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

Book Reviews

Shirley Achor gathered the raw data for her dissertation and the
present book while living as a participant-observing anthropologist in
a West Dallas neighborhood mainly settled by Mexican Americans.
Gradually overcoming to some extent the suspicions and hostilities of
the resident population towards the Anglos within their midst, Achor
was able to gain the confidence of enough residents to compile this
illuminating study of contemporary "barrio" affairs. The result of the
study ranks high as an account of the reality of Mexican American
existence, "Tejano" style, in a contemporary urban area.
Like Machado, Achor finds considerable differences within the Mex-
ican American population-differences based on the occupations of
various ranks of the social and economic order. The commonly held
notion that "barrio" residents are imprisoned in their neighborhoods
by virtue of their ethnicity is considerably revised by the author. The
"barrio" with all of its poverty exerts its attractions even on those Mex-
ican Americans able to move beyond its borders. The proximity of fel-
low ethnics and a viable cultural milieu fasten a hold on many whose
upward social mobility finds resolution inside the neighborhood.
Achor's book contains a wealth of information concerning the rela-
tionships between the residents of the "barrio" and the larger Dallas
society, including important data regarding housing conditions, the
world of work, and the general sociocultural matrix in which the Mex-
ican Americans, blacks, and whites operate and interrelate. Her book
constitutes an important commentary on the present-day status of an
ethnic group whose historical evolution has been far more multifaceted
than many observers have acknowledged.
Wachtenaw Community College, Ann Arbor NORMAN LEDERER
Spanish and Mexican Records of the American Southwest: A Biblio-
graphical Guide to Archive and Manuscript Sources. By Henry
Putney Beers. (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1979. Pp.
xii+493. Appendices, bibliography, index. Paperback, $8.95; hard-
back, $18.50.)
The key to the contents and purposes of this valuable volume is
in the subtitle, A Bibliographical Guide to Archive and Manuscript
Sources. Beers set out to provide
a historical account of the acquisition, preservation, and publication, by
American institutions and individuals, of the original records created by
Spanish and Mexican officials in what became the American Southwest, from

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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 29, 2015.