established his reputation as one of the greatest scholars of the
American West of his generation.
University of California, Davis W. TURRENTINE JACKSON
The Great American Desert, Then And Now. By W. Eugene
Hollon. New York (Oxford University Press), 1966. Pp.
xi+284. Illustrations, maps, bibliographical notes, index.
This book discusses the 900,000 square miles of western desert
which extends from the center of Kansas to the Southern coast
of California and from Canada to Mexico. The survey begins
with prehistoric times and ends with suggestions about the future.
The most important topics treated are the Indians, the explorers,
the ranchers, the farmers, the Mormons, water resources, politics,
cities, a present-day travelogue and possible future developments.
A major theme of the book is how aridity has forced generations
of men, from the Pueblo Indians to modern industrialists, to adopt
their operation to an environment scarce in water. Another
theme is how Americans there have insisted they were ruggedly
independent but have repeatedly turned to federal authorities for
various kinds of aid beyond the financial resources of local
residences; the more Washington has helped them the more they
have distrusted the national government. A third theme is that
of individualistic achievements of the missionaries, fur traders,
explorers, and pioneer homesteaders. A fourth is the accomplish-
ments of cooperative efforts such as the irrigation canals in many
states and the Mormon development of Utah. A fifth is a political
history essentially conservative, except for the Populist Move-
ment, regardless of party labels. In some geographical areas, such
as southern Arizona, there have been many changes since the
first white men came; in others, like the rangelands of Nevada,
time seems almost to have stood still.
The Great American Desert, Then and Now distills the essence
of what many historians, geographers, anthropologists, political
scientists, economists and agricultural scientists have found out.
Thus the twenty pages Professor Hollon devotes to cattlemen is
admirable as a brief statement giving the most important facts
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 70, July 1966 - April, 1967. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101199/. Accessed July 23, 2014.