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

2Oio Book Reviews543 civilian pay. With Brahmin privileges, they presided over enlisted ranks but left the daily operational duties to company sergeants. Officers, opined a Sixth Cavalry Regiment colonel, were not expected to work. Consequently, Adams insists, enlisted soldiers bore the burden. Adams's recurrent censure of the military's less-than-egalitarian state reflects an innocence of the demands of military life. Exasperation over mundane chores, routine training, and authority stretches from Macedonian hoplites to hometown national guards. Aggravation over seemingly omnipresent high-handed patrician officers even drew the wrath of WWII cartoonist Bill Mauldin who lampooned them in such drawings as his depiction of an Army captain standing atop a mountain peak overlooking a scenic valley, exclaiming, "Beautiful view. Is there one for die enlisted men?" Class and Race is a new theme within Frederick Jackson Turner's American West fugue. Adams seeks a "fuller understanding ... in the conquest of Native America," drawing him beyond Indian warfare by and into class tensions of the frontier army. By his own admission, he is not writing a conventional military history . Instead, America's frontier army is Adams's metaphor of America's Gilded Age, crossing the Mississippi to (apologies to Tennyson) mete and dole Victorian inequalities unto a savage frontier. Austin Community CollegeBob Cavendish Yeomen, Sharecroppers, and Socialists: Plain Folk Protest in Texas, 18JO-1914. ByKyIeG. Wilkison. (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2008. Pp. 310. Map, tables, notes, bibliography, index. ISBN 9781603440653, $40.00 cloth.) Kyle Wilkison's Yeomen, Sharecroppers, and Socialists chronicles the decline of "plain folk" culture in east and central Texas, with a particular focus on Hunt County from 1870 to 1914. Semi-subsistence farmers, both white and black, constitute the "plain folk" ofWilkison's study. Wilkison shows how, from 1870 to 1914, landownership went from a majority experience for Texas's plain folk to an experience of the relative few. This, in turn, "ended family and community independence as the majority way of life" (2). He argues, "Farmers' loss of independence in early twentieth-century Texas lay very near the root of their iron marriage to cotton and its accompanying socio-economic system. But cotton did not eradicate diversified subsistence production; landlords did" (11). For Wilkison the Socialist vote ofdie early twentieth century represents a last critique ofAmerican capitalism by a minority of plain folk seeking to hold onto a passing experience of equality based on a shared way of life, work, and opportunity for land ownership. His findings are based on an impressive number of manuscript collections contained in archives scattered across Texas, nearly fifty oral interviews ofdescendants ofTexas plain folk, government documents, and the relevant historiography of southern agrarian culture and protest movements. The secondary title of Wilkison's book, "Plain Folk Protest in Texas, 18701914 ," is slightly misleading. The book is not as much a political history of agrar- 544Southwestern Hhtorical QuarterlyApril ian protest movements as it is a cultural history of plain-folk communities and die transformation they underwent from majority landownership to farm tenancy. Wilkison addresses the Greenback and Populist movements only in summary. The Socialist Party in Texas, while examined in greater detail, is done so primarily from a cultural perspective. This should not be viewed as a weakness. The cultural approach allows Wilkison to analyze issues of race and religion with more depth than more politically oriented histories ofagrarian protest and farm tenancy. This is where Wilkison makes a noteworthy contribution to the historical literature on agrarian protest movements. Previous studies have noted how populists and socialists used religious rhetoric to gain adherents and the conflicts these movements experienced with church-based religions. Wilkison goes a step further by bringing to light how the issues raised by agrarian radicals, particularly that of landownership , caused rifts within the churches themselves. Wilkison's 2009 Fehrenbach Award winning book presents Texas plain folk in a struggle against modern market forces in an attempt to hold onto their traditional way of life. Landownership, semi-subsistence agriculture, and tight-knit rural communities served as the foundation for this traditional culture. According to Wilkison blacks and whites shared this common culture only to be separated "by the chasm created by the white majority's belief...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1558-9560
Print ISSN
0038-478X
Pages
pp. 543-544
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.