The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 76, July 1972 - April, 1973

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

ing, and mission ruins). In some cases the author fails to differentiate
between missions and presidios (as San Saba) and between restora-
tion and reconstruction (as San Francisco de los Tejas and Espiritu
Santo). The account of Mission San Francisco de Valero (the Alamo)
is most confused.
This reviewer found the chapter on mission architecture and build-
ing techniques interesting and informative. But on the whole, credit
the author with a good idea, poorly executed.
Austin, Texas ROBERT S. WEDDLE
Off the Beaten Path. By William Edward Syers. (Waco: Texian Press,
1971. Pp. xii+493. Index. $7.00.)
Reviewing this book in a serious historical periodical may be
unfair, since it has good qualities other than those looked for here.
Syers, a Texas novelist and newspaper columnist now living in the
hill country, has collected 141 of his popular columns for publication.
They are the outcome of nearly l oo,ooo miles of travel that touched
on many Texas sites of historical and legendary interest.
Using historical data, folklore, and interviews with local oldtimers,
the author tells vividly what happened at each site, whether in recent
years or centuries ago. He makes each place more interesting and his
book, methodically used, could make Texas tours more satisfying
to weekend or vacation motorists.
The book takes the reader to such places as the dinosaur tracks
near Glen Rose, the Indian pictographs at Paint Rock, the Easter
fires around Fredericksburg, the council grounds near Waco, the
Cherokee battleground in East Texas, the camel headquarters at
Camp Verde, and the Comanche campsite in Palo Duro Canyon. The
armchair traveler visits La Salle's lost fort, Jim Bowie's mine, the
jungles of the Big Thicket, the wreckage on Padre Island, the grand
panorama of the Big Bend, Tyler's rose fields, and the salt caverns
at Grand Saline. He hears the roar of forgotten battlefields, the blast
of Dick Dowling's cannon at Sabine Pass, the thunder of stampeding
buffalos, the tramp of longhorns up the Chisholm Trail, and the gush
of oil from far beneath the ground.
Yet the book has drawbacks that keep it from qualifying as history.
Each sketch is only three or four pages long and cannot describe
events in detail; and the book jumps too abruptly from one subject


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 76, July 1972 - April, 1973. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed July 29, 2015.