The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 82, July 1978 - April, 1979

Book Reviews

This reviewer would agree with the editor that "taken in their total-
ity, the writings of Francisco Garcia Diego reveal him as a pious, intelli-
gent, idealistic and patriotic friar caught up in a web of political in-
trigue utterly beyond his control. What emerges is the portrait of a
dedicated but frustrated religious whose labors for his people were beset
by secularization, public apathy and governmental interference" (p. xii).
But these writings also reveal that Father Garcia Diego was not the man
to lead the Church during the troubled period in California. He comes
forth as little more than a clerical technician concerned with plans for
grandiose buildings and administering a diocese which existed only on
paper. The state of the Church was truly sad in the 183os and 184os but
the good Franciscan could have done more than whine about it and ad-
vocate a return to the earlier mission state. Nowhere does Garcia Diego
reveal that he understood the hostility of the "gente de razon" towards
the Church or why they were so unwilling to support it financially.
In fairness-perhaps even a more talented man would have been no
more successful as a Church leader at that time and place. The hatreds
kindled in earlier years between the clergy and the laity were too im-
placable. And by the 183os the Californians distrusted all Mexicans. As
properly noted, "the bishop would doubtless have fared better if his
cradle had stood in Spain rather than in Mexico" (p. 21).
In conclusion, this work sheds additional light on the late Mexican
period and justly deserves a place in any collection of Californiana.
University of California at Fullerton WARREN A. BECK
Life in Custer's Cavalry: Diaries and Letters of Albert and Jennie
Barnitz, 1867-1868. Edited by Robert M. Utley. (New Haven: Yale
University Press, 1977. Pp. xiv+302. Preface, illustrations, appen-
dices, bibliography, index. $15.)
Shortly after the Civil War, a dashing young cavalryman, Albert
Barnitz, met and courted a beautiful Ohio debutante, Jennie Platt. He
was "a veteran of several score combat actions and author of numerous
verses that commanded no more than a modest readership." She was
"twenty-five ... very beautiful and very conscious of it." Despite differ-
ences in background and temperament, Albert and Jennie "shared an
ambition for intellectual freedom and enrichment" (p. 3). After their
marriage in 1867 this literary and lively couple began an exchange of
letters and journals which form the basis of Life in Custer's Cavalry.
In January, 1867, Albert succeeded in obtaining an appointment as

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 82, July 1978 - April, 1979. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101206/. Accessed August 29, 2014.