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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 79, July 1975 - April, 1976

Book Reviews

double the number of its nearest competitor. It has the most extensive and
useful maps and a comprehensive index. The few errors noted are minor
and do not inhibit the enjoyment of a pleasantly written text. The illus-
trations are a mixture of old and contemporary photographs, some of
which have only marginal relevance.
Other New Mexico ghost town books, such as those by Ralph Looney
(Hastings House), Michael Jenkinson, and the Meleski family (both Uni-
versity of New Mexico Press) contain a greater wealth of information
about fewer sites and have photographs of outstanding interest and quality.
In these books the towns are grouped by region. In overall quality the
Meleski volume would rank as the runner-up to this new one by the
Shermans. The Looney and Jenkinson books have inadequate maps and
the Jenkinson book is further handicapped by having no index. The latter
is also the least inclusive and most poetically written and beautifully designed
of the lot. In brief the new Sherman book moves to the head of the list.
Institute of Texan Cultures AL LOWMAN
New Mexico Populism: A Study of Radical Protest in a Western Territory.
By Robert W. Larson. (Boulder: Colorado Associated University
Press, I974. Pp. vii+240. Index. $io.)
Robert Larson examines New Mexico during the Populist era in twelve
concise and readable chapters and finds widespread unrest, Populist rhe-
toric, one Populist candidate for delegate, and two territorial platforms of
the People's party. This concatenation produced a "territory-wide party
affiliated with the national organization" (p. 43).
As Larson well knows, New Mexico's politics describe a convoluted fac-
tional pattern that often exhibits a paradoxical simultaneity of extreme
localism and marked sensitivity to national trends. He claims, therefore,
only modest influence for the party: New Mexico Populism was "more
successful on the local level" (p. 167); "political as well as economic
opportunism was common among the Populist leadership" (p. 172); and
at most it was a "pragmatic protest effort rather than an extreme or doc-
trinaire movement" (p. 175) that may have "nudged the Democratic party
to the left" (p. 178).
Although cautious in his hunt for a "genuine" Populist presence in the
territory, he is not cautious enough. Despite two chapters describing Farm-
ers' Alliances in Lincoln and Colfax counties, Larson cannot link them to
a territorial party. He places the first legitimate People's party at Las
Vegas in I888, but does not explain its legitimacy in light of an origin


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 79, July 1975 - April, 1976. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed May 6, 2016.

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