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

Book Reviews

The generally attractive format of the book is marred by the text-
book device of "Historical Highlights," brief essays within the text on
subjects like the "ABC" loan and thumbnail sketches of company he-
roes like Jesse H. Jones, whom Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed head of
the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. These, along with the pictures
of these earnest men, add an element of corporate self-promotion that is
generally avoided in the excellent text.
Lehigh University WILLIAM G. SHADE
Eagle zn the New World: German Immigration to Texas and America. Edited
and with an introduction by Theodore Gish and Richard Spuler.
Foreword by Richard Thoma. (College Station, Tex.: Texas A&M
University Press for the Texas Committee for the Humanities,
1986. Pp. xxiv+252. Foreword, introduction, illustrations, notes,
index. $28.50.)
This handsomely produced book grew out of a 1983 symposium at
the University of Houston for the tricentennial of organized German
immigration to America. Most of the dozen essays deal with the large
number of German immigrants and their descendants in Texas. The
emphasis is on art, literature, language, folklore, and nonmaterial
culture.
Adopting an "ecological perspective" (p. 26), Glenn E. Lich explores
suggestively the interaction of Hill Country settlers of the 184os and
185os with the natural environment and the Anglo-Mexican world. For
example, he seeks to explain the abandonment of efforts to create
agrarian villages on the European model and accommodation to the
American pattern of rural dispersal. Gilbert J. Jordan uses poems and
stories to demonstrate how part of the German cultural heritage be-
came Texan and came to be transmitted in English. In a provocative
essay Ingeborg Ruberg McCoy presents a feminist brief for consider-
ing women as the conservers of German culture in Texas. She hints at
how she would try to prove that menfolk jettisoned that heritage. Joseph
Wilson argues convincingly that Texas German is a variant of standard
German, not a dialect. He also shows that German Wends in Texas gave
up Wendish, a Slavic language spoken in small linguistic islands in cen-
tral Germany, a generation or two before abandoning German. Texan
Wends shifted their ethnic identity to German in the late nineteenth
and early twentieth centuries when the German language displaced
Wendish as their mother tongue.
Wistful about the exploitation of remnants of German culture in
Texas as tourist attractions, some contributors criticize European Ger-
mans for neglecting and disparaging Germandom in America. But

279

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 91, July 1987 - April, 1988. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101211/. Accessed October 23, 2014.