The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 97, July 1993 - April, 1994 Page: 178
Southwestern Historical Quarterly
tentacles first reached out to her, with a screen test for Twentieth Century-Fox.
Extracted from a community in which she might have grown up to be a normal
person (in spite of a family which liked to keep chickens in the house), she went
West and found the fame and fortune of which she had dreamed, along with the
alcoholism and despair which finally led to her death.
Davis painstakingly but (for the reader) painlessly crafts a mosaic of Linda
Darnell's life and death from hundreds of interviews and oral histories recorded
over a decade in several states. Stages of the star's life are limned by her surviv-
ing relatives, her high school and Hollywood friends, and many of her directors
and fellow actors. Davis, who is director of the DeGolyer Institute's Oral History
Program, demonstrates the expertise of the oral historian by his sense of what
questions to ask which people and by his tightly focused assembly of bits and
pieces from many sources which finally help us to understand this American
tragedy. This book is not only a valuable addition and improvement upon the
"behind-the-scenes in Hollywood" genre but also is an excellent psychological
study of a woman who was so gifted with physical beauty that her desire for a
simple and deeply satisfying life became impossible to attain in a system which
offered neither loyalty nor security for its creatures.
Meadows School of the Arts, Dallas G. WILLIAM JONES
On His Native Heath ... In His Natural Element: A Collection of the Essays ofJ. Evetts
Haley. Edited by Evetts Haley, Jr. (Midland: Nita Stewart Haley Memorial Li-
brary, 1992- Pp. 304. $40.)
Now comes a splendid surprise-a new book from J. Evetts Haley, the most
distinguished of living Texas historians. In his ninety-second year, Evetts has
gathered within one binding most of the essays he had not heretofore issued in
book form, pieces of various length written between 1927 and 1989. Under the
title of On His Native Heath ... In His Natural Element, Evetts Haley, Jr., has edit-
ed, introduced, and arranged some of his father's best work, materials which, if
not grouped together, might be overlooked by interested students of Southwest-
ern life and letters. The new book, the publication of Midland's Nita Stewart Ha-
ley Memorial Library and part of that institution's special contribution to Texas
history and the general culture of our state, is divided into four sections, within
which twenty-eight compositions-essays, meditations, eulogies, tributes, cri-
tiques, and biographical sketches-are grouped. Each of the four sections has its
own introduction, and there is a general introduction by Haley's biographer, B.
Byron Price, director of the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City. Here every-
thing has been carefully organized and the special energy and talent of the au-
thor channeled and preserved by presentation in the proper sequence, framed
by the appropriate commentary. Much of Evetts Haley needs to be reprinted. But
it is especially good to see some of his work made generally available for the first
I am on record as having a general admiration forJ. Evetts Haley as biograph-
er. He is, of course, best known for his magisterial, full-scale studies of such un-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 97, July 1993 - April, 1994, periodical, 1994; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117154/m1/206/ocr/: accessed July 27, 2016), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.