The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 90, July 1986 - April, 1987 Page: 204
Southwestern Historical Quarterly
raises more questions than answers (pp. 112-114), and his occasional
references to the "terrible danger" (p. 146) represented by the Klan are
contradicted by the evidence and his own statements. Although the
Klan symbolized the dark side of the human condition, Lay's examples
of Klan influence fail to convey much sense of threat to the reader. For
example, the fact that the Klan's tattling on a fifteen-year-old El Paso
female for visiting Juirez resulted in her being spanked by her parents
somehow fails to startle. War, Revolution and the Ku Klux Klan makes its
contributions to local history, especially in its details, but it disappoints
in other important respects.
University of Texas, Austin DON E. CARLETON
The Uncensored John Henry Faulk. By John Henry Faulk. Foreword by
Louis Nizer. (Austin: Texas Monthly Press, 1985. Pp. 164. Fore-
word, acknowledgments. $16.95)
This slender volume is comprised of a mixture of the Faulk reper-
toire, with stories ranging from East Texas dialect humor to satire to
straight essays bereft of humor. About two-thirds of them are political
essays. Unfortunately, John Henry Faulk's humor shows up best when
Faulk himself is speaking, and it cannot be entirely rescued in print by
phonetic and illiterate spelling. Dialect humor, including the easily
duped hayseed who is Faulk's speciality, is on the verge of obsolescence
anyway. And most political humor is topical and therefore perishable.
The two straight articles, the longest ones in the book, have some
drawbacks too. The one on Cuba rightly laments the lack of balanced
accounts about the island in the American press and notes the material
gains under Fidel Castro's communism, as in public health, housing,
and education. But since Faulk makes light of the absence of free
speech and of Castro's cynical deportation of criminals and misfits from
Mariel, neglects to even mention the lack of other freedoms (such as
travel and entrepreneurship), and fails to observe that the Soviets prop
up the Cuban economy with about thirteen million dollars a day, his
essay is a bit lacking in balance also. The story on blacklisting briefly
retells Faulk's courageous stand against it in the 1950s. But his claims
that criticism of the FBI and J. Edgar Hoover were unthinkable during
the heyday of the Red Scare are somewhat exaggerated.
Faulk writes that as a boy he followed his father's lead and learned to
use humor to put across social commentary. His Pear Orchard tales
sometimes effectively combine the two elements, such as the one depict-
ing the garden-club racism of "Miss Effie" (p. 49). So do his imaginary
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 90, July 1986 - April, 1987, periodical, 1986/1987; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117152/m1/242/ocr/: accessed February 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.