NORMAN D. BROWN, Editor
New Spain's Far Northern Frontier: Essays on Spain in the American
West, 1540-1821. Edited by David J. Weber. (Albuquerque: Uni-
versity of New Mexico Press, 1979. Pp. xix+321. Illustrations,
maps, bibliography, index. Paperback, $7.95; hardback, $14.95.)
The eighteen essays published in this collection, set in a framework
of thoughtful editorial comment, comprise a usefully varied sampling
of Borderlands literature. Particularly important are Mexican his-
torian Silvio A. Zavala's sweeping perspective on "The Frontiers of
Hispanic America" and Spanish historian Luis Navarro Garcia's analy-
sis of "The North of New Spain as a Political Problem in the Eigh-
teenth Century," the latter in its first English translation. Another
signal contribution is William Wroth's essay on santeros, an extraordi-
nary exposition of New Mexican folk culture, hitherto available only
in a museum exhibition catalog.
The volume begins and ends on a "now" theme: Donald E.
Worcester urges attention to the burgeoning contemporary Hispanic
Borderlands as opposed to antiquarianism; John L. Kessell wryly ad-
monishes those sacrificing scholarly objectivity to bandwagon causes
currently rolling in the Borderlands; David J. Weber probes the roots
and the damning consequences of Anglo stereotypes of Mexicans.
Traditional categories are not neglected. On exploration, George P.
Hammond expounds the lure of myth in the settlement of the South-
west, while Donald C. Cutter discusses Spain's late eighteenth-century
scientific expeditions. Consideration of institutions ranges from basic
Herbert E. Bolton on "The Mission as Frontier Institution" to the
competent later work of Sandra L. Myres on Spanish backgrounds of
the Plains cattle industry and Marc Simmons on colonial New Mexican
settlement patterns. Unfortunately, Odie B. Faulk's "The Presidio:
Fortress or Farce?" leaps from a platform of error to a conclusion which
is indeed farcical.
Newer historical techniques are best represented by Alicia Vidaurr-
eta Tjark's meaty demographic analysis of Texas, based on late eigh-
teenth-century census records. Ethnohistorian Albert H. Schroeder
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 84, July 1980 - April, 1981. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101225/. Accessed April 18, 2015.