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

Book Reviews

totality of Mexicano and Mexican American experience" (p. xii). The history of
Utah has also been influenced by the Hispanic population, and Chicano studies
cannot be truly understood without including the "Mormon Zion" in the scope
of its scholarship. This is an enjoyable and readable book for not only the histo-
rian, but for anyone interested in Utah history, Mormon history, or, perhaps
more especially, Chicano history; Iber avoids the confusing jargon so often used
by us historians.
Universzty of Texas at Austin Kim Richardson
The Last Buffalo: Walter E. Potts and the 92nd "Buffalo" Divzsion in World War I. By
E. B. Hogan. (Austin: Eakin Press, 2000. Pp. x+92. Photographs, bibliogra-
phy, index. ISBN 1-57168-372-0. $17.95, paper.)
This is a book about memory, "lest we forget" "the many fortunes of life"
(two of the author's chapter titles). It is not an academic history, or a history
of the 92nd Division's operations in World War I, but an homage to ancestors
in which one man's "journey of honor" (another chapter title) stands for the
African American folk experience. One hundred years old, Walter Potts (a cor-
poral in the 92nd, one of two divisions of African American troops in the war)
was "the oldest documented Buffalo soldier" (p. ix) when he invited his grand-
daughter Eva Horgan to the dedication of the Buffalo Soldier Monument in
1992. Hogan then took an extended personal leave from her work as a banker
to retrace her grandfather's story. The first half of her book is a survey of the
92nd Division's history, employing official documents and underlaid by sec-
ondary source context. It is wonderfully illustrated with numerous pho-
tographs from the National Archives and the author's collection, and provides
glimpses of mobilization, training, trench life and combat, the return to the
United States, and relations between officers and enlisted soldiers, blacks and
whites, and Americans and the French. The second half of the book tells the
story of Walter Potts's life from personal conversations with him and his many
kin, spinning out the ups and downs, the sorrows and joys, that make up the
fabric of life. Hogan has not written in order to critique white racism or
discrimination against African Americans in the military; these are facts of
life and she prefers to celebrate achievements, "because small victories are
important" (p. x).
Academic historians can tease out some intriguing information from this
book, but The Last Buffalo transcends, and in its own small way humbles, academ-
ic history. The first page defines the meaning of "Buffalo Soldiers" (a term that
has survived not only among elders but in today's hip-hop culture) in black folk
memory: "men of strength, daring, and great courage . . . men of honor and
patriotism imbued with pride in self and cause, men willing to defend the
nation's honor with their very lives." That this nation so frequently betrayed
them does not alter the value and strength of their dedication and commitment,
nor the pride from which it came and to which it contributed. Ultimately, as
Hogan says in her acknowldegments, The Last Buffalo is about "how much people

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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.