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

Book Reviews

siege of Vicksburg, after which he was paroled and promoted to lieutenant
colonel. His regiment severely reduced by casualties and disease, twice-wounded
Pierson and his command ended the war as provost guards at the prisoner-of-
war compound at Shreveport.
Editors Cutrer and Parrish give the reader an admirable scorecard as an intro-
duction to the personalities and events recounted. Their work is a keeper.
Marshall and Fort Worth Max S. Lale
Texas Past: Enduring Legacy. By Andrew Sansom, photographs by Wyman Meinz-
er. (Austin: University of Texas Press [Texas Parks and Wildlife Press],
1997. Pp. xiv+150. Illustrations, acknowledgments, foreword, prologue,
epilogue, bibliography, site information. ISBN 1-885696-19-1. $39.95,
cloth).
Conceived as the companion to Texas Lost (Texas Parks and Wildlife Press,
1995), Texas Past does not present the natural wonders of Texas, but rather, with
preservation as the objective, author Andrew Sansom, executive director of the
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and photographer Wyman Meinzer intro-
duce outstanding examples of the state's historical heritage. The book, divided
into ten chronological chapters, is devoted to the physical remains of the main
cultures, ethnic groups, and changing forces whose interactions with one anoth-
er have over the centuries shaped the most singular features of Texas. The aes-
thetic value of these remains is displayed in Meinzer's photographs while
Sansom's text explains their historic value.
Meinzer's photographs are, without a doubt, the best asset of the book. They
alone justify the publication of the volume and, in a sense, they could have consti-
tuted a separate book in their own right. These high-quality images portray land-
scapes and buildings, draw the reader closer to architectural details and historic
relics, capture Indian paintings from rock walls, and document the painstaking
work involved in historic preservation activities, such as archeological excavations.
Beyond their value as illustrations, the photographs reveal the historic value of the
sites, and encourage the reader to visit them.
On the other hand, Sansom's text seldom describes the sites portrayed in the pic-
tures, but rather provides a context to them. To make the book accessible to a wide
audience, Sansom avoids overwhelming the reader with historic data. Instead, he
provides only the essential information necessary to understand the different his-
torical periods, to show the significance of the sites, and to convince the reader of
the importance of their preservation. In addition to the brevity of the text, Sansom
employs other devices to make the subject material more immediate to the reader.
For instance, he frequently appeals to the reader's emotion or patriotism, he sea-
sons the text with personal experiences and remarks, and he uses some anachro-
nisms (such as comparing Cabeza De Vaca's exploration of Texas with the explo-
ration of the moon) to make the historic data easier to digest. His lively writing also
helps to make the book readable to any audience. Sansom's style is highly commu-
nicative, although at times slightly pompous and too eager to praise Texas's past.

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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 December 18, 2014.