11 o Southwestern Historical Quarterly July
Sansom's documentation draws from the most recent literature published on
each historic period, hence yielding a presentation of the past that is accurate
and up-to-date by today's scholarly standards. Not only are the contributions of
the cultures, ethnic groups, and changing forces of Texas presented in a bal-
anced way, and without overemphasizing the importance of one over the others,
but the dark side of Texas's past is also faced head-on, and judged accordingly.
For example, Sansom regrets events such as the Indian Wars and the extermina-
tion of the buffalo.
In addition to its excellent photographs and its entertaining and informative
text, Texas Past is also a book beautifully presented, with an appealing layout and
a highly visual organization. Thanks to all this, the book achieves the objective of
stimulating among the general public an appreciation of Texas's historical her-
itage and the necessity for its preservation.
Southwest Texas State University Miguel L6pez Trujillo
Many Wests: Place, Culture, and Regional Identity. Edited By David M. Wrobel and
Michael C. Steiner. (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1997. Pp.
xii+385. Preface, list of contributors, index. ISBN 0-7oo6-o862-1. $19.95,
Both traditional western historians and the practitioners of the "New Western
History" have approached the history of the American West from several vantage
points: as a process of settlement and development, as a distinctive region, and
as a mythical West in song and story. As expected, this well-written, engaging
work emphasizes place over process. Indeed, the editors have put together a
series of essays that covers a variety of cultures and geographical areas-from
Texas, the American Southwest, and the northern Plains to the Rocky
Mountains, the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, and Hawaii. In the end, the authors
stress "many Wests within the larger West" (p. 1 1).
The book's interdisciplinary approach to regional history emphasizes environ-
mental and economic concerns, racial and ethnic issues, and the development
of an aesthetic West-from the early utilitarian architecture of the southern
Plains to literature's efforts to describe the landscapes of the Snake River Plain
in southern Idaho. Several essays have tried to examine the ins and outs of the
formation of a regional consciousness, as, for example, through the use of the
salmon as a regional symbol, or through economic enterprises to bring about a
tourist mecca in desert-like regions. In summary, the editors point out that
"regional identity is a complex commodity influenced by environmental and
economic forces and the expectations of outsiders" (p. 35).
Intriguing essays deal with Texas and the American Southwest. In one chapter
Arnoldo De Le6n tries to bring together ethnic and racial identities in the Lone
Star State: black culture in East Texas, Hispanic lifestyles on the border, and
Anglo traditions, especially in West Texas. With some success, he shows that the
fragmentation of societal ways of conduct in the state will be counteracted by the
rise of a "mainstream ethos" (p. 272). Also striking a particular cord is the pre-
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 July 25, 2014.