The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 81, July 1977 - April, 1978

Book Reviews

as the need for "sweetening," the problem of grasshoppers, and the role
of storms. Of course the more popular matters of drought, fencing,
fuel, building materials, water supplies, prairie fires, and more, also
receive attention.
This is a parochial work, drawing upon Nebraska sources exclusively,
yet the treatment of the evolution of farm machinery and of irrigation
is particularly useful in that here, Nebraska experiences can quite
comfortably be applied to the larger Great Plains context.
The major themes are not novel. Indeed there is very little in the
way of ideas or information that has not been said before but the
gathering of such a variety into one volume represents a worthwhile
contribution to the literature.
The reader finds some disappointments. One might have hoped to
find some treatment of other elements, equally important in Nebraska
settlement. The matters of crop choices, agricultural risks, building
materials other than sod, among others, are important considerations
in the demythology of the Plains and might usefully have been treated.
One might have hoped that the matter of population would have re-
ceived more specific attention. The logic by which eastern Nebraska
comes to be included within the perimeters of the "Great American
Desert" seems tenuous. Perhaps the greatest disappointment is the
author's failure to consult a number of scholars whose work is of the
first order of significance. W. M. Kollmorgen's pioneer work on land-
scape meteorology, Martyn J. Bowden's studies on Nebraska geosophy,
and Leslie Hewes's lifetime study of risk, for example, would have
added important dimensions.
The serious students of the recent frontier will find this work useful.
It is well-documented and briskly organized. Nor will the amateur
be turned away by erudition, for the material is engagingly, frequently
anecdotally, presented.
Oregon College of Education L. CARL BRANDHORST
Old Ranches of the Texas Plains. Paintings by Mondel Rogers. (Col-
lege Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1976. Pp. 124. Intro-
duction, illustrations. $27.50.)
Mondel Rogers, a young artist whose family planted itself on the
Texas Plains almost a century ago, has produced in Old Ranches an
exciting visual history of ranching architecture of his region from the
187os through 1917. Ranging in scope from dugouts to mansions, the

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 81, July 1977 - April, 1978. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101205/. Accessed December 25, 2014.