The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 51, July 1947 - April, 1948

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

of the area concerned would have been helpful. As a source book
on the Civil War it is lacking, but as merely a colorful batch
of old letters it has great appeal both to the addict of Civil War
literature and to the general reader.
Dallas, Texas JOSEPH W. YOUNG
The Grassland of North America. By James C. Malin. Lawrence,
Kansas (published by the author), 1947. Pp. 335-
Malin's book has a curiously mixed quality. At its best, it
displays careful and painstaking research and a commendable
attempt to synthesize the available writings on the history and
nature of the American grassland; at its worst, it reveals careless
writing and slipshod editing. The material of the book, which
it must have taken years to gather, has been put together with
apparent haste and lack of judgment.
In his preface, the author states that from one viewpoint,
presumably his, "the book may be considered as a series of essays
on historiography, materials and methods, together with sample
case studies." As long as the essays are confined to the three
stated topics, the book is stimulating, although controversial;
but as the sample case studies seem frequently to have been
chosen simply as vehicles for Malin's attacks on the meddlings of
a bureaucratic government in grassland equilibrium, they often
make the book seem too much like a tract.
The book, however, does have a definite value to the student
of grassland history. It contains many noteworthy features, the
best of which are the exhaustive bibliography and the discussions
of the available historiographical materials on the region. Most
of the book is a compendium of previous works on the grass-
land; it contains r6sum6s of the most significant studies that have
been written about the white man's approach to the plains. Be-
ginning with the travelers of the early nineteenth century and
continuing with the works of the geologists, biologists, students
of the soil, and propagandists who have written about the region,
the volume records in detail the development of the grassland
regionalism which culminated in Walter Prescott Webb's The
Great Plains, a book which Malin examines in great critical
detail, summarizing all the arguments that it has engendered.

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 51, July 1947 - April, 1948. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101119/. Accessed May 25, 2015.