The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 53, July 1949 - April, 1950

Book Reviews

Rister did not set the limits of his study; Congress did that in
the Compromise of 1850 by failing to assign the area to any ad-
ministrative unit. Into the governmental vacuum moved ranchers
and "grangers" in the late 188o's as well as the border riffraff who
found the absence of law a sufficient reason for their coming.
Lawlessness on this frontier had its inevitable corollary: the or-
ganization of the vigilantes. Acting upon the precept that there
was nothing wrong with the community that a few, well-selected
hangings could not remedy, the vigilantes soon restored order
in the valley of the Beaver. There followed a brief period of
provisional government with its legislature seeking recognition
from the Congress for the Territory of Cimarron. The effort came
to naught and May 2, 189o, No Man's Land was attached to
Oklahoma. A majority of its citizens welcomed the annexation,
though some cattlemen felt that the establishment of government
was hardly an adequate compensation for the taxes necessary to
its maintenance.
Blizzard, drought, and prosperity have made up the mosaic of
life in the Panhandle for the last half century. May we not say
that the area is the High Plains in miniature? If we but change
the names of the men, the ranches, and the wind-swept towns,
the history of the valley of the Beaver could well be the history
of the valley of the Platte, of the Canadian, of the Red. Here
then is the chief value of Rister's study, a classic of regional his-
tory; by a portrayal of a portion, it makes the whole intelligible.
REx W. STRICKLAND
Texas College of Mines
Ordeal of the Union. By Allan Nevins. New York (Charles Scrib-
ner's Sons), 1947. Volume I, x+593 pp.; Volume II, 590 pp.
Illustrations.. $ o.oo.
Ordeal of the Union is history written in the grand manner
by a historian who has mastered the technique. Not since the
panoramic attempt of James Ford Rhodes has such an inclusive
study appeared. Although Professor Nevins admits an attempt
to do what Rhodes did, there is an essential difference. Ordeal of
the Union represents thorough and painstaking research in many
relatively untapped southern and southwestern source collec-

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 53, July 1949 - April, 1950. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101126/. Accessed July 13, 2014.