The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 104, July 2000 - April, 2001 Page: 133
the book. Robert B. Fairbanks, a professor of history at the University of Texas at
Arlington, is concerned about how city planning in Dallas has been influenced
by politics and the shifting concepts of civic leaders. Fairbanks argues that it is
the politicians' image of the city that affects their response to urban problems,
not the problems affecting the image, as is traditionally supposed by urban histo-
rians. In the early century, as was common elsewhere in the nation, Dallas lead-
ers approached urban design, such as the placement of parks, boulevards, and
water systems, with the thought of enhancing the entire city. What was good for
the whole was good for the parts. The Kennedy assassination in 1963 marked a
turning point whereby planning changed to meet the particular needs of groups
and neighborhoods. Thus, what was good for the parts was good for the whole.
Fairbanks concludes that for the sake of the future the two concepts need to be
merged. "Such an approach to the city would combine the best of the city-as-a-
whole approach with sensitivity to the rights and needs of individuals, neighbor-
hoods, and racial and ethnic groups. ... If such a path is not taken, however, the
future for Dallas, as well as other American cities, is bleak" (p. 250).
Fairbanks's conclusion seems reasonable, and pragmatic, but his premise
about predominant images of the city is arguable. The line is thin. You can
debate, for example, that public housing is good for the city (city as a whole),
and also good for the people who need it (city in particular). Which side is most
important? This, however, does not seem particularly significant. What is impor-
tant about this book is its contribution to Dallas history and its place as a part of
the Urban Life and Urban Landscape Series edited by Zane L. Miller, a promi-
nent urban historian. Cities of the Southwest have been largely ignored by histo-
rians located in the Northeast and West. This study will help correct that situa-
The book also adds to the growing information about Dallas. For the City as a
Whole will stand tall on the library stacks beside the recent books by Patricia E.
Hill, Darwin Payne, A. C. Greene, William H. Wilson, the new edition of the
WPA Dallas Guide and History, Kenneth B. Ragsdale, Michael V. Hazel, Elizabeth
York Enstam, Jackie McElhaney, and the various issues of the journal Legacies.
Fairbanks has written for the professional historian. The book is detailed, thor-
oughly researched, and footnoted. At the end there is a graceful bibliographic
essay in which Fairbanks recognizes even those scholars with whom he disagrees.
This is a commendable, worthwhile study.
Colorado State University David G. McComb
Celebrating 150 Years: The Pictorial History of Fort Worth, Texas, 1849-1999. Edited
by Paula Oates. Introduction by Richard Selcer. Foreword by Ben Proctor.
(Fort Worth: Landmark Publishing, Inc., 1999. Pp xiv+226. Acknowledg-
ments, appendix, bibliography. ISBN 1-928-58202-8. $60.oo, cloth.)
The book is a large, coffee-table picture book which lives up to its title in every
way. It illustrates a number of aspects of the history of Fort Worth, from pictures
of old buildings and landscapes to cultural aspects of present-day Fort Worth.
Here’s what’s next.
Show all pages in this issue.
This issue can be searched. Note: Results may vary based on the legibility of text within the document.
Citing and Sharing
Basic information for referencing this web page. We also provide extended guidance on usage rights, references, copying or embedding.
Reference the current page of this Periodical.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 104, July 2000 - April, 2001, periodical, 2001; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101221/m1/161/ocr/: accessed December 11, 2016), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.