The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 93, July 1989 - April, 1990

Book Reviews

advocate of acculturation as well as a military innovator. Robert M.
Utley's essay on the ambitious yet talented Nelson A. Miles is particu-
larly welcome. Richmond L. Clow describes the career of the conten-
tious William S. Harney; Arrell Morgan Gibson provides a sympathetic
analysis of James H. Carleton. In contrast to the other essays, J'Nell L.
Pate's uncritical biography of Ranald S. Mackenzie fails to judge the
subject's contributions in a broad context.
The subjects of this volume also illustrate the problems of serving
in Texas and the West. Bruce J. Dinges concludes that despite mak-
ing important contributions to regional development, the absence of
West Point background, endless quests for promotion, unpopular de-
fenses of Indians and blacks, and assorted personal tragedies embit-
tered Benjamin H. Grierson. Brian W. Dippie's penetrating analysis of
George A. Custer helps explain the Custer myth. Robert C. Carriker's
essay on Frank D. Baldwin describes the influence of politics within the
postwar army; a favorite of Nelson A. Miles, Baldwin's career suffered
when Miles's suffered, and he advanced when Miles gained power.
In sum, Soldiers West is an excellent volume well worth perusal by
those interested in Texas, western, and military history. Hutton has
done an admirable job in seeing that most of the essays relate to the
central theme, which holds that the American army included a rich di-
versity of men whose careers, interests, and contributions ranged far
outside military issues. Obviously, a book of this type cannot please
everyone. No enlisted men, blacks, or women are featured, though
these groups made vital contributions to the western military experi-
ence. One is left hoping that a companion volume will make the picture
even more complete.
Corpus Christi State University ROBERT WOOSTER
The Year America Discovered Texas: Centennial '36. By Kenneth B.
Ragsdale. Foreword by Stanley Marcus. (College Station, Tex.:
Texas A&M University Press, 1987. Pp. xxi + 325. Foreword, pref-
ace, photographs, notes, epilogue, bibliography, index. $18.95.)
In this delightful monograph, Kenneth B. Ragsdale chronicles the
saga of the Texas Centennial of 1936. It is, to use a southern collo-
quialism, a "bodacious" story. What state other than Texas would stage
a 25 million dollar birthday party in the midst of the Great Depression?
Ragsdale used interviews, legislative records, private papers, news-
papers, and minutes of centennial committees to produce this book.
The Year America Discovered Texas should be of interest to Texans and
connoisseurs of Lone Star State memorabilia. It is almost quibbling to
discuss one minor flaw. Readers might have difficulty in figuring out

129

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 93, July 1989 - April, 1990. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101213/. Accessed April 21, 2015.