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

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

A strength in the book is the author's discussion of the relationships between
Spaniards, mestizo frontiersmen, and Indians. The importance of the mestizo in
frontier society is often overlooked. New information is provided on this very sig-
nificant aspect of frontier Indian contact.
The bibliography is good, but Salm6n does not appear to have consulted sev-
eral significant works that would have been important to this study. These in-
clude Oakah Jones's Los Paisanos: Spanish Settlers on the Northern Frontier of New
Spazn and Nueva Vizcaya: Heartland of the Spanish Frontier. Thomas Naylor and
Charles Polzer's The Presidio and Militia on the Northern Frontier of New Spain,
1570-z 700 is also conspicuously absent.
Salm6n's effort to develop a "synthesis of resistance" fails, not so much be-
cause of a lack of research, but because no clearly defined synthesis emerges.
Midwestern State University HARRY HEWITT
Coronado's Land: Essays on Daily Life in Colonial New Mexico. By Marc Simmons (Al-
buquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1991. Pp. xii+x83. Preface,
black-and-white photographs, illustrations, selected readings, index.
$19.95.)
With many exceptional books to his credit, Marc Simmons is eminently well
qualified to write a social history of colonial New Mexico. Only John L. Kessell
and Oakah Jones rank in the same league among living historians of this era.
But while Simmons has previously written some fine broad histories of the
Southwest, his new book is hardly a sweeping survey of life on New Spain's
northern frontier. Instead, it is a series of short, loosely connected chapters de-
picting the great challenge of daily survival in colonial times. In the author's
words, "If one seeks an underlying theme [to this work], ... it can be found in
the Hispanic New Mexicans' ongoing struggle to come to terms with their beau-
tiful but grudging homeland and in their efforts to adapt and make do with what
the frontier had to offer" (p. xii).
Each chapter of Coronado's Land therefore focuses on one or another aspect of
the Herculean effort to "adapt and make do" in remote New Mexico. Topics run
the gamut from the mundane problems of dress and diet to the more critical
matter of defense in an often hostile environment. On the lighter side, male and
female hair styles, playing cards, and the "unmentionable subject" (p. 21) of
colonial toilet facilities are described in as much detail as existing historical doc-
umentation allows. Other intriguing chapters follow.
Perhaps the main objection readers may have to Coronado's Land is that it is
too short. Having revealed several dimensions of New Mexico's social history in
twenty essays averaging five pages each, Simmons might well have added several
more. They are simply that good. Instead, the second part of his book is domi-
nated by three rather obscure colonial reports. The wisdom of including these
documents must be questioned, especially given Simmons's own concern regard-
ing the difficulty of "separating fact from fiction" (p. 117) in historical material
when the Spanish, like all humans, were prone to borrow "both from reality and

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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 23, 2014.