The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 89, July 1985 - April, 1986 Page: 372
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Guenther has supplemented the narrative with rare and valuable
documents. One is the farewell sermon preached by Goeth's father,
Pastor Adolf Fuchs, when the family left Germany, a composition that
depicts the idealism of the many Germans who sought religious free-
dom and economic opportunity in Texas..
In Texas Tears and Texas Sunshine, Jo Ella Powell Exley brings together
excerpts from the diaries, letters, and memoirs of sixteen frontier
women. Some of these stories are already familiar. Many have been
published before. By presenting them together, however, Exley en-
courages her readers to compare these women's lives and self-accounts,
which is the book's greatest contribution. Her chronological organiza-
tion of the texts into four periods between 1821 and 1905 helps the
reader to put the accounts into meaningful relation.
Readers should be aware that earlier editors may well have deleted
controversial or "unwomanly" remarks. Exley's own commentary runs
to the sentimental rather than the analytical. Still, these women's stories
not only give inside accounts of many of the major events of Texas his-
tory, but also often provide telling details that challenge accepted views
of a rough, masculine life. Furthermore, except when describing the
decimation of their families and communities by yellow fever, these
women are not obsessed by death and loneliness, as so many represen-
tations of frontier women in film and fiction would have us believe.
Most important, this book shows that cultural background, economic
situation, and prior expectations influenced people's experiences as
much as, if not more than, shared environmental conditions, so that
life on the frontier was as variable as the women who lived it-the self-
styled "Belle of Brazoria," a black slave, a German orphan, and the wife
of a Texas Ranger, among many fascinating others. Photographs bring
the narrators to life. Exley's division of references by author makes it
easy for students or interested readers to use her sources for further
University of Texas at Austin
PATRICIA E. SAWIN
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 89, July 1985 - April, 1986, periodical, 1985/1986; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117151/m1/428/: accessed October 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.