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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 91, July 1987 - April, 1988

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

sufficient to fully appreciate such prose as "carry[ing] the cudgels to
curb the imbibing culprits" (p. 61). All are full of delightful anecdotes,
some of which are oft-told chestnuts. Hearing them retold is like wait-
ing for the punch line of a favorite joke.
History is a narrative art. Long before it was written down, foot-
noted, and quantified, it was told in stories around campfires by men
like the Greek Homer or the African griots among Alex Haley's an-
cestors. Somewhere along the way it became sterilized. Books like this
one remind us of history's roots as an oral medium. Buy the book and
read the essays, but do not ever pass up the opportunity to hear them
delivered "live and in person" by the author himself.
Tarrant County Junior College RICHARD SELCER
The Presidio and Militia on the Northern Frontier of New Spazn: A Docu-
mentary History, Volume 1, 1570-1700. Compiled and edited by
Thomas H. Naylor and Charles W. Polzer, S.J. (Tucson: University
of Arizona Press, 1986. Pp. x+756. Acknowledgments, introduc-
tion, illustrations, maps, notes, glossary, bibliography, index. $50.)
This is a good start on an ambitious series designed to give greater
access to the primary documents of Spanish contact with native people.
It is a spin-off from the decade-old Documentary Relations of the
Southwest project at the University of Arizona, in which both editors
are involved. In four sections, each with editorial introductions, this
lengthy book provides both original documents and translations with
footnotes. Occasional maps and illustrations enhance the text, which is
oriented not so much to the presidio and the militia as it is to the mili-
tary operations involved in cultural confrontations between Europeans
and Indians on the northern frontier of the Hispanic viceroyalty of
New Spain.
Despite the title, there is a heavy emphasis on Jesuit documents,
probably because of the priests' skill as reporters. The editors' selection
of documents leads each reader to wish for more on his or her own
area of interest and less on other areas. For example, colonial Texas is
almost totally excluded, with only modest mention of activities in the
168os and 169os in the El Paso area.
A preliminary comment on "editorial methodology" well expresses
the difficulties of paleography and the problems of translation. These
wise admonitions will be little appreciated by those who do not deal
with archival documents and will be superfluous to those who do. While
warning others, the editors are not without their own spelling and ac-
centuation errors, such as the oft-repeated San Juan de Ulloa (really


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 91, July 1987 - April, 1988. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed May 5, 2016.

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