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

Book Reviews

Ladurie's preindustrial model to prove the resilience and changeless-
ness of Mexico's rural economy, p. 77) are ill-chosen and misleading.
And some of the grand generalizations about Mexican folk culture and
"mentality"-many derived from foreign travelers, concerning whose
reliability the author is notably ambivalent-are questionable and based,
it seems, on a very willing suspension of disbelief by the author (e.g.,
those concerning the alleged primitive irrigation and mining tech-
niques, or the absence of crop rotation, watches, even nails!). Lurking
behind all this is a rather folksy image of feisty, Rabelaisian plebeians,
whose life of boozing, brawling, and Judas burning falls victim to pu-
ritanical, cycle-pedaling killjoys. There is something in this, but it is not
nearly as simple and dichotomous as the author maintains.
It is impossible, however, not to like the book and to learn from it.
Important but neglected themes of Mexican history (e.g., sport) are
rescued and, what is more, related to a stimulating thesis concerning
Mexico's development during these crucial prerevolutionary years. If
the claims are sometimes stronger than the conclusions, that is perhaps
not surprising, given the novelty of the exercise; and it is to be hoped
that Beezley-and others-may continue to pursue this line of inquiry,
refining the conclusions and-who knows?-even validating the claims.
University of Texas at Austin ALAN KNIGHT
Building the Lone Star: An Illustrated Guzde to Hzstorzc Sites. By T. Lindsay
Baker. (College Station, Tex.: Texas A&M University Press, 1987.
Pp. xxi+ 333. Introduction, acknowledgments, maps, photographs,
illustrations, appendix, index. $37.50.)
Following the close of the Civil War, Texas underwent a remarkable
economic evolution that was accomplished through rapid advances in
the application of technology within the state. By 1936, when Texas
celebrated the centennial of its independence from Mexico, engineers
had laid almost 17,00ooo miles of railroad tracks, paved nearly 21,000
miles of roads, strung more than 18,ooo miles of high-tension electrical
lines, and built over 400oo enclosed sewer systems to serve 575 incorpo-
rated municipalities. Paced by the expansion of the petroleum indus-
try, the value of manufactures exceeded that of agriculture in Texas
for the first time in 1921, establishing the pattern for future prosperity.
Many technological achievements from the pre-World War II era in
Texas are depicted in this oversize volume written by T. Lindsay Baker,
curator of agriculture and technology at the Panhandle-Plains Histori-
cal Museum in Canyon, Texas. Baker presents 103 articles on historic

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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 27, 2015.