The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003

Book Reviews

the Alamo displayed the design and colors of the American republic, not the
Mexican" (p. 12).
Maberry is strongest on the revolution, republic, and Civil War periods, while
flags carried by Texans in the Mexican War get little attention. By contrast, ban-
ners of the Lost Cause comprise four of the book's eight chapters and account
for the majority of photographs. Had the author gained access to Texan flags
filed away in the Mexican military archives, his book would have been consider-
ably stronger for the 1836-1845 years. I am informed, by a Texan with good
diplomatic connections who managed to examine this cache a few years ago,
that many more than "six still exist today," as Maberry claims (p. 43). All were in
better condition than the crumbling flag of the Alamo's New Orleans Volun-
teers, which Texans have become obsessed with recovering from Mexico. Maber-
ry states that the location of this flag--long displayed at Mexico's National
Museum of History-is no longer known (p. 27). Probably the best color repro-
duction of it appeared in Time-Life Books' The Texans (1975), and we may be
sure that someone knows its present whereabouts.
Such minor criticisms aside, Texas Flags is a pioneering study that will be en-
joyed by present readers and useful to future researchers.
Austzn JACK JACKSON
Recovering Hzstory, Constructing Race: The Indian, Black, and Whzte Roots of Mexican
Amercans. By Martha Menchaca. (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2002.
Pp. xi+389. Photographs, maps, acknowledgments, introduction, epilogue,
notes, bibliography, index. ISBN 0-292-75253-9, $55.00, cloth; ISBN 0-292-
75254-7, $24.95, paper.)
Scholars are seldom asked to review a highly useful and intellectually coura-
geous book that happens to also be deeply flawed. Martha Menchaca's Recovering
History, Constructing Race: The Indian, Black, and White Roots of Mexican Americans is
such a book.
Menchaca, an anthropologist, provides an ambitious narrative of race in Mexi-
can American history, beginning with the racial backgrounds of pre-Columbian
indigenous cultures, peoples of the Iberian Peninsula, and West African society.
Chapter Two illustrates the Spanish casta (racial caste) system through a demo-
graphic analysis of colonial Mexico. Chapter Three chronicles the expansion of
Mexico's northern frontier and its population by mestizos (Spanish and Native
American), afromestizos (African and mestizo) and Native Americans (Menchaca
uses "Indian") from Central Mexico. This chapter ends with New Mexico's 1598
colonization, which, befitting the relative racial openness of the Spanish fron-
tier, consisted of a diverse mix of colonists. The fourth and fifth chapters cover
colonization of the rest of the Southwest. Race statistics of the El Paso, Laredo,
San Antonio, Nacogdoches, and Victoria settlements will be of great benefit to
Texas historians. Menchaca notes, "Although the racial caste system was trans-
ported to Texas, it was less rigid than in the interior" (p. 1 11). Chapter Six ex-
amines liberal reforms after Mexican independence that overturned race-based,

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/. Accessed August 29, 2014.