Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Spanning the centuries from the missions' establishment along the San
Antonio River to the creation of San Antonio Missions National Historical Park,
Fisher relates in outline fashion the rise and demise of the mission communities,
with special focus on the structures left as a reminder of their heyday. The book
is lavishly illustrated with historical photographs and images, some of which have
not been published before, as well as original drawings of the mission com-
pounds based on recent archaeological findings.
What sets this book apart from others in this genre are the interesting side-
lights that Fisher interjects that are so familiar to the readers of his earlier works.
For instance, in Chapter 2, "The Missions' Rescue and Restoration," he discusses
the growth of new neighborhoods on former mission lands, especially in the
area of missions Concepci6n and San Juan; the coming of the railroads to the
Berg's Mill community near Mission San Juan and to the neighborhood adjacent
to San Jos6; and the opening of a number of cemeteries, beginning in 1909 with
the Mission Cemetery Company. In this chapter Fisher also identifies the differ-
ence in preservation emphasis between church and secular groups: the Catholic
Church focusing on the mission churches; the secluar groups concerned with
preservation of structures in the compounds.
What also sets this book apart from the usual "coffee table book" is the tracing
of attempts to preserve the four remaining missions in a national park. Fisher's
book is not designed to give extensive detail and analysis of the evolution of his-
toric preservation with regard to the missions nor to the creation of the national
park. The extent to which these subjects are presented and dealt with, however,
gives the general reader a taste for what may be found in greater detail in more
The history narrative is in a simple, straightforward style reminiscent of
Fisher's training as a reporter. He has made an effort at historical accuracy,
though there are several minor inaccuracies, largely of the editorial variety. For
example, on page 88 the caption states that Spanish troops built the bastion at
Mission Espada, when in reality, as stated in the text on page 93, the Mexican
army constructed the bastion in the 182os.
The book's appearance also merits comment. It is a fine book, with high-quali-
ty color illustrations. The effort to contract with a prominent historical illustrator
to provide bird's-eye views of the mission compounds in the eighteenth century
is reflective of the author/publisher's high standards in producing quality work.
This book is well worth the getting for those interested in mission history and
for the general reader and visitor to the area.
San Antonzo Misszons National Historical Park Rosalind Z. Rock
Fray Angelico Chdvez: Poet, Priest, and Artzst. Edited by Ellen McCracken.
(Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2000. Pp. xi+156. Series
editor's note, acknowledgments, introduction, contributors, bibliography of
books by Chivez, index. ISBN 0-8263-2007-4. $24.95, cloth.)
The editor of this book concedes that the omission of "historian" in its subtitle
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 April 27, 2015.