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

Book Reviews

The Trader on the American Frontier: Myth's Victim. By Howard R.
Lamar. (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1977- PP-
53- $5.)
In this slim but provocative volume, a symposium presentation at
Texas A&8M in 1976, Yale's distinguished Howard R. Lamar spotlights
the significance of the trader in frontier history. "In the history of the
trans-Mississippi West," he declares, "the trader and trade relations
were the key to Indian-white relations from 1600o to 1850, a period long-
er than that of our nation's existence" (p. 17). Actually, he might have
advanced the terminal date almost to the present, for the trader con-
tinued to play a crucial role in the reservation period of Indian history.
Trade significantly altered the Indian's material culture but not his
basic attitudes, beliefs, and customs-always excepting the revolutionary
changes wrought in the culture of the Plains Indians by the horse and
the gun. Nonmaterial changes were to be the role of others, not so com-
mercially motivated, such as Indian agents, teachers, missionaries, and
"practical farmers." Lamar also deals with captives and slavery, a di-
mension of Indian trade relations often neglected or minimized. In the
Southwest it was a large factor indeed.
Lamar's essay places trade and trader in a broader context and longer
time sequence than is customary. Thereby he succeeds in his purpose of
liberating the trader from the traditional stereotypes and presenting
him, in all his variety of incarnations, as a more influential determinant
of frontier history than is normally appreciated.
Advisory Council on Historic Preservation ROBERT M. UTLEY
Broadcloth and Britches: The Santa Fe Trade. By Seymour V. Connor
and Jimmy M. Skaggs. (College Station: Texas A&M University
Press, 1977. Pp. xii+225. Preface, illustration, maps, recommended
reading, index. $10.95.)
At first glance one might question the need for another book on the
Santa Fe trade. A closer examination soon reveals that such reservations
are unfounded. After studying the plethora of published and unpub-
lished material on the subject, Seymour V. Connor and Jimmy M.
Skaggs have synthesized this vast amount of data into a readable and
comprehensive book. Equally as significant, the authors have placed the
Santa Fe trade in its historical perspective, showing how political and
economic decisions in Spain, Mexico, Texas, and the United States af-
fected its overall success.


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 81, July 1977 - April, 1978. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed March 29, 2015.