The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 99, July 1995 - April, 1996

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

Mexican Americans who struggled for survival within a frontier economy, and
deserves as much attention from Chicano historians as do other historical gener-
ations.
Gonzalez also notes that Chicano history up to the World War II era has been
as much a rural experience as an urban one. In comparing these two situations,
he finds rural conditions placing greater restrictions on women, while urban
conditions provide better opportunities for children to attend school. For
Gonzalez, the Chicano urban experience, described in several outstanding
monographs, cannot be generalized to depict the world of Mexican workers in
rural settlements.
Most significantly, Gonzilez argues for the use of an economic framework to
explain the history of Mexican Americans. Such an approach could allow for a
comparison of the Chicano past with other segments of the U.S. working class,
and would supplant the race/culture model which he finds inadequate for
explaining Mexican American history. For Gonzilez, the citrus economy shaped
the lives and culture of citrus workers more than did ethnic relations. An eco-
nomic perspective, whether applied to a rural, urban, mining, ranching, or lum-
bering setting, would allow for Chicano history to be more readily integrated
into mainstream historiography. As it is, Chicano history is considered a
subtopic, categorized as "ethnic studies," of U.S. history.
Well-organized, forcefully argued, and interesting to read, Labor and
Community is an important study not only for its coverage of its subject but also
for the several theses it advances. The monograph will become a standard, along
with related works such as Dennis Valdes's Al Norte: Agricultural Workers in the
Great Lakes Region, z9z7-z970 (University of Texas Press, 1991), for further
examinations of rural Chicano history, and its provocative arguments are certain
to receive deserved consideration.
Angelo State University ARNOLDO DE LE6N
Growing Up Western. Edited by Clarus Backes. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1990.
Pp. xi+22o. Foreword, photographs. ISBN 0-39457-393-5. $22.95.)
In Growing Up Western seven of the region's most distinguished and versatile
writers recall their early years in varied parts and settings of the West-towns
and cities, ranches and homesteads. Without being too specific about it, these
brief essays are ruminations on the nature of regional identity. They are also
entertaining, sometimes moving, often funny, and, not surprisingly, beautifully
written. As a study of western-ness, this book has obvious limitations; a more
accurate title, for instance, might have been Growing Up Western and Male. But for
its blend of insight and pleasure, it is a collection well worth reading.
All the authors-Dee Brown, A. B. Guthrie Jr., David Lavender, Wright
Morris, Clyde Rice, Wallace Stegner, and Frank Waters-were born during the
first ten years of our century. As Larry McMurtry notes in the foreword, they rep-
resent "the first generation the settled West produced" (p. xi). They were
shaped by and wrote from those transition years between the turbulence of west-

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 99, July 1995 - April, 1996. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101217/. Accessed September 20, 2014.