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BOOK REVIEWS283 unit to leave an account of his experiences—perhaps the only one. Moreover , Zuber's writings were based on his diaries, and thus suffer only a few of the shortcomings usually found in memoirs written half-acentury after the fact. John Jay Good's letters also offer a first hand look at an aspect of the western campaigns of the Civil War for which a relatively few contemporary documents exist—the artillery. Organized prior to the war as the Dallas Light Artillery and mustered into the State Troops in April, 1861 as the First Texas Artillery, Good's unit was sent almost immediately to Arkansas, where it served in Ben McCulloch's division. During the year Good headed the battery, which these letters cover, it moved a great deal throughout northern Arkansas and southern Missouri before taking part in its only major engagement under Good's command, the Battle of Pea Ridge. The seventy-five letters from Good to his wife are filled with command politics, problems of supply, and rumors of the movements of both friend and foe. They undoubtedly offer some insight into the peculiar problems of artillery units in the western theater of the war. His wife's letters, of which there are thirtyodd in this collection, cover the family's health, crops, and business, as well as local political matters and military news. While often touching in their sentiments, Susan Good's letters contain little of consequence about the home front not already available in dozens of other collections. The surviving correspondence of the Connors, on the other hand, will prove unrewarding for those seeking insight into military themes. Only seventeen of the forty letters are from O. C, who served with the 19th Texas Volunteer Infantry in Arkansas and Louisiana, and they contain little of martial interest except the usual combination of complaint and rumor. The letters, particularly those of Mary America, however , do radiate some feeling for the adjustments in styles of life and personal relationships necessitated by the war. The two collections of letters reviewed here contrast in other ways. Dear America is a striking, beautiful example of bookmaking; Cannon Smoke resembles nothing so much as a low budget Bible tract. The hand of the editor intrudes only slightly on the quaint style and syntax of the Connors' correspondence; by his own admission the editor of the Good letters imposed his own notions of punctuation, capitalization, and paragraphing as well as removing "repetitious matter." Both volumes profit from numerous and often extensive notes. James V. Reese Texas Tech University Garden in the Grasslands: Boomer Literature of the Central Great Phins. By David M. Emmons. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1971. Pp. xi, 220. $10.00.) The boomer has long been a figure in American history, beginning with 284CIVIL WAR HISTORY the earliest efforts to attract people to the New World. More than two and a half centuries later, the booster or promoter was still at work in the Great Plains region, cajoling and coaxing people to settle in the area. Professor Emmons of the University of Montana has written a systematic account of boomer propaganda used in the central plains, especially Kansas and Nebraska, with peripheral attention to Colorado and Wyoming. In doing so, he fills a need in western history by recognizing the scope and importance of boomer literature. In the author's opinion, the Central Plains region served as a model for other promotional activities elsewhere. In his first six chapters Emmons treats the various aspects of promotion , ranging from the efforts extended by railroads, newspapers, and state and territorial governments to a treatment of the safety valve implications and the pseudoscientific arguments put forth to counter the image of the "Great American Desert." The recurring image of the frontier as a Garden of Eden faltered on the Great Plains, largely because of the shortage of rainfall. Consequently, promoters found it necessary to educate the public on the possibilities of life in a semiarid region. Obviously, vested interests tried to use various propaganda techniques to their best advantage, although the end-result sometimes served the public interest. Emmons bases his work upon a close study of the propaganda itself...


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pp. 283-284
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