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

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

by conjectural phrases. No real new light is shed on Travis's marriage
or his reasons for coming to Texas, although several new "legends" (p.
26) and "family . . . stories" (p. 27) are presented. Once Travis is in
Texas and the documentary subsoil becomes firmer, the narrative is
more convincing. The events leading up to the revolution are skillfully
recounted, the frontier society of Anahuac and San Felipe is realistically
recreated, and Travis emerges as a restless, impulsive, brash figure, anx-
ious, in the final months, for a military command.
The chapter dealing with the siege of the Alamo is well-written,
drawing upon the work of Williams, Mixon, Walter Lord, and the
newly translated narrative of Enrique de la Pefia. However, the author
sometimes ventures onto thin ice in order to put the reader in touch
with the thoughts of his characters. For instance, in discussing Travis's
attitude toward Mexicans, he mentions J. M. Rodriguez's account of
Travis's visits to his home in San Antonio and says that "Rodriguez...
did not feel like a man who was being abused" (p. 158). In fact Rod-
riguez, who was six years old at the time, does not say how he felt, but
he does give a long account of a conversation between his father Am-
brosio and Travis, which the author inexplicably ignores.
On the whole, this is a competent book, but there is nothing new in
it, and one suspects that there will never be anything new about Travis
until some new cache of documents comes to light. When they do, this
reviewer hopes that Professor McDonald finds them, because he is a
lively writer who deserves the chance to do justice to his subject.
Dallas Historical Society LONN TAYLOR
Mexico's Miguel Caldera. By Philip Wayne Powell. (Tucson: Univer-
sity of Arizona Press, 1977. Pp. vii+322. Preface, appendices, bib-
liography, index. $14.95.)
The reader assumes when he reaches Chapter Seven of this biography
that he will finally learn something about Miguel Caldera. The first
ninety-five pages, afflicted with words, dimly reveal the existence of a
man who has largely escaped history. The author advances plausible
guesses as to what Caldera might have been doing and thinking while
growing to the age of thirty-three in the Chichimera war zone. Powell
has extrapolated these guesses into a character-set; but it is without
proven substance.
Beginning in Chapter Seven, Caldera enters the historical record,
though infrequently. Powell suggests greatness: perhaps Caldera influ-

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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 March 6, 2015.