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

Book Reviews

dispels the myths or stereotypes of the "typical" frontierswoman. Riley
uses materials from each state as examples of her main points and gen-
eralizes about the regions as a whole. The specific references to Texas
include a discussion of the myth of early marriage on the frontier and
of the number and activities of women who were ranchers and single
parents. Riley points to the absence of state suffrage, which suggests
that Texas was more southern than western when it came to politics.
The Female Frontier could be successfully used in an undergraduate
class on the West, women's history, or Texas history. The themes are
remarkably clear for arguments that are so new to historians. This
study of the Prairie and the Plains (including western Texas) will stimu-
late, and serve as a model for, future comparative studies.
U.S. Military Academy D' ANN CAMPBELL
Western Women: TheirLand, Their Lives. Edited by Lillian Schlissel, Vicki L.
Ruiz, and Janice Monk. (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico
Press, 1988. Pp. viii+354. Acknowledgments, introduction, tables,
illustrations, notes, epilogue, index. $27.50, cloth; $14.95, paper.)
Until a dozen years ago, the history of the West was taught from a
decidedly male perspective; women, if mentioned, were relegated to a
handful of roles as civilizer, sex object, male-copier, or suffragist. The
1980s has brought sweeping change. A recent bibliography cited 789
articles and books on western women published from 1984 to 1987.
More research is underway. The value of understanding women's mul-
tifaceted and essential roles is that we now have a broader, deeper, and
more accurate perspective of western history. From fur trapping to
farmers, women often made the difference between success and fail-
ure. Such research has also jolted scholars out of their nineteenth-
century topics, and they have started to document the earlier contribu-
tions by Spanish, Mexican, and Native American women and men.
An excellent introduction to this recent literature is Western Women.
Most of the chapters come from a 1984 University of Arizona confer-
ence supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Each
of the nine essays is introduced by an editor's summary and followed by
several commentaries. The commentaries are especially valuable be-
cause they often serve as mini-reviews of the commentator's own work
and help the reader add clarification, limitations, or dimensions to the
lead essays. For example, the essay by Lillian Schlissel on "Family on the
Western Frontier" traces one family and their journey to the Oregon
Territory and then uses them to test her model based on 103 diaries
of migration and other published sources. The commentaries are
by Maureen Ursenbach Beecher (specialist on Mormons), Rosalinda

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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 January 29, 2015.