The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003 Page: 648
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
This is an excellent book, providing the reader with the first comprehensive
study of the subject since Carl Coke Rister's Oil: Titan of the Southwest (Norman:
University of Oklahoma Press, 1949). The roles of the important and colorful
characters such as Patillo Higgins, "Dad" Joiner, and H. L. Hunt are related, as
well as the development of major companies such as the Texas Company (Texa-
co) and Gulf Oil. It is easy to follow the development of the major fields and
their role in the growth of the industry. The authors have made a valuable con-
tribution by including coverage of not only the economic influence of the oil
booms but their social impact on the various sections of the Lone Star State.
They also describe how the industry developed differently in Texas. In most
parts of the country, outside developers quickly took control of new fields and
dominated the process. This was not the case in Texas. Both state and local
politicians were wary of outsiders and companies such as Standard Oil found it
difficult to compete. This in part was due to general skepticism towards outsiders
and in part to the political influence of local oilmen. The authors do an out-
standing job of demonstrating the continuing battle between the various groups,
including details of the careers of James S. Hogg and Ross Sterling.
Another central theme of the book is development of the Texas Railroad Com-
mission as a regulator for the petroleum industry. The state was aggressive in reg-
ulating the railroad business in the last part of the nineteenth century, but was
slow in establishing a viable organization to watch over the oil industry. The au-
thors illustrate how the oilmen thwarted the state's efforts until the crisis of the
1930s created by the East Texas Field forced the state to begin serious regulation.
The authors have included small but informative maps of each of the major
fields, and have provided an excellent glossary of oil field terminology (pp.
277-283) that is most useful to the general reader. Anyone interested in the
twentieth-century Texas oil business should read this book and watch for the
publication of the next volume on the years after World War II.
Austin Carl N. Tyson
Acts of Faith: The Catholzc Church in Texas, 1900oo-950. By James Talmadge Moore.
(College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2002. Pp. viii+263. Illustra-
tions, preface, appendix, notes, index. ISBN 1-58544-139-2. $29.95, cloth.)
In his new book, James Talmadge Moore presents an engaging chronicle of
the Catholic Church's activities in the Lone Star State during the first half of the
twentieth century. Taking up chronologically where his earlier book, Through
Fire and Flood: The Catholic Church in Frontzer Texas, 1836-g9oo (Texas A&M Uni-
versity Press, 1992), left off, the author details the growth of the Catholic
Church in Texas during the first half of the twentieth century.
Organized into fifteen chapters, the book can be divided into three parts. The
first five chapters establish the social and cultural climates in which the Catholic
Church functioned during the first three decades of the century. The following
six chapters describe the establishment of new dioceses in El Paso and the Pan-
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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/m1/726/: accessed May 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.