In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

20ogBook Reviews455 a new autobiography, The Orphans' Nine Commandments. (The tide derives from a decision made by him and his friends that they could live by all the Commandments except the fifth: to honor dieir modiers and fathers.) Holman would learn diat he was not the child of divorce, as he had always believed, but illegitimate. Why his mother had chosen to abandon him was never clear. Like many parents during die Great Depression, she simply may not have been able to afford his care. In 1933, die number of children living in American orphanages reached a record high of 150,000. Like many of diem, he became a form of property to be sold to desperate couples looking for children; his stateappointed guardian collected hundreds of dollars in fees from foster placements over the years. Writing from the perspective of a young boy, Holman does not dwell on the socioeconomics of the times. The reasons for his plight mattered little to the child. Holman is careful to balance the bitter with the sweet. Interspersed with moments of neglect and outright abuse are memories of boyhood escapades and moments of love and kindness from some of his foster families. He learned to survive in institutional life, often through lying and stealing; at the same time, he came to understand that he needed to learn to control his destructive tendencies if he was to find a permanent home. Taught to read by his mother before his abandonment, he developed a lifelong love of books that helped him through his darker periods and led him to a successful career in library science and printing. Spending much of his professional life in Texas, Holman headed the Rosenberg Library in Galveston, the San Antonio Public Library, and the Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas. As a printer, he produced what is often called the most beautiful book ever published in Texas, Al Lowman and Barabara Whitehead's This Bitterly Beautiful Land: A Texas Commonplace Book. Life does not provide unequivocally happy endings, and Holman 's is no exception. Despite a solid career and family life—including a marriage that has stretched more than sixty years—he struggled for decades with paralyzing depressions and a yearning to understand the mysteries of his childhood. He approaches his story with a palpable sense of awe diat he survived his early life with his soul intact. Palmyra, VirginiaHeather K. Michon Mary Martin, Broadway Legend. By Ronald L. Davis. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2008. Pp. 328. Illustrations, notes on sources, appendix, index. ISBN 9780806139050, $26.95 cloth.) Mary Martin, Broadway Legend is a charming tribute to a performer whose "place in the history ofAmerican musical theater," according to its author, "is singular " (xi). Ronald L. Davis, Professor Emeritus of History at Southern Methodist University, has written on other entertainment legends,John Ford and John Wayne among them, but his special fondness for Mary Martin and the roles and characters she made famous is clearly conveyed in this volume's pages. 456Southwestern Historical QuarterlyApril Davis presents Martin's life and times and trials and tribulations in the traditional biographical form, beginning with her 1913 birth in Weatherford, Texas, and concluding with her burial there seventy-six years later in 1990. In the process, he reveals a performer who put the perfection of her craft above all else. Martin began performing when just a young girl, endured lean years in Hollywood while "breaking into" the business, and later basking in the wealth and comfort provided by her success. The costs of Martin's "stage perfection," however, were high. Martin's son, actor Larry Hagman, was raised by his maternal grandmother until age twelve, and afterward divided time between boarding schools and his father's home so Martin might pursue her theatrical goals. Martin's career and the raising of her daughter, Heller, were carefully orchestrated by her husband and manager, Richard Halliday, a brilliant man plagued by depression and substance abuse. Through it all, Martin remained focused squarely on her task. She smiled, sang, and performed. The breadth and scope of Davis's research is impressive, and the plethora of personal interviews—some conducted with Martin herself—provides...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1558-9560
Print ISSN
0038-478X
Pages
pp. 455-456
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.