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

Book Reviews

ed labor in Nebraska; Jerome Edwards, in a very witty essay, explains how gam-
blers seduced a complacent Nevada; and Thomas Alexander describes how
Republicans captured Utah. This variety will no doubt add fuel to the fires of
debate over whether the West is a region with a shared past. Sandra Davis docu-
ments how Colorado politics weighed the claims of water users against those of
no-growthers; Peter Coates indicates the centrality of oil to Alaska politics; and
Richard Lowitt, Ben Procter, Phil Roberts, Peggy Bieber-Roberts, and Jerome
Alexander illustrate the continuing importance of personality in western poli-
tics.
Growth and the environment are issues in most of the essays, and the theme
of colonialism is pervasive. The Roberts team thought colonialism was damaging
to Wyoming, but David Emmons is less certain in the case of Montana.
The essays range from good to excellent and in toto are an indispensable
starting point for anyone interested in western politics.
University of North Carolina ROGER W. LOTCHIN
Colony and Empire: The Capitalist Transformation of the American West. By William C.
Robbins. (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1994. Pp. 255. Preface,
acknowledgments, notes, index. ISBN 0-70060-645-9. $29.95.)
Quest for the Golden Circle: The Four Corners of the American West, z945--97o. By
Arthur R. Gomez. (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1995. Pp.
252. Illustrations, maps, acknowledgments, introduction, notes, bibliogra-
phy, index. ISBN o-82631-540-2. $39.95.)
Here are two thoughtfully conceived and carefully written books on aspects of
the economic transformation of the West. The emphasis in Colony and Empire is
on the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and on the northern plains
and Rockies, but there are essays as well on the Southwest and on more recent
years. In Quest for the Golden Circle, defined as the "Four Corners" region of the
Southwest, the emphasis is on a twenty-five-year period after World War II.
Both books treat the idea of the West as an economic colony of the East. They
also emphasize the dominance of eastern urban areas, with abundant capital,
over western hinterland regions with little money and small populations, but var-
ious kinds of extractive resources.
Colony and Empzre is a collection of ten penetrating essays. The author, one of
America's more visible western historians, writes about dependency theory, hin-
terland struggles against metropolitan domination, the American West and capi-
talism, and the state of modern western historiography. Although there is not a
weak essay in the bunch, the first, on the writing of western history, is the most
provocative and most enjoyable.
Quest for the Golden Circle treats the boom and bust economic conditions that
existed in the Southwest between 1945 and 1970. With emphasis on four hinter-
land communities (Farmington, New Mexico; Moab, Utah; Durango, Colorado;
and Flagstaff, Arizona), Gomez stresses the subordinate role that his rural region
plays vis-a-vis a dominant "Metropolitan West" in its own economic development.

1996

427

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 October 24, 2014.