NORMAN D. BROWN, Editor
Big Bend on the Rzo Grande: Biography of a National Park. By John R.
Jameson. (New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 1987. Pp. xi+ 171.
Preface, maps, photographs, notes, epilogue, appendix, bibliog-
raphy, index. $32.)
Our understanding of America's national parks began with books
about the entire institution, and such books continue to be written.
Alfred Runte's National Parks: The American Experience (revised edition,
1987) is an example. But in order to really understand what some
would call the United States' most unique and admirable contribution
to world civilization, there is a need for detailed monographs concern-
ing individual parks. In this history of Big Bend National Park John R.
Jameson has added another stone to the edifice of our knowledge
about the American style of preserving and using nature. The story will
not need to be retold for a long time. Jameson has done his homework
and his fieldwork. The archival research in Texas and in Washington,
D.C., is impressive. Granted, all but the most enthusiastic partisans of
Big Bend may find in this book more than they want or need to know,
but it is important, for the record, that the detailed history be com-
piled, and this Jameson has done.
In Big Bend we learn that a national park is not created when it is
created. In this case the date was 1935, but that date only marked the
intent of the federal government to establish a park. Times were hard
in the depression decade, and funds for national parks in remote Texas
deserts were not readily available. Not until the 197os did the land ac-
quisition process near completion. Jameson tells this complex story
well. It revolves around the work of dedicated people who appreciated
the beauty and uniqueness of the Big Bend country. Texans and those
interested in American history will note with interest the involvement
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101212/. Accessed October 2, 2014.