The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 104, July 2000 - April, 2001

Book Reviews
The Federal Landscape: An Economic History of the Twentieth Century West. By Gerald D.
Nash. (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1999. Pp. ix+205. Preface, after-
word, notes, bibliographic essay, index. ISBN 0-816-51988-9. $17.95, paper.)
Well-known historian Gerald Nash once again visits the American West, this
time from the viewpoint of its economic heritage. This book is the third in a trio
of The Modern American West series published by the University of Arizona
Press. In the introduction, Nash describes theories of economic history, such as
those posited by Nicolae Kondratieff, Joseph Schumpeter, and Carlota Perez,
and how they can be applied to the American West experience. He stresses eco-
nomic theory because it provides the foundation for his overview of economic
development in the twentieth-century West. Chapter One, "A Colonial Land-
scape, 1900-1929," briefly describes the initial economic forays into the West by
the government, and highlights such events as the building of the Panama
Canal, highway construction, damming of major rivers, agriculture, and the
presence of the military. In Chapter Two, "Changing the Federal Landscape in
the Great Depression, 1929-1940," the emphasis is on the government's contro-
versial activities of expansion and natural resource protection. As such, there is
considerable coverage of the agricultural and river programs of the New Deal
era. But, the author also discusses the impact of government activities on Indians
and Hispanics in the West. Chapter Three, "Expanding the Federal Landscape
in World War II, 1940-1945," reviews the turbulent and rapidly expanding pop-
ulation base of the West during the war years. A majority of this chapter discuss-
es the military and how it created a technologically oriented and service-based
environment in the West.
In Chapters Four and Five, "Recovering the West, 1945-1960," and "The
Military-Industrial Complex in the Cold War, 1945-1960," Nash expands on the
economic importance of the military and the attendant growth in manpower, city
infrastructures, burgeoning minority influences, and natural resource consump-
tion (oil, gas, minerals) and change (dams). He also does a great turn by dis-
cussing the importance of air conditioning on housing development and popula-
tion shifts. For Chapter Six, "A Period of Transition, 1960-1973," economies of
the West are overviewed in relation to the development of sunbelt cities, the bur-
geoning computer industry, and water resources development (dams). In addi-
tion, the continuing importance of Indian and Hispanic economies are dis-
cussed. Nash wraps up the book with discussions of contemporary changes in

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 104, July 2000 - April, 2001. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed August 30, 2015.