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

Book Reviews

British diplomat Gordon Etherington-Smith, a distant relative, translated and
edited the letters and the extant diary to provide an account of the rather ideal-
istic and certainly imperialistic attitudes of the young men who went out to Mex-
ico with high hopes of financial and social success through military service to the
emperor.
Lieutenant Pitner served in Orizaba, Campeche, along the Rio Grande, and in
Quer6taro, where he was captured with Maximilian. Pitner's diary and letters
capture the ignorance of the emperor's volunteers about Mexico and Mexicans
and the tedium of military life, punctuated by lightning attacks by Benito
Jusirez's Liberal troops. Pitner endured rain, mud, yellow fever, gambling losses,
three wounds, and two terms as a prisoner of war. He served as one of the offi-
cers of the men guarding Porfirio Diaz (who later escaped), met many other
Mexican and Imperial officers, and volunteered to stay with Maximilian in the fi-
nal days at Queretaro, where after his capture the emperor was court martialed
and executed.
Pitner's sparse prose leaves the reader wishing for more information: What
was Diaz like? What was Maximilian's frame of mind during the last days in
Quer6taro? What was the nature of civilian-military relations? The reader wants
details and opinions, but receives only meager comments. For example,
nowhere does the author describe Mexican cuisine, except to comment on the
extremely high cost of living, especially the price of food. Nevertheless, the diary
and letters offer a unique perspective on the Maximilian episode in Mexico,
showing how the Austrian troops found themselves there, some descriptions of
battles and prison life, and the experience of young men in a strange land.
Etherington-Smith's introduction and editing help fit the documents in the con-
text of Mexican and European events, although his reference to the French em-
peror as Louis Napoleon, rather than his imperial title of Napoleon III, may
confuse some readers. Don M. Coerver provides a helpful and well-written note
on the Mexican background of Pitner's adventures. Military historians will find
the volume of special interest.
Texas Christian University WILLIAM H. BEEZLEY
The Jumanos: Hunters and Traders of the South Plains. By Nancy Parrot Hickerson.
(Austin: University of Texas Press, 1994. Pp. xxviii+270. Preface, introduc-
tion, notes, bibliography, index. ISBN 0-29273-083-7. $40.00.)
The term "Jumano" perplexed early scholars of the Southwest because the
documentary record shows three quite disparate indigenous populations called
by that name. First noted were Tompiro-speaking Pueblo peoples in the Salinas
district, just east of the Manzano Mountains, whose "Pueblo de los Xumanas,"
abandoned by 168o, is the impressive, well-studied ruin now known as the Gran
Quivira component of Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument, near Moun-
tainair, New Mexico. Also reported were nomadic, hunting-gathering Jumanos
of unspecified linguistic affinity, who focused seasonally on the confluence of
the Rio Grande and Rio Conchos, but traded actively across the southern plains

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1995

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 December 20, 2014.