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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 70, July 1966 - April, 1967

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

clearly, thoughtfully, in proportion and in perspective. It is
interesting and easy to read because the author is absolute master
of his material and has taken pains to use effective writing in
saying what he knows. For the general reader the book is a
broad, clear survey which should stimulate his imagination and
widen his horizon. For the expert it is a convenient reminder
of what is essential and what are the latest scholarly findings; it
also provides him with a perceptive appraisal.
University of Idaho WILLIAM S. GREEVER
Bankers and Cattlemen. By Gene M. Gressley. New York (Alfred
A. Knopf), 1966. Pp. xxi+32o+ix. Illustrations, bibliog-
raphy, index. $6.95.
This is a very lively trade book on the history of the American
West-specifically, on the boom and decline of open-range cattle
ranching beyond the hundredth meridian between 1870 and
1900. However, it is written in the mould not of romantic history
but of business history. Gressley exploits extensive manuscript
collections and business records to highlight the financial and
managerial aspects of large-scale cattle raising on the western
plains. Not only is his book well-written and well-documented, it
adds a great deal of perspective to our understanding of the
cattle boom that reached its peak in the 188o's.
Gressley treats the western cattle-raising regions as economical-
ly underdeveloped areas which initially lacked local financing.
He emphasizes the techniques and the pattern through which
eastern capital was attracted to finance the cattle boom. His cast
of characters-or organizational role players-is hardly reminiscent
of the lonely individualists of Frederick Jackson Turner's western
drama. Gressley's highly capitalistic drama includes banks, cattle
companies, railroads, and cattlemen's associations. There are
financiers, managers, lawyers, commission merchants, and even
well-placed Congressmen, as well as the traditional ranchers and
cowboys. Indeed, cowboys figure hardly at all except as scarce
labor. The drama extends from Wyoming and Texas to New
York and Boston, and Chicago is prominent for its big investors
such as Marshall Field and Levi Leiter, as well as its stockyards.


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 70, July 1966 - April, 1967. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed May 5, 2016.

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