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

Book Reviews

annals of Roman Catholicism in Texas or the saga of higher education
in the state.
Texas Catholic Historical Society PATRICK FOLEY
In Mexican Prisons: The Journal of Eduard Harkort, 1832-r 834. Trans-
lated and edited by Louis Brister. (College Station, Tex.: Texas
A&M University Press, 1986. Pp. xii+ 194. Acknowledgments, in-
troduction, notes, bibliography, index. $23.50.)
In Mexican Prisons is a pleasant but modest addition to the relatively
undeveloped field of the early Mexican republic. In 1828 Eduard Har-
kort arrived in Mexico to work for the British-owned Mexico Company.
An expert in mining techniques who could not cope with the duties to-
ward a large family in his native Germany, Harkort lived in Mexico un-
til his expulsion in 1835. When problems developed with one of his su-
periors in the company, Harkort joined Antonio L6pez de Santa Anna's
army to support the Mexican leader's professed federalism. Once Santa
Anna decided to rule Mexico as a centralist dictator, Harkort opposed
him, which led to his capture and deportation. Although not covered in
this book, Harkort joined leaders of the Texas independence move-
ment and spent most of his time fortifying Galveston until his death in
September, 1836.
Unfortunately, the scope of this book is limited to a very brief period.
The bulk of the material, referred to as the Puebla Journal, covers the
year 1832. Fourteen pages of letters covering 1834 conclude In Mexican
Prisons.
Harkort had the ability to write vividly. His colorful descriptions of
early nineteenth-century Mexico are pleasant as well as instructive.
Harkort's journal contains a very interesting memoir of rural life in
Oaxaca and Veracruz, particularly the daily lives of the Indians and the
corrupt clergy.
Military events constitute the bulk of Harkort's writings. Those inter-
ested in the career of Santa Anna will find a revealing account of the
appeal he held for his followers. Harkort was basically a scientist, but
his service in the Prussian army enabled him to excel at soldiering in
Mexico. Strangely enough, Harkort received lenient and often pleasant
treatment as a prisoner of war.
Louis E. Brister, a professor of German at Southwest Texas State Uni-
versity, has edited the material thoroughly. Not only does In Mexican
Prisons contain a solid introduction, but it is also accompanied by forty-
four pages of illustrative footnotes. A very complete index and a help-

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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 August 1, 2014.