Crowder Talesby Nixon Smiley

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  • Crowder Tales by Nixon SmileyReview by: Wyatt BlassingameThe Florida Historical Quarterly, Vol. 53, No. 2 (Oct., 1974), pp. 201-202Published by: Florida Historical SocietyStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30149803 .Accessed: 16/06/2014 14:57

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  • BOOK REVIEWS 201

    changing technology is often lost in the search for an explanation of some obscure technical term. The reader might be better ad- vised to read straight through, skimming lightly technical ex-

    planations and looking instead for the significance of such proc- esses. An excellent one page summary of technological changes on page 87 gave me all the basic information needed to make sense out of the book. A tendency to over-document compounds this problem; one paragraph will often contain six or seven footnote references, and chapter four, twenty-five pages long, con- tains 113 footnotes. Professor Blakey, however, is a skillful

    enough writer so that what might be a fatal problem for most scholars is only an annoyance in this work. This book adds a

    vitally important dimension to the study of recent Florida his-

    tory.

    Samford University WAYNE FLYNT

    Crowder Tales. By Nixon Smiley. (Miami: E. A. Seemann Pub- lishing, Inc., 1973. 169 pp. Introduction. $5.95.)

    Nixon Smiley was seven years old when in the fall of 1918 he was sent to live with his grandparents in Crowder, Florida. Crowder was-maybe it still is; Mr. Smiley swears the place is real and I agree with him it would be difficult to invent-some- where near the Georgia-Florida border between Jacksonville and Tallahassee. Certainly it was one of those places that used to be referred to as Plum-Nelly, meaning "plum" out of the city and "nelly" out of the country.

    Some of the Crowder Tales appeared first in the Miami Herald in the 1950s. Now they have been revised and enlarged to make a nostalgic account of Crowder revisited in memory. There is no attempt at a central story, but each chapter is, more or less, devoted to one character-and in a place the size of Crowder all the characters of necessity are related to one another. If Boisey cooked chicken foots ("The best part of any chicken that ever lived, 'cept maybe the gizzard.") then the foots were left over from the Kicklighters's Sunday dinner, and young Smiley ate his share of them. If the reader wants to cook his own chicken foots, Smiley tells him how Boisey did it. The reader

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  • 202 FLORIDA HISTORICAL QUARTERLY may also learn how to make sweet potato banks, operate a Delco

    plant with a one-cylinder engine, and how to lose his taste for

    spinach forever. The tales are uneven. Some may glow a little brighter in Mr.

    Smiley's memory than they do for the reader. But there is an excellent turkey hunting story, and others that have a true Mark Twain flavor. There was Skunk Mathis who got his nickname not because he seldom bathed, though this was true, but because

    hlie had once volunteered to get rid of a skunk that had taken over a lumbercamp bunkhouse. Mathis simply walked into the bunkhouse, and "When that skunk got a whiff of Mathis he come running out with tears in his eyes like he had been gassed."

    And there was Pa who feared neither man nor beast, but lived in terror of being buried alive. Once Pa came home drunk and passed out on a bench on the front porch. Later there was a loud thump followed by a wild scream. "Don't get excited," said Smiley's grandmother. "It's nothing, 'cept Pa waking up under the bench in the dark and thinking he's been buried alive."

    Anna Maria, Florida WYATT BLASSINGAME

    Proceedings of the Gulf Coast History and Humanities Confer- ence, Volume IV, Gulf Coast Politics In The Twentieth Cen- tury. Edited by Ted Carageorge and Thomas J. Gilliam. (Pensacola: Historic Pensacola Preservation Board, 1973. v, 98 pp. Introduction, notes, illustrations. $7.95; $4.50 paper.)

    This little book will probably receive much less attention than it deserves. It consists of the papers and commentaries pre- sented at the fourth annual Gulf Coast History and Humanities Conference, held at Pensacola in November 1972. The papers were all of good quality, and two or three appear better than the majority offered at most national scholarly conferences. Some of the interpretations offered are new; others are clarified restate- ments of long-held positions.

    In the first paper, "The Agrarian Inheritance: An Affirma- tion," Professor Melvin E. Bradford of the University of Dallas strongly defends the position of the Vanderbilt "agrarians" in their famous manifesto of 1930. Bradford, a conservative scholar,

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    Article Contentsp. 201p. 202

    Issue Table of ContentsThe Florida Historical Quarterly, Vol. 53, No. 2 (Oct., 1974), pp. i-iv, 123-251Front MatterWhen a Minority Becomes the Majority: Blacks in Jacksonville Politics, 1887-1907 [pp. 123-145]Greens, Grist and Guernseys: Development of the Florida State Agricultural Marketing System [pp. 146-163]Foreigners in Florida: A Study of Immigration Promotion, 1865-1910 [pp. 164-180]Florida Seminoles: 1900-1920 [pp. 181-197]Book ReviewsReview: untitled [pp. 198-199]Review: untitled [pp. 199-201]Review: untitled [pp. 201-202]Review: untitled [pp. 202-204]Review: untitled [pp. 204-205]Review: untitled [pp. 205-207]Review: untitled [pp. 207-208]Review: untitled [pp. 208-209]Review: untitled [pp. 210-211]Review: untitled [p. 211-211]Review: untitled [pp. 212-213]Review: untitled [pp. 213-214]Review: untitled [pp. 214-215]Review: untitled [pp. 216-217]Review: untitled [pp. 217-219]Review: untitled [pp. 219-221]

    Book Notes [pp. 221-225]History News [pp. 226-231]Proceedings of the Seventy-Second Annual Meeting of the Florida Historical Society [pp. 232-250]Back Matter