The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 77, July 1973 - April, 1974 Page: 149

Book Reviews

his successor, John C. Calhoun, exaggerated the threat and exploited the
fear of British intervention in Texas to justify the urgency of their project.
To northerners they stressed the economic importance of Texas, and argued
that Texas would provide a safety valve through which unwanted blacks
would disappear into Latin America. Southerners were assured that annex-
ation would serve to strengthen slavery and the South's influence in na-
tional affairs. Still, anti-annexationists were strong enough to defeat a treaty
in the Senate, Thomas Hart Benton's being the only negative vote from a
slave-state democrat. In the wake of the 1844 election, with Benton's defec-
tion (he bowed to pressure from his Missouri constituents) signalling their
collapse, the anti-annexationists were overcome by the apparent national
will to expand. Sordid anecdotes of executive chicanery spice the narrative,
and the approximately one hundred pages of appended documents are in-
teresting and perhaps useful.
While the events themselves will be familiar to the informed reader,
Merk's emphasis on their darker side provides a welcome and provocative
alternative to Justin Smith. One guesses, however, that Slavery and the
Annexation of Texas will not stand as one of this distinguished writer's
major historical contributions.
New Mexico State University GENE M. BRACK
Shadow on the Alamo: New Heroes Fight Old Corruption in Texas Poli-
tics. By Harvey Katz. (Garden City: Doubleday & Company, Inc.,
1972. Pp. xix+ 298. Index. $6.95.)
On April 6, 1971, a young "investigative journalist" named Harvey Katz
arrived in Austin to view the Sixty-Second Legislature. To facilitate his
entree into the political circus, he officially became the legislative aide of
first-year man Representative Lane Denton of Waco. But he intended spe-
cifically to work with that unholy alliance known as the "Dirty Thirty"-
a mish-mash of Democrats and Republicans, some to the right of Louis XIV
and some to the left of Norman Thomas. For two months he supported
several of these individuals against the incredible legislative arrogance and
stupidity of Speaker Gus Mutscher and his followers. Then after June 4,
when the First Special Session of the Sixty-Second Legislature ended, he
began writing of his experiences, dramatically entitling his opus Shadow on
the Alamo.
Katz has provided Texans with insights about themselves and their gov-
ernment from an outsider's point of view, although his observations, some-
times quite perceptive, are frequently faulty and naive, and often based on


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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 77, July 1973 - April, 1974, periodical, 1973/1974; Austin, Texas. ( accessed November 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.