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

Book Reviews

LeBlanc divides the prehistory of the Southwest into an early period (pre-
9oo A.D.), a middle period (900-1250 A.D.), and a late period (post-125
A.D.). Throughout his narrative, LeBlanc uses a predominantly materialist
explanation for warfare, but still acknowledges the role of culture and ritual as
a catalyst for conflict. LeBlanc explains that prior to 9oo A.D., Southwestern
Indians engaged in widespread conflict over land, as settlement areas changed
in relative value following the Native Americans' transition to agriculture in
the region. An improved climate in the thirteenth century dramatically
increased the region's carrying capacity, and the consequent easing of subsis-
tence pressures led to a lull in the fighting in the middle period. But LeBlanc
asserts that warfare erupted with unparalleled intensity in the late period as a
worsening climate reduced the carrying capacity of the region and renewed
subsistence pressures.
This is outstanding revisionist history, and as such, the questions LeBlanc
raises are as significant as those he answers. One of the most puzzling of these
unanswered questions is why warfare continued in the late period for centuries
after a dramatically reduced Southwestern Indian population consolidated into
several defensive enclaves separated by vast distances. Although numerous fer-
tile areas of the Southwest were abandoned and available for repopulation, the
natives of the region continued their attacks and raids on each other. What
were they competing for? Were there cultural reasons for this persistence of
conflict? Certainly, these questions and many others will make this thought-pro-
voking work the subject of heated controversy among scholars. But this is exact-
ly LeBlanc's intent--to spark debate over a subject previously ignored. As he
argues, security was a fundamental issue to Native Americans, and to miss or
ignore that point when examining their cultures and social structures is a seri-
ous mistake.
University of Oklahoma STEPHEN P. VAN HOAK
Congressional Popubsm and the Crisis of the z89os. By Gene Clanton. (University of
Kansas Press, 1998. Pp. xii+228. Preface, acknowledgments, introduction,
epilogue, notes, bibliography. ISBN 0-70060-913-X. $35.00, cloth.)
Clanton proposes to place the congressional Populist legislators in national
perspective. He examines the fifty Populist legislators in the United States
Congress from 1891 to 1903. Many legislators came from Kansas, Nebraska, and
North Carolina, but none were elected from Texas.
Who were these Populist congressmen, and what were their characteristics?
William Peffer, James Kyle, and Tom Watson possessed national recognition. Less
well-known Populist leaders included John Bell, William Harris, and Marion
Butler. In comparison to Democratic and Republican congressmen, age, Civil War
service, and education were not distinguishing factors. While many Americans
thought of Populist congressmen as farmers or yokels, an even half were lawyers.
Then what was the Populists' primary distinction? Clanton argues that a humane
concern for the world and a belief that all people are equal united the Populists.

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 104, July 2000 - April, 2001. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101221/. Accessed July 31, 2014.