The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003 Page: 138
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138 Southwestern Historical Quarterly July
but his umbilical thread connecting them is a false construction. Only Dobie,
Brewer, and Boatright can be considered folklorists in the remotest sense, while
the others are simply performers and politicos with a folkish spin on their schtick.
This book is certainly not a scholarly contribution to the literature nor a refer-
ence work of any significance. Gramon claims a folkloric history, yet makes no
reference to nor offers any proof that he has read the substantial and remark-
able publications of the Texas Folklore Society. The veracity of his book hangs
entirely upon Gramon's supposed boyhood memories at the storytelling feet of
John Henry Faulk and Ben Green. It is a warm and loving attempt by an amateur
to walk amid the gods by association, but his history is suspect (supposed "recol-
lections" of tales told byJ. Mason Brewer to J. Frank Dobie to John Henry Faulk
to a young Jim Gramon and then remembered some forty years later in a form
amazingly similar toJ. Mason Brewer's published works).
Gramon's organization is at times difficult to interpret (neither logical nor
chronological) as he locates Liz Carpenter and Allen Damron before J. Frank
Dobie and J. Mason Brewer, then inserts a chapter on "Critter Tales" before a
chapter on Mody Boatright.
In addition, Gramon has included an elemental "webliography" of Texas sto-
rytelling (perhaps the first of its kind), and he strikes a wonderfully subtle blow
for the legitimacy of traditional storytelling versus the pat and patter of the cos-
tumed stand-up comedians claiming to be traditional Texas storytellers.
This book is obviously a labor of love and not scholarship. Though confusing
folk with folklorist, Gramon still manages to do service and homage to those
Texans he deems great storytellers and by book's end he has given the reader a
warm and fuzzy (though confused) feeling all over.
Indiana University J. RHETT RUSHING
Hzstorzcal Williamson County: An Illustrated History. By John J. Leffler. (San
Antonio: Historical Publishing Network, 2oo0. Pp. 126. Preface, acknowl-
edgments, sources, sharing the heritage, index, sponsors. ISBN 1-893619-
09-5. $34.95, cloth.)
Historical Williamson County is a short but well-illustrated historical sketch of the
Texas county that borders Travis County (Austin) to the north. The written nar-
rative lacks historical detail, but benefits from a wealth of original photographs.
The focus of the book is Williamson County's people and economy between its
frontier days and the start of its extraordinary late-twentieth-century boom.
The book's substantive historical context is limited to the first seventy pages of
text and photographs. The rest of the book recognizes businesses and institu-
tions that supported the publishing efforts of the Williamson County Historical
Commission. Since only part of the book will interest most readers, $34.95 is a
steep price for a modest dose of history.
The author acknowledges that his work does not displace Clara Scarborough's
comprehensive Land of Good Water: A Williamson County History (1973), which was
heavy on text and light on illustration. Mr. Leffler's book provides less informa-
tion about this pivotal Texas county, but will entertain a casual reader or a
browser in the lobby of a business office.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003, periodical, 2003; Austin, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/m1/166/: accessed March 25, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.