makes clear the enormous progress that took place in a single North Texas
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 100, July 1996 - April, 1997, periodical, 1997; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101218/m1/152/: accessed February 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.