The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 87, July 1983 - April, 1984 Page: 240
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
There are twenty-seven selections, most of them previously pub-
lished but no longer readily available. Some of these reminiscences
were not worth resurrecting, but the majority are engaging. In a few
cases, they are downright moving, none more so than Clara Luper's
account of leading a 1958 sit-in of heroic black schoolchildren at an
Oklahoma City drugstore. Roughly half of the selections come from
the frontier period before i 90oo, when acquiring and occupying land
was the dominant personal interest. We read of what it was like to
grow up red, white, and black in the Indian Nation, how the coming of
the railroads altered pioneer settlements, and what confusion, what vio-
lence attended the great land rushes. The second half of the book fo-
cuses on the usually more neglected twentieth century, with an excerpt
from socialist Oscar Ameringer's impassioned autobiography, the oral
history of Sadie Duggett, oil-field cook and self-made woman, and Caro-
line Henderson's vivid letters from the Dust Bowl. Mostly these are
stories of ordinary people without great wealth or other advantages,
but endowed like ordinary people the world over with tenacity and
courage, with virtue liberally seasoned with vice.
This is not so much a book designed for scholars as it is for general
readers and students. It shows how autobiography can be used to make
history more lively and accessible. But it does not try to do what the
best historical anthologies do: suggest by their selections and headnotes
a provocative new approach to the subject, or raise questions about
events that no one has noticed before. If there is a general theme that
emerges, it is the rather obvious and threadbare one of cultural and
racial pluralism as the basis for the state's identity. But, judged by more
modest standards, this is an intelligent, attractive book filled with genu-
ine human appeal.
University of Hawaii at Manoa
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 87, July 1983 - April, 1984, periodical, 1983/1984; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117150/m1/276/: accessed August 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.