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

Book Reviews

it does not fit their shallow dogmas. However, readers interested in the history of
the old West, especially the early nineteenth-century border West will find this
an intriguing illustration of what that extraordinary manuscript collector, Lyman
Draper, and the historian Frederick Jackson Turner meant by the term "fron-
tier." There was indeed a cutting (literally vis-i-vis trees, etc.) edge of settlers in
the Missouri-Illinois-Wisconsin country that lived among and confronted hostile
Indians. Moreover, in the context of early land surveys (mostly of Indian lands)
on page 26, the author refers to "conflicting, overlapping ('shingled') claims."
Those historians seriously wishing to define the "West" might well consider this
phenomenon closely. East and a little beyond the Mississippi, "Wests" over-
lapped, shingled as Euro-Americans and Native Americans moved West, hence
Turner's frontier concept seems to fit that region-from Kentucky and Ohio to
the Mississippi's western shore. Beyond the Mississippi there was a vast geograph-
ical blank-for Anglos and Spaniards alike. This was the West and a part of it was
the Southwest.
University of Texas at Austin WILLIAM H. GOETZMANN
Lawman: The Life and Times of Harry Morse, 1835-1z92. By John Boessenecker.
(Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1998. Pp. xviii+366. Illustrations,
preface, acknowledgments, prologue, notes, bibliography, index. ISBN
0-8061-3011-3. $29.95, cloth).
Harry Morse, who began his career in law enforcement in 1864, was among
the West's most famous lawmen. In Lawman: The Life and Times of Harry Morse,
1835-19z2, author John Boessenecker has presented this colorful larger-than-
life lawman in an exciting contribution to California's historical literature.
Spanning five decades, Morse's career as a lawman began as a gunfighter
against a small army of desperados which led to his being elected sheriff of
Alemeda County in 1864. His career later expanded as he became San
Francisco's foremost private detective.
Boessenecker includes in this biography an important contribution to the his-
tory of California and the West, as well as to the history of law enforcement.
Hispanic crime and its causes, racial prejudices, immigration, and police brutali-
ty are vivid throughout the book. These issues, even today, remain as concerns
throughout the nation.
The reader is fortunate in that Harry Morse loved to tell of his adventures.
The author has included, in his own narrative, diaries, memoirs, correspon-
dence, and even drawings by Morse. Numerous rare photographs of both law-
men and outlaws further enhance this gripping tale. It is somewhat amazing how
definitive Morse's records are and how Boessenecker has blended Morse's work
with his own as he chronicles this once-forgotten story.
Boessenecker has shown the personality of Harry Morse and his place in the
frontier life of California, the clash between the cultures of both Anglos and
Hispanics and the transition from the ranching era of the early days to a highly
commercial state in the western United States. A statement included in the fore-

1999

413

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 6, 2015.