The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 102, July 1998 - April, 1999

104 Southwestern Historical Quarterly July
practices coexisting with Roman Catholicism, in some cases conveniently ignor-
ing mutual exclusions of contradictory belief.
Although this volume makes no explicit reference to Texas, it offers impor-
tant considerations for the future study of the Texas missions. Vecsey holds that
the Spanish missionary effort failed, at least in the regions he studied, from the
moment of establishment, since the missions never created normative Roman
Catholic communities among Native Americans. Instead, with the missions of
Arizona, New Mexico, and California began an enduring history of tension and
conflict between the two religious traditions that continues to the present time.
These tensions have, according to Vecsey, at the least partially influenced the
historiographical assumptions of the "New Mission History" along with current
Native American activism directed against interpreting in positive fashion the
heritage of Spanish colonialism in the Southwest.
Austin College Light Townsend Cummins
Voices from the San Antonio Missions. By Luis Torres. (Lubbock: Texas Tech
University Press, 1997. Pp. xv+301. Illustrations, foreword, preface,
acknowledgments, appendices, index. ISBN o-89672-378X. $24.95, cloth).
This compilation of eighteen oral interviews is an expanded version of a re-
port prepared for the National Park Service. Interviewees include lifelong resi-
dents of San Antonio's mission communities, civic leaders, persons interested in
historic conservation and preservation, and the priest who represents the Arch-
diocese of San Antonio on issues that concern the four sites in the San Antonio
Missions National Historic Park. The author conducted most of the interviews
himself, and brought to the project his experience as regional editor for the
Southwest and Mexico on the staff of the National Geographic Society's Traveler
magazine.
Not surprisingly, the anecdotes, reminiscences, and observations related in
the various interviews cover a range of topics and perspectives. Collectively these
testimonies illuminate how Missions San Jose, Concepci6n, San Francisco de la
Espada, and San Juan Capistrano are not just markers of a distant past but vital
centers of ongoing communal life and activity. One particularly striking feature
in several of the oral histories is the description of the missions' aura and mys-
tique. As interviewee Cliff Buech6 put it, "I love to go to Espada and San Juan
Capistrano, because you don't even realize that you're in San Antonio when
you're out there. You're in a different world; you're somewhere else" (p. 125).
Torres chose the subjects for his interviews in consultation with National Park
Service officials. His initial investigations surfaced a list of about one hundred
potential interviewees from whom he selected his cross-section of eighteen. He
then conducted individual, taped conversations at a site familiar to the intervie-
wee and in his or her language of choice: Spanish, English, or a combination of
both. Afterwards, Torres transcribed the questions and answers from each inter-
view, editing the verbatim conversations to make them more readable in written
form. He also translated Spanish passages, except in cases where Spanish expres-

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 102, July 1998 - April, 1999. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101219/. Accessed April 21, 2014.