The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003 Page: 142
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
altered or erased" (p. vii). Especially memorable are his views of rustic farmhous-
es and fences, longhorn cattle and Angora goats, and the scenic vistas of the Big
Though he considered himself an amateur photographer, John R. Blocker's
work is equal to the best in landscape photography, functioning as it does on
both an aesthetic as well as historical level. The photographs of ruined pioneer
homesteads are a case in point. Blocher's camera captures the decayed struc-
tures of stone and wooden houses, as well as a jacal, which was made of limbs
and posts and was one of the earliest dwellings in West Texas. Railroads and the
various towns and structures that accompanied them are also represented in the
collection of Blocker photos. The book culminates with a series of photographs
of Spanish missions and panoramic views of the capitol in Austin, taken from the
unique perspective of the clocktower at the University of Texas when it was
As an historical record the photos document the changing landscape of Texas
during the 1930s and 1940s. Blocker's landscape photography is complemented
by text which provides both an historical context as well as a poetic one. Anita
Higman and Sylvia B. Thompson are to be commended for their insightful and
The only weakness of the book is that there are no dates and precise locations
provided for the majority of the photographs. This is duly noted by the editors in a
note following the face page that acknowledges that attempts were made for
detailed labeling of the photos, but accurate cataloging of them had deteriorated
over the years. Fortunately, the photos speak for themselves, and the text provided
gives a rough historical narrative to them. The volume is a welcome introduction
to the landscape of early Texas as it was seen by photographer John R. Blocker.
University of Kansas RONALD W. WILSON
The Cowboy Way: An Exploration of History and Culture. Edited by Paul H. Carlson.
(Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press, 2000. Pp. xii+236. Preface,
acknowledgments, bibliography, about the authors, index. ISBN 0-89672-
425-5- $29.95, cloth.)
Black Cowboys of Texas. Edited by Sara R. Massey. Introduction by Alwyn Barr.
(College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2000. Pp. xix+361.
Illustrations, preface, introduction, conclusion, contributors, bibliography,
index. ISBN 0-89096-934-5. $29.95, cloth.)
The publication of these two fine volumes significantly enhances our under-
standing of the cowboy. Paul Carlson of Texas Tech University edited The Cowboy
Way: An Exploration of History and Culture, a collection of sixteen essays on the
myth and reality of cowboys in American life. Black Cowboys of Texas, edited by
Sara R. Massey of the Institute of Texan Cultures, contains twenty-four separate
essays on individual black cowboys from the era of slavery to the recent past.
These two volumes help us to better distinguish the historical reality of the cow-
hand from the myths that now surround the cowboy.
Paul Carlson's introductory essay in The Cowboy Way expertly summarizes the
book's contents and the recent scholarship on cowhands. Carlson says it is now
Here’s what’s next.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003, periodical, 2003; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/m1/170/?rotate=90: accessed March 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.