Book Reviews and Notices.
Texas: A Contest of Civilization, by George P. Garrison.
[American Commonwealths Series.] (New York and Boston:
Houghton, Mifflin & Co. 1903. Pp., 311.)
The above is the title of a most interesting book from the pen
of Dr. George P. Garrison, Professor of History in the University
of Texas, which is just issued.
A glance at the list of authors of the volumes already published
and of those in preparation shows that the editor of the series has
used rare judgment in selecting and has been fortunate in securing
the services of distinguished men. It was with pride that some
time ago I heard that Dr. Garrison had been invited to enter this
goodly company. Since his work has been completed and his book
put before the public, I feel that congratulations should be extended
and the "goodly company" be felicitated in finding Dr. Garrison
Were it not for the first sentence of the preface, the book might
be mistaken for a history of Texas. The author, however, declares
that this is not so, and I feel constrained to yield this much to his
superior information, and say it is not a history of Texas, but is a
history of the growth of Texas.
Then two things which tend most to prevent general reading of
history are: First, the interminable detail with which the average
historian proses along, and second, the persistency with which he
thrusts personalities forward. What does the ordinary reader
care, whether John Smith or Peter Jones commanded in a certain
battle or whether he had 1700 or 1900 men? What he and his
army and the man on the other side and his army were fighting
about-is the real question. What forces, political, social, relig-
ious, or financial, brought on the issue, which opposed it, how the
conflict was waged, and how determined, and what was the effect
on the life and habits and development of the contending parties.
Surely a certain meed of praise is due to those who have striven for
the right and a certain amount of censure to those who have upheld
the wrong, but these personal matters are merely incidental. The
great question is, What of the State, in all its diversified life and
varied interests? How and why did it originate? What forces
have directed its destiny and what is the outcome, in its present
status and institutions?
If this be a correct theory of history writing, all lovers of Texas
Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 7, July 1903 - April, 1904. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101030/. Accessed July 3, 2015.