Book Reviews and Notices
BOOK REVIEWS AND NOTICES
The Comanche Barrier to South Plains Settlement. By Rupert
Norval Richardson. (Glendale, California: The Arthur
H. Clark Company, 1933. Pp. 424. Illustrations. $6.00.)
The title of this book succinctly states the significant histori-
cal position of the Comanche, a barrier to South Plains settle-
ment, next in importance to the elemental severity of the land
itself. The treatment critically states, for the first time, the
attitude of the Indian toward the encroachments of a more
numerous and technically trained, if no bolder or prouder, people.
Perennial dread of the Comanches left a deep imprint upon
the consciousness of the border; so deep, in fact, that perhaps
no subject of frontier life and history has attracted such a bat-
talion of pioneer writers or has been so prolific of reminiscence.
The stark details of several generations of warfare have fur-
nished the bloody theme, rather than any sentiment for untamed
nature or the rights of an unconquered race. Of necessity such
a treatment as this has been reserved for one technically trained;
one who, working under the manifest handicap of records kept
almost altogether by his own race, could, nevertheless, interpret
the point of view and evaluate the claims of the aboriginal peo-
ple. With no more suggestion of being maudlin toward the In-
dian than apologetic for the white, Richardson has reconstructed
the story of their relationship from the coming of the Spaniards
to the establishment of the Territorial Reserves. His treatment
is dignified and sincere, and the Comanche rides from its pages
as a human, historical character of no mean proportions.
Beginning with the Comanche's known origins and cultural
complexes, the author establishes him in his Plains environment,
sketches in his broader range, mounts him on a horse, and throws
him into contact with the Spaniard on the southwestern periph-
ery. In New Mexico Governor Anza's policy strengthened the
tribal organization, and in Texas De Mezieres worked in the in-
terests of friendly relations. With independence Texas attacked
the problem of frontier defense, though the diverse views repre-
sented by Presidents Houston and Lamar precluded a settled pol-
icy, and annexation neither relieved the Indians of territorial en-
croachments nor the Texans of reprisals.
Texas State Historical Association & Barker, Eugene C. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 37, July 1933 - April, 1934. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101094/. Accessed July 26, 2014.