The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 98, July 1994 - April, 1995

Book Reviews

18). By describing themselves as a racial (and victimized) minority, Mexican
Americans have benefitted in voting, in immigration, and in political control. In
doing so, however, Skerry feels that they may have diminished their chances of
becoming fully integrated into the mainstream Anglo-American society. This
view, radical but certainly thought provoking, continues to expand our aware-
ness of the complexities of Mexican American society.
Sam Houston State University A. C. CASTILLO CRIMM
El Rancho in South Texas: Continuity and Change from 1750. By Joe S. Graham.
(Denton: University of North Texas Press, 1994. Pp. x+121. Preface, bibli-
ography, index. ISBN 0-92939-858-0. $io.oo, paper.)
It is refreshing to find that someone in Texas besides myself still recognizes
that Spanish ranching played a significant part in shaping the institution in this
state. The memory of that influence is growing dim even in South Texas, the
fountainhead of Spanish rancheros in the colonial period. Sadly, even among the
general Hispanic population, the memories of their ranching heritage are slip-
ping away, yielding to twentieth-century-style Anglo cowboy culture.
Helping to keep this venerable tradition alive is Joe S. Graham, professor of
anthropology and folklore at Texas A&M University-Kingsville (formerly Texas
A&I), located in the midst of the King Ranch. Graham is rapidly becoming the
leading authority on the built environment of South Texas, its Spanish-inspired
ranch gear, and its methods of handling cattle. His latest book, El Rancho in
South Texas: Continuity and Change from 1750, sprang from a major exhibit on pri-
vate ranching that will be on display at the John R. Conner Museum in Kingsville
through November 1994 before traveling elsewhere in the region.
Far from being a catalogue of the exhibit, however, Graham's book is an ex-
tended overview of Spanish/Mexican ranching that makes informative reading
for anyone who has wondered about the impact of those early years on later de-
velopments. Graham is fully aware that Anglos made many useful contributions
to the business, and he details them as he covers the post-Civil War period. But,
working from the studies of CharlesJ. Bishko, Donald D. Brand, Francois Cheva-
lier, LeRoy P. Graf, Richard J. Morrissey, and others who have concentrated on
the subject, Graham shows why "The ranch and its culture provide perhaps the
best example of a successful confluence of Spanish and Anglo cultures in any
modern social organization" (p. x).
He explores the roots of ranching in Spain, its northward movement to Texas
from an established base in Mexico, and how Jos6 de Escand6n's colonists plant-
ed the first ranches in the brasada country above the Rio Grande. Further, he
traces the survival of their practices into the modern era, providing hands-on ex-
amples of how ancient techniques, equipment, and architectural styles became
adapted through time. The book is copiously illustrated with photographs, en-
abling the reader to follow the development of ranching into the oil-and-gas era.
Lastly, Graham gives a view of two modern ranches, El Randado and Alta Vista,
with the conclusion: "Together, the ranch and the cowboy represent a major

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 98, July 1994 - April, 1995. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101216/. Accessed September 23, 2014.