The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

tions stand unchanged in this edition." One could only wish that
the editor-in-chief of the Yale Western Americana Paperbounds
had exercised similar care in his selection of a person to write the
foreword. REx W. STRICKLAND
Texas Western College
The El Paso Salt War [1877]. By C. L. Sonnichsen. El Paso (Texas
Western Press), 1961. Pp. iv+68. Typography by Carl Hert-
zog. Illustrated by Jose Cisneros. Bibliography, index. $5.oo,
cloth; $2.00, paperback.
Aficionados of Texana collecting and Texana reading well re-
member the dramatic historical narrative C. L. Sonnichsen of
Texas Western College produced in Ten Texas Feuds (University
of New Mexico Press, 1957). Drawing upon one segment of the
Brueghelesque composition of the 1957 publication, the writer
returns to his earlier work for The El Paso Salt War [1877].
For several reasons, the decision to reprint Sonnichsen's distinc-
tive treatment of the so-called El Paso or San Elizario Salt War
was a happy one. Certainly not the least important justification
for re-issuing the El Paso chapters is the physical beauty of the
new format design. Important though such factors as typograph-
ical artistry and ornamentation may be, however, the primary
focus of narrative history remains the text itself. In this, Sonnich-
sen's thematic development is particularly noteworthy in that the
writer consistently maintains a high level of performance both
as a historian and as a literary artist. More specifically, historical
obligations are amply met in the careful use of previously iden-
tified documentary evidence-and even more importantly in the
exploitation of sources that have not been used by previous writers
on the subject (Mesilla Independent, 1877-1878 file, and especial-
ly the writer's interesting adaptation of information he secured
from participants and witnesses who survived into the 1930's).
As an extra dividend, which is not always found in some truly
fine historical studies, Sonnichsen successfully establishes and con-
sistently maintains a crisp style that at times sparks much of the
electric suspense that must have charged the atmosphere of the
El Paso Valley as the mills of the gods ground out the provincial
epic of the Guadalupe Salt Lakes. Herein are depicted the evolu-


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed August 1, 2015.