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

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

Hardin's narrative is also clear and readable but does not scant interpretation,
building on lines he sketched in previous articles. The contest was not an un-
equal one won by superior valor. Mexican advantages, including better cavalry,
artillery, officer training, unified command, and discipline, were offset by prob-
lems of distance, poor side arms, and leadership failures. Santa Anna's strategic
vision favored personal goals of glory and politics over sound military principle
and led to a squandering of resources at the Alamo and overextension in the
campaign leading to San Jacinto. By contrast, Jose Urrea used his advantages
ably in cutting the enemy apart on open ground near Goliad.
The Anglo-Celtic and Tejano insurgents struggled with problems of discipline
and stamina but could fight fiercely and inflict lethal damage with their rifles, as
evidenced by the battles in and around B6xar in 1835 as well as in the climactic
engagement. They also struggled with problems of disunified and inconsistent
command. In this regard Hardin shares in the soldiers' debate about the fitness
of Sam Houston. Generally Hardin views Houston as incoherent in his strategic
concepts and self-serving in plotting to undermine his rivals. As to his conduct in
the San Jacinto campaign, Hardin presents the participants' "two distinct im-
ages" of Houston as either timidly uncertain or coolly confident and concludes
that "neither view is entirely true nor entirely false" (p. 208). This hedge, while
understandable, is not entirely sufficient.
Hardin might also have given more attention to problems of commissary and
ordnance resulting from weak military infrastructure; however, on balance this is
an excellent book. It is reasonably inclusive of Mexican perspectives, very good
on the Tejanos who fought on both sides, and devoid of the parochial chauvin-
ism that has often weakened Texas military history from this period. Texian Iliad
strikes a nice balance between the research demands of professional scholarship
and the narrative and pictorial expectations of the public.
McMurry University PAUL D. LACK
Texas Boundaries: Evolution of the State's Counties. By Luke Gournay. (College Sta-
tion: Texas A&M University Press, 1995. Pp. x+138. Preface, index. ISBN o-
89096-653-2. $29.50.)
Texans are highly conscious of their state's history and geography. Operating
on the premise "draw a map for me so I can understand it" (p. ix), Luke Gour-
nay of Kerrville digitally produced fifty-two maps to illustrate how the external
and internal political boundaries of Texas developed over a period of more than
two hundred years.
After a brief discussion of Texas boundaries during the Spanish and Mexican
periods, Gournay moves into the major focus of this work-namely, how the
state's internal political geography has changed since the period of the late Re-
public and early statehood. He notes that boundaries established during the Re-
public continue to be visible, in some cases, in the state's present geographic
boundaries. Gournay's discussion of the original twenty-three "municipalities" is
essential for an understanding of how all Texas counties later developed under

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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 December 28, 2014.