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

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

though Udall relates that he reached the same general conclusions as
those found by Herbert Eugene Bolton in Coronado: Knight of Pueblo
and Plain (New York: Whittlesly House, 1949), Udall's To the Inland Em-
pzre: Coronado and Our Spanzsh Legacy provides a fresh look and an ex-
quisite view of Coronado's travels in Texas and the American South-
west. Although the book is well written and readable, Udall offers little
evidence of extensive new research. There are neither footnotes nor
endnotes, and the bibliography is scant. Jerry Jacka's superb photo-
graphs, however, combined with Udall's concise, clearly written text
and Doubleday's excellent typography, make the publication a welcome
addition to the studies of Coronado.
Houston Center for the Humanitzes WILLIAM C. GRIGGS
River of Lost Dreams: Navigation on the Rzo Grande. By Pat Kelley. (Lin-
coln: University of Nebraska Press, 1986. Pp. xi+149. Preface,
maps, illustrations, appendices, notes, selected bibliography, in-
dex. $19.95.)
Three years ago the Texas sesquicentennial celebration bid fair to
generate much-needed scholarship on the second-largest state in the
American West. The complexity of issues, plethora of scholars, and
generous funding sources all presented opportunities that now ring
hollow in the wake of the oil-price collapse. Pat Kelley's small book on
Texas shipping entrepreneurs along the Rio Grande echoes that prom-
ise, and that failure.
A retired employee of the library at Pan American University, Kelley
found stories of the lower Rio Grande of New Mexico and Texas to be
romantic and gripping. While not a trained historian, he nonetheless
sought a connection between the massive environmental scale of the
"Great River" and the futile efforts of merchantmen to launch success-
ful shipping concerns on its waters.
Relying on limited sources, Kelley stitched together brief references
from Spanish explorers, the U.S. Army Quartermaster Department,
and several post-Civil War companies. All agreed that the river lacked
enough streamflow for year-round activity, and the aridity of the re-
gion limited the markets for commercial ventures.
Had Kelley contented himself with a brief anecdotal treatment of the
subject, perhaps readers would have found this volume amusing. Un-
fortunately, he pursued a larger thesis: that predatory economic forces,
especially the railroads and irrigation companies, had ruined the pre-
carious situation of Kelley's favored boatmen. In this regard the author
could have consulted archival materials from the U.S. Army Corps of


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 93, July 1989 - April, 1990. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed December 26, 2014.