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

Southwestern Hzstorical Quarterly

To be sure, Fierman is quite clear in indicating the difficulties that
the small number of Jews encountered in maintaining their religious
and ethnic cultures in frontier areas without a rabbi before 1899. Reli-
gious services were infrequent at best, dietary strictures went by the
wayside, and the scarcity of Jewish women made the formation of new
Jewish families difficult. Needless to say, hardly any Jewish education
was provided for the children.
But the purpose of Fierman's works-in this book as well as in his
earlier writings-is not to show what Jews failed to accomplish but to
emphasize where they were and what they did in the pioneering days
of the Southwest. The tone of the collection is filiopietistic, and the fol-
lowing sentence sums up the essence of what the author wants his read-
ers to know: "No group, it is safe to say, contributed more to the rise of
Southwestern society than the Jews; their participation in the economic
and political life of the region has written a chapter of creative, vig-
orous accomplishments into its history" (p. 65).
University of Arizona LEONARD DINNERSTEIN
The Great Comanche Raid: Boldest Indian Attack of the Texas Republic. By
Donaly E. Brice. Foreword by David B. Gracy II. (Austin: Eakin
Press, 1987. Pp. x+ 122. Foreword, acknowledgments, introduc-
tion, maps, illustrations, appendix, endnotes, bibliography, index.
$10.95.)
The Comanche Raid of 1840 and the Battle of Plum Creek are two of
the most famous episodes in Texas frontier history. The basic stories
are well known, but a well-balanced interpretive look at Comanche-
white relations during this period is long overdue. Donaly Brice's The
Great Comanche Razd is, unfortunately, neither interpretive nor well bal-
anced. Instead, it presents an ethnocentrically predictable version of
these events.
Brice begins with a discussion of the massacre of Comanche peace
chiefs in the Council House Fight in March of 1840-an event that
shaped Comanche-Texan relations for the next forty years. Brice
offers the novel thesis that Mexican agents, bent on threatening the
Texas Republic, organized the Comanche revenge raid against Linn-
ville and Victoria. As evidence of international involvement, Brice
notes the presence of Mexican trade goods among the Indians' posses-
sions and argues that the Comanches could not have found their way to
coastal towns without Mexican guides. The Indians collected plunder
rather than killing settlers because, according to Brice, the Mexican
government desired to destroy supplies intended for rebels in Mexico
(p. 58).

264

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 July 14, 2014.