The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992 Page: 115

Book Reviews

the comparative approach in their studies of Jewish migration and women. Fi-
nally, Gary McDonogh offers an interesting analysis of ethnicity and historical
consciousness among Catholics in Savannah.
As with any such collection, the essays vary in their analytical insight.
Harney's study of Canadian migration is one of the strongest contributions,
both for its conceptual approach to studying migration as well as for its wit.
Bayor and Mohl's sensitivity to the historiography of studies of northern cities
gives their respective essays a strong context for understanding the significance
of ethnicity in the South. McDonogh's imaginative reconstruction and exami-
nation of group historical consciousness is an innovative and important use of
oral history techniques for broadening our understanding of ethnic attitudes
and behavior.
The editors and contributors have demonstrated their basic point very effec-
tively. While race endures as a major issue, ethnic migrations have created a
more complex urban society that requires, indeed demands, the continued at-
tention of historians seeking to understand the new New South. This valuable
volume provides an extremely useful starting point for future studies of the
effects of ethnicity on southern cities.
Unzvenszty of Texas at San Antonzo DAVID R. JOHNSON
Amenzcan Exodus: The Dust Bowl Mzgratzon and Okze Culture in Calzfornza. By James
N. Gregory. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989. Pp. xviii+338. Ac-
knowledgments, introduction, photographs, maps, illustrations, tables, ap-
pendix, notes, index. $24.95.)
This book addresses two very significant questions: who were the Okies and
what impact have they had on California society since the 1930s. It argues that
most migrants from Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, and Arkansas were rural
people who shared similar values expressed in and reinforced by evangelical
Christianity, country music, and a political orientation both populistic and con-
servative. By the 194os, California's flourishing war industries permitted most
Okies to abandon farm work and enter the blue-collar working class. Neverthe-
less, they did not simply absorb the dominant urban values that predominated
in their new home, and a remarkably resilient Okie subculture has persisted in
the San Joaquin Valley.
American Exodus will interest a wide range of social historians, not just those
who specialize in California. Gregory challenges many myths about the migra-
tion of the 1930s and patterns of migration generally. He demonstrates that
the movement of peoples from Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Arkansas was
not just a phenomenon of the 1930s; nor did it consist solely of those displaced
by dust storms or New Deal agricultural policies; nor were all migrants poor.
The Okies had much in common with others who moved to California in ear-
lier and later decades. Not all were destitute dirt farmers, and many settled in
cities rather than in the countryside. How they were treated depended far
more on "class" and occupation than on where they came from.


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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992, periodical, 1992; Austin, Texas. ( accessed November 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.