The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 74, July 1970 - April, 1971

Book Reviews

as Walter Hines Page, were revealed to be conservatives and racists.
Tragically, the participants in the bitter economic conflicts of the
late nineteenth century, Populists as well as New South spokesmen,
were gripped by the same psychosis of race. As in most of its history,
the South had few, if any, genuine liberals; no one was able to pro-
vide a counterbalance to the dominant racism. Rather than creating
a genuinely progressive and modern society, the New South spokes-
men, according to Gaston, created patterns of mythmaking that
"worked powerfully to preserve the conservative and racist nature
of Southern civilization down to our times."
Wisconsin State University, Whitewater BILL C. MALONE
Essays on the American West. By Sandra L. Myres, Blaine T. Wil-
liams, Robert L. Williamson, Ray A. Billington. (Austin: Uni-
versity of Texas Press, 1i969. Pp. 114. $4.50.)
Presented in 1968 as the third series of Walter Prescott Webb
Memorial Lectures at the University of Texas, Arlington, these four
essays have no common denominator, save that all deal with the
social or institutional history of the American West or its inter-
pretation. One, by Sandra Myres, focuses on ranching in the Spanish
borderlands, "a multifaceted, multipurpose pioneering agency," and
the only Spanish frontier institution to survive intact into the
modern age (p. 36), after the Anglos adopted and modified its tech-
niques and equipment, its mores, and even its folklore in the post-
Appomattox West. Another, by Blaine T. Williams, is a sociological
study of the settlers of the Peters Colony area of north-central Texas
based on the Census ol 185o which reaches the conclusions, among
others, that the idea ol marriage at an early age and the belief that
widows with children readily remarried are "myths," and that "the
family unit was the unifying force on the American frontier"
(p. 65). A third essay, that of Robert L. Williamson, denigrates the
muzzle-loading rifle as a military weapon. However, Williamson ex-
tolls it as "the common denominator of frontier living" (p. 88), a
tool useful in a multitude of ways for "harvesting game" essential to
daily living or for providing rough-and-ready entertainment.
In the most thought-provoking essay, Ray A. Billington compares
the two frontier historians, Frederick Jackson Turner and Walter

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 74, July 1970 - April, 1971. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101200/. Accessed September 4, 2015.