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272Southwestern Historical QuarterlyOctober as he might have been, Ringo, contendsJohnson, was more tragic than bad. His verdict draws from die Tombstone Epitaph that eulogized Ringo as "a stricdy honorable man" whose "word was as good as his bond" (278). In making his case, the author, highly regarded among the Western Writers of America, takes on the lingering image of Ringo that emerges from the sanctification ofWyatt Earp in the fictionalized writings of Walter Noble Burns (Tombstone: An Iliad oftL· Southwest, 1927) and Stuart Lake (WyattEarp:FrontierMarshal, 1931). He also differs withJack Burrows (John Ringo: TL· Gunfighter Who Never Was, 1 987) regarding Ringo's early life, his role in the Hoodoo War, and his family's view of him. Convinced that interest in Ringo has "blossomed" (268) over the past half century, Johnson undertook prodigious research, the basis of a remarkably detailed study that should constitute the last word on an individual whose place in southwestern history is both secure and minor. Burdensome, however, are incessant and overly long block quotes diat carry the story and deaden an otherwise solid narrative. Anodier distraction is die repetition of "Earp apologists," "supporters of Earp," and "proponents of Earp" in the author's successful attempt to demonize Wyatt Earp. Nevertheless, Johnson has filled factual gaps regarding the Hoodoo War, offered a more balanced assessment of the Brocius-Clanton-McLaury cowboy element , and sharpened the debate over Ringo. His book should move briskly at the Rose Tree and other Tombstone bookstores during Helldorado Days. Texas State University-San Marcos, EmeritusJames A. Wilson TL·Fall ofa Black Army Officer: Racism and tL· Myth ofHenry 0. Flipper. By Charles M. Robinson III. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2008. Pp. 216. Illustrations , notes, bibliography, index. ISBN 9780806135212, $29.95 cloth.) This book examines the military trial in 1881-82 at Fort Davis, Texas, and subsequent dismissal from the U.S. Army ofSecond Lieutenant Henry Ossian Flipper , the first African American to graduate from the West Point military academy. Other than brief descriptions at the beginning and end of the book, respectively, ofFlipper's life before and after the court-martial, the bulk ofthe work—seven out of the total twelve chapters—is devoted to a narrative account of die trial proceedings , which resulted in the young African-American lieutenant being found not guilty of embezzlement but guilty of conduct unbecoming an officer. The author sets out to demonstrate that, despite subsequent claims that the defendant was the victim of institutional racism, Flipper was accorded a fair trial, handed ajust sentence, and was largely the architect of his own downfall. At various points in die book, Robinson alludes to the irony of the fact that die black West Pointer's belated rehabilitation, in the form of a presidential pardon in 1999, was achieved in no small part through the efforts of social activists representing an AfricanAmerican community that Flipper himselfgenerally held in disdain and shunned other than at times when he wanted its help. Although Flipper's character flaws and his relationship with other African-Americans are essential elements in Robinson 's argument, they are not dealt with extensively in the book. 20ogBook Reviews273 The narrative succeeds in showing that, while more than a few of the white officers involved in die Flipper case and trial were clearly racists, racism itself played litde ifany role in either the issuance ofthe charges against die young black officer or the decisions arrived at by the court-martial. In short, Robinson contends that while racism was rife in the late nineteendi-century U.S. Army, the Flipper case is not a good example of that phenomenon and, if anydiing, the attention it has attracted over die years has only "served to obscure" the "genuine cases of racism in the army of the period" (xvi). The author supports this assertion by frequendy comparing the Hipper affair with some of those "very real cases of racism" (11), most notably diat of the West Point cadetJohnson Whittaker. Extracts from the trial transcripts, which run to over 600 pages, take center stage in Robinson's account, but these are supported by ample references to alternative sources, such as memoirs, letters, and assorted official documents. This...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1558-9560
Print ISSN
0038-478X
Pages
pp. 272-273
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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