The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 83, July 1979 - April, 1980

Book Reviews

River Valley. Lindsay Baker, an associate curator at the Panhandle-
Plains Historical Museum at Canyon, has given us a beautifully written,
meticulously researched account of this unusual and interesting ethnic
minority. Because so much material published these days on ethnicity in
America is thinly veiled propaganda, often written in hackneyed En-
glish, I was genuinely pleased to encounter, in Baker's book, the handi-
work of a skilled scholar and writer. The author acquired the necessary
foreign-language skills, carried out abundant field research overseas, and
used ingenuity in finding primary source materials. Nearly one-third of
the books and articles listed in the bibliography are in the Polish lan-
guage, and a like proportion of the total book is devoted to notes and
bibliography, testifying to Baker's thoroughness and skill as a research-
er. In short, Baker knows his subject and has written the definitive his-
tory of the Texas Silesians.
Given the apparent objective of the book to present the story of the
first Polish colonies in America, we should probably forgive the author
for failing to draw upon the huge body of professional literature on mi-
gration theory and process. Had Baker delved into this literature, he
might have been able to place the Silesians in a general American per-
spective. Clearly, well-known concepts such as cluster migration, "Amer-
ican letters," mother colonies, and dominant personalities are as appli-
cable to Baker's Silesian Poles as to most other migrant groups. This
shortcoming aside, The First Polish Americans is a superb empirical
study.
North Texas State University TERRY G. JORDAN
The Germanic People in America. By Victor Wolfgang von Hagen.
(Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1976. Pp. xii+404. Maps,
illustrations. $12.50.)
Some books have to be written for good and compelling reasons; the
one here under review is not one of those. Other books owe their publi-
cation to interaction between publisher and author; the resulting vol-
umes are often interesting, even fascinating. But the book under review
is not one of those, either.
By way of sampling its contents, let us examine how von Hagen deals
with the Germans of Texas. After we learn that some "titled European
entrepreneurs" had privately financed a mass movement of German set-
tlers to Texas" (p. 292), von Hagen interrupts the continuity of his
story to repeat the canard about Baron von Bastrop locating his settle-

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 83, July 1979 - April, 1980. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101207/. Accessed July 23, 2014.