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

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

Who would have expected them to be frontier cities by 1880o? Who
would have expected them to differ from national norms in any way but
local color?
The 8,ooo-in-188o cutoff (understandable because of the fine data in
the 188o report) unfortunately forces Larsen to include such declining
or stable cities as Leadville, Virginia City, and Achison and exclude
many places that would become major metropolitan centers: Oklahoma
City, Wichita, Tulsa, Fort Worth, Albuquerque, Phoenix, Tucson, San
Diego, and Seattle.
Larsen's point needed to be made, and the book is a justified amplifi-
cation of his 1971 article with Robert L. Branyan ("The Development
of an Urban Civilization on the Frontier of the American West,"
Societas I [Winter, 1971], 35-50); but it is too heavy handed and repeti-
tive. Admittedly few Negroes appear in western movies, but the asser-
tion that "viewers of these dramatic productions tacitly understood that
downtrodden Indians represented black victims of segregation" (p. 21)
is hard to swallow. His zeal for his thesis leads him into such falacious
rhetoric as, "places of amusement, while innovative, offered little new"
(p. 46). When noticeable and potentially significant dissimilarities such
as a lower median age and a higher proportion of males to appear, he
fails to pursue them. The work is convincing and important, but had
he analyzed the cities for similarities and differences and unobtrusively
concluded that sameness prevailed it would have been more enjoyable.
Clayton Junior College BRADLEY R. RICE
The Prisoners of Perote, Containing a Journal Kept by the Author,
Who Was Captured by the Mexicans at Mier, December 25, 1842,
and Released from Perote, May i6, 1844. By William Preston
Stapp. (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1977. Pp. xxiv+226.
Foreword, illustrations. $8.95.)
Probably no event in Texas history, outside of William B. Travis's
stand at the Alamo, has attracted more attention and been the sub-
ject of more writing, at the time of its occurrence and since, than the
Mier Expedition of 1842. It is a story full of heroics, pathos, endurance,
starvation, disease, brutality, pain, and death. It is the story of some
30oo Texan adventurers, who, without governmental sanction, sought
to invade Mexico, only to suffer a humiliating defeat at Mier. It is not
surprising, therefore, that so many of its survivors kept diaries and
wrote extended accounts of their experiences and made excuses for

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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 May 24, 2015.