The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 86, July 1982 - April, 1983

Book Reviews

girls' gymnastic classes, baseball teams, company dinners, Sunday
School groups, mass public baptisms, and parades of bathing beauties.
An avid traveler, he also used his panoramic cameras to photograph
Mt. McKinley, the Great Pyramids, and the Panama Canal. In 1927,
after shooting the Paris skyline from the glass roof of the Grand Palais
(in order to include the Eiffel Tower), Goldbeck's scaffolding fell
through the skylight. The $700oo damage was more than compensated
for by the $7,ooo he made in one week by selling his spectacular pano-
ramic view on the streets of Paris.
Goldbeck's most famous panoramic views, however, are those of
elaborate military formations. In 1947, he worked six weeks to plan
and shoot a photograph of 21,765 troops standing in the pattern of
the American Air Force insignia. Goldbeck carefully laid out the de-
sign with thirty miles of tape, compensating for any distortions caused
by the camera lens or the height from which the photo was shot.
Goldbeck is still alive and busy shooting color panoramas at the age
of 83. This study of his work is based on interviews with the photog-
rapher and on the 6o,ooo prints and negatives he deposited in 1967
at the Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas at
Austin. The text is a chatty and informal history of Goldbeck and his
work that is best when it sticks to the facts of his life, and weakest
when it becomes a kind of popular history of the 1920s and '3os.
Unfortunately, the author does not try to use the photographs them-
selves as sources of information. Rather, she uses them only to illus-
trate her broadly sketched descriptions of American culture.
A book on a commercial photographer is a welcome addition to the
literature of American photographic history, and it is a pleasure to see
so much of Goldbeck's work. Surely, he is among the best and most
inventive photographers to have worked in Texas. It is a disappoint-
ment, therefore, that the flat, grey reproductions in this book can't
capture the vividness of Goldbeck's photographs.
Amon Carter Museum MARNI SANDWEISS
Fort Bliss. By Leon C. Metz. (El Paso, Tex.: Mangan Books [6245
Snowheights Court, El Paso, Tex. 79912], 1981. Pp. 18o. Illustra-
tions, appendix, bibliography, index. $34.95.)
Fort Bliss is one of the oldest military bases in the United States.
When established in 1849, it was located on land leased from Benjamin
Franklin Coons and designated as the "Post Opposite El Paso" (mod-


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 86, July 1982 - April, 1983. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed November 25, 2015.