The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 96, July 1992 - April, 1993

Southwestern Hzstorical Quarterly

they want to know about the century-and-a-half of Spanish occupation; and
second, and most important, he fails to define, within the scope of his study,
the geographic area that constitutes the Big Bend region of Texas. Is it essen-
tially the 8o 1,000 acres that comprise the Big Bend National Park, or does he
include the vast "Rio Grande Frontier" identified in the frontispiece map? The
text encompasses both areas. There is also one glaring omission. Although the
author assigns considerable space to military activities in the Big Bend area, he
makes no mention of Fort D. A. Russell. That facility, first established as Camp
Marfa in 1911, became the region's primary military protector during two de-
cades of border depredations.
Despite the author's impressive bibliography, he makes many statements that
lack both clarification and footnote documentation. For example, "During the
Mexican Revolution (1910-1930), ten percent of Mexico's national population
emigrated to the American Southwest" (p. 107); "conservative policies of the
New Deal ... actually [ended] open ranching in West Texas" (p. 11 o); and the
"Chisos Mining Company, bolstered throughout the 193os by massive federal subsidies
[reviewer's italics], failed to recover .. ." (p. 126). And designating Walter Pres-
cott Webb as "the nation's foremost authority on Texas history" (p. 184) seems
to indicate that the author is not fully aware of Webb's professional status as a
scholar and historian.
Arthur Gomez's efforts, however, have been worthwhile. His work, jointly
sponsored by the National Park Service, will serve as an invaluable handbook
for the growing number of people visiting the Big Bend country. They will
emerge with a more comprehensive understanding of where they are, and of
all those who were there before them.
Austzn KENNETH B. RAGSDALE
The Southern Forest: A Chronicle. By Laurence C. Walker. (Austin: University of
Texas Press, 1991. Pp. xii + 322. Preface, afterword, appendices, index,
photographs. $29.95.)
The importance of forests and land use to the development of the South has
been well documented in recent years in several outstanding books. Thomas D.
Clark's The Greening of the South (Lexington: University of Kentucky Press,
1984), Albert E. Cowdrey's This Land, This South (Lexington: University of Ken-
tucky Press, 1983), and Thomas R. Cox's Thzs Well-Wooded Land (Lincoln: Uni-
versity of Nebraska Press, 1985) come readily to mind. In addition, a few years
ago John H. Napier III explored the longleaf pinelands of south Mississippi in
his Lower Pearl River's Pney Woods: Its Land and People (University, Miss.: Center
for the Study of Southern Culture, 1985), and such older books as Frank Hey-
ward's History of Industrial Forestry in the South (Seattle: University of Washington
College of Forestry, 1958) and Nollie Hickman's Mississippi Harvest: Lumbering
in the Longleaf Pine Belt, z840-1915 (University, Miss.: University of Missis-
sippi, 1962) remain useful. To this body of literature is now added the book
under review, a superb survey of the history of southern forests from colonial
times to the present by a writer uniquely qualified to offer valuable insights.

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 96, July 1992 - April, 1993. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101215/. Accessed September 2, 2014.