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98 Western American Literature Later, as a college student with no money, family, or special achieve­ ments to recommend him, Connally made himself available to Lyndon Johnson’s campaign for Congress. He “hung around the office, stuffing envelopes and running errands, and displaying an uncommon poise and assertiveness for a college student.” As a result, Johnson asked Connally to go to Washington, where the young debator made a name for himself as an unofficial lobbyist. Within a very short time, he had helped the oil-gascattle -banking powers of Texas, earned an $800,000 fee as executor of the Richardson estate, and established himself as a power in Texas and in the nation. The rest are variations on a theme. Sid Richardson was the champion wildcatter. H. L. Hunt started with a wagon for hire, bought some entangled oil leases — which turned out to be one of the richest fields in Texas — and made a fortune. Perot quit a clerical job and talked a bank into financing a different type of wildcatting: he wanted to buy computer time wholesale and sell it retail, and he made a fortune doing it. Conaway is a good story-teller, and he makes it all very interesting. I don’t know how to make a scholarly evaluation of Conaway’s accuracy (much of his book is based on interviews) without repeating his research; but my guess is that his chapter on the University of Texas is typical. There are several unsettling errors in Conaway’s treatment of the University, but the sense of what happened is right. Personally, I’m content with the virtues of journalistic history, and I recommend The Texans, not for regional interests alone, but as a disturb­ ing insight into national history. If you read the story of Brown and Root carefully, taking note of the millions of dollars in military contracts and the financial suport given to politicians who supported the war, it is diffi­ cult to avoid the sickening feeling that those who died in Vietnam died for Brown and Root. MAX WESTBROOK, The University of Texas Indian Dances of North America. By Reginald and Gladys Laubin. (Nor­ man: University of Oklahoma Press, 1977. 538 pages, $25.00.) This is one of those rare, few books which can truly be described as life works. The Laubins, known for their practical guide to the tipi, are also knowledgeable about Indian dance and ceremony. Over many years, they have learned and practiced how Indians made things, how they danced, how they sang, and much else. I use the past tense because the Laubins have made an effort to keep alive the old, traditional ways, through historical research in white accounts and through interviews with Indian old-timers, by making the tools and accoutrements of Indian life, and by performing Reviews 99 Indian dances as authentically as possible. They are complimented by tradition-minded Indians for their accuracy. The book begins with an historical survey of explorers’ and travelers’ descriptions of dances. These are expectably colored by the European perceptual set, yet on occasion sympathetic and insightful. Then follows an encyclopedic exposition, some three hundred large-format pages long, of Indian instruments, songs, and dances, with full descriptions, in most cases, of just how the dances are performed and why. There are a number of good photographs and drawings. The focus is on the Plains tribes, whose dances the authors have performed most often, and the southwestern, coastal, and far-northern people get comparatively brief treatment. Yet there is much that is universal in motivation and philosophy. The Laubins pay attention to this inner aspect, although there is a certain reticence in interpretation. “Indian dance, like any other true dance, is not merely a matter of motion and exercise, of moving feet and body, but must be accompanied by thought and emotion. It expresses emotional and spiritual needs even more than physical. We don’t think these things can be taught. They must be felt and experienced.” In some respects, then, the book stops short. It is different from and would make a good complement to, for example, Masked Gods. If you were reading The Man Who Killed the Deer, for...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 98-99
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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