The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 103, July 1999 - April, 2000

Book Reviews

The bulk of the book is devoted to North American immigration, male and
female, by land and by sea, following the discovery of gold. Because the over-
whelming majority of these immigrants were young, single, Anglo males and
because they vastly outnumbered "acceptable" females in California, morality
was stressed in ways that most other regions of the West seldom experienced.
The plight of women-whether Indian, Mexican, Asian, or Anglo American-is
described in detail not often found in traditional histories of the West. Nor does
Hurtado ignore the male predicament in a society where sexual gratification was
hard to come by according to the accepted model of courtship and marriage.
The result is a marvelous synthesis of sex, gender, and culture at the End of the
Trail, its ugly and brutal dimensions as well as its soothing and uplifting ones.
Intimate Frontiers is definitely an example of "New Western History," but it is a
book that should have been written long ago. Solidly based on documentary evi-
dence, it gives a fresh look at the most basic aspect of the human condition: how
men and women relate in a frontier setting unlike anything their value system
has prepared them for. In addition to his scholarship, Hurtado's personal writ-
ing style makes this one of the most enjoyable books one is likely to find on a
subject matter that other writers usually approach in either a sluggish or dainty
manner. Here the vitality of these people's lives is conveyed in such immediate
terms that the book's title is fully justified.
Austin JACK JACKSON
Donzphan's Epec March: The Ist Mzssouri Volunteers zn the Mexzcan War. ByJoesph G.
Dawson III. (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1999. Pp. xii+325.
Acknowledgments, prologue, abbreviations, illustrations, maps, notes, bibli-
ography, index. ISBN 0-70060-956-3. $35.00, cloth.)
In 1847, Sen. Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri compared Col. Alexander
Doniphan to the ancient Athenian general Xenophon. Doniphan, like the leg-
endary Athenian, led his men on an epic march through hostile and forbidding
territory all the while engaging enemy forces and emerging victorious. Indeed,
both marches were undeniable proofs of their enemies' weaknesses and inability
to defend their lands. Benton, but also a substantial number of American newspa-
pers, praised Doniphan for his exploits in the war against Mexico. While many dif-
ferences certainly existed between Doniphan's trek and Xenophon's Anabasis, the
comparison was nonetheless apt. And after reading Joseph G. Dawson's Donzphan's
Epzc March: The Ist Missouri Volunteers in the Mexwcan War, one understands why so
many Americans proclaimed Doniphan an "American Xenophon" (p. 4).
Dawson, a professor of history at Texas A&M University, has written a com-
pelling account of the Mexican War as it was experienced by one regiment of
Missouri volunteers. It is, however, much more than a regimental history or
even biography; its scope and import are more far-reaching. Doniphan's Epic
March is a sophisticated and tightly-focused examination of Manifest Destiny
and nineteenth-century America's ideal of citizen-soldiering as exemplified by
"one of the best regimental commanders of a war in which several colonels
achieved fame." According to Dawson, Doniphan understood the war as a "tri-
umph of American republicanism" and as abundant evidence of God's election

2000

521

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 103, July 1999 - April, 2000. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101220/. Accessed December 28, 2014.