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2??8Book Reviews467 duction during the 1 950s and 1 960s. Then, after failures in Alaska and elsewhere, Shell returned to the Gulf in the 1980s and continued exploring and producing in even deeper areas of the Gulf. Priest becomes a storyteller as he explains that Shell led the way into "deep water . . . drilling, . . . production, . . . and subsea completions" (p. 99). The story carries the reader ahead with anecdotes about the Bay Marchand blowout and other stirring events. Finally, Priest artfully weaves Shell's successes and failures into an explanation of how Shell eventually disappeared as a distinct operating company. Despite die fact that this is an exciting narrative, several problems limited the book's effectiveness. Aldiough originally hired to write a sponsored narrative, Priest completed the book after Shell withdrew its support. However, the original project haunts the book as Priest introduces a multitude of Shell engineers, researchers, and managers to the reader. Priest also includes information diat is not germane to his argument, such as stories about the social upheavals of the 1970s and the dissolution of Shell Oil. Moreover, Priest assumes the reader has a great deal of knowledge about oil exploration and production. He fails to explain such terms as catalytic cracking tank, refraction seismography, heavy mud or "spud in"—terms familiar to chemists and geologists or oilmen but not usually familiar to the average historian. Many of the personal stories could have been edited out leading to a better flow offacts, and a glossary would have solved the second problem. However, some sections remain confusing because Priest provides few date queues while he moves back and forth continually tiirough thirty or forty years. Finally the book would have been enhanced with more diagrams and fewer pictures. Nevertheless, the book tells a dramatic story of imaginative businessmen and engineers who propelled Shell forward in the search for ways to locate and recover oil from the depths of the sea. Texas A&M UniversityKay Goldman John Graves, Writer. Edited by Mark Busby and Terrell Dixon. (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2007. Pp. 286. Illustrations, bibliography, index. ISBN 0-29271494 -7· $34-95. cloth.) John Graves is one of Texas's most celebrated writers, known for his literary skill and for his love of die Texas landscape. Sometimes called "The Sage of Glen Rose" (Texas), Graves first achieved critical acclaim for Goodbye to a River: A Narrative (i960), a memoir centered on a journey down the Brazos River before it was to be dammed. Goodbye has become a classic in environmental literature and was the first ofwhat was to become his "Brazos" trilogy that includes Hard Scrabble: Observations on a Patch ofLand (1974), and From a Limestone Ledge: Some Essays and Other Ruminations about Country Life in Texas (1980). In John Graves, Writer, editors Busby and Dixon have assembled the most comprehensive consideration of the life and works of Graves available, and their respect for die writer is evident in their selection and arrangement of material. Contributors to die volume share a connection to Texas or to Graves as residents 468Southwestern Historical QuarterlyApril of the state, longtime friends or students, teachers of environmental or Texas literature, or admirers. Following Busby's introduction to Graves, transcripts of a symposium and an interview with Graves at Texas State University in 2002 give the reader a personal sense of both man and work, providing a background for what others have to say about Graves. The next section contains essays written especially for this volume by friends of Graves, some of them fellow writers, each a tribute to man and author . The last and longest section is a collection of nine critical essays looking at style, theme, and technique in the works ofJohn Graves. These range from editor Dixon's essay situating Goodbye to a Riverwithin the tradition of environmental literature extending back to Thoreau to Cory Lock's consideration of Graves's long relationship widi Texas Monthly and the incongruity ofthe "fast-paced, progressive, urban" magazine publishing the "reflective, traditional, and rural" essays Graves contributed (p. 207). As a former English teacher, I was especially drawn to Dickie Maurice Heaberlin 's witty "Of Dachshunds and Dashes" which compares John Graves and E. B. White...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1558-9560
Print ISSN
0038-478X
Pages
pp. 467-468
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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