Southwestern Historical Quarterly
contends, the heartland of the Dust Bowl and the High Plains would
have been returned to a pastoral economy.
Of all the federal agencies, Bonnifield is most critical of the Soil
Conservation Service. He notes that local people and nature did more
than the federal agencies to restore the land. It was local people who
developed wind erosion control techniques and technology. These
people opposed governmental reforms and refused to form soil con-
servation districts, thus foiling the New Deal planners.
Unfortunately, Bonnifield does not view the New Deal programs in
their proper context. Two important aspects of the story of the Dust
Bowl were the development of oil and gas fields in and the expansion
of railroads through the area. New jobs were created, population in-
creased, and new towns founded. The local economies improved be-
cause of these developments; oil and gas lease monies frequently kept a
farmer on the farm.
The key to this study is the contention that most federal programs in
the area were misguided. Some readers will take issue with Bonnifield's
criticism of various federal programs, but he has amassed much good
local evidence for his arguments. By considering the heartland in
microcosm, he has developed a good argument that the farmers under-
stood the local problems and were coping with them without help
from Washington. The relief programs of late 1933 and early 1934 were
helpful, but implicit in Bonnifield's argument is the belief that the
people would have been better off without the other programs. Schol-
ars of the New Deal, the Great Plains, and agricultural history will
need to ponder the points raised in this important contribution to the
literature of the period.
Fort Hays State University JAMES L. FORSYTHE
The Golden Door: International Migration, Mexico and the United
States. By Paul R. Ehrlich, Loy Bilderback, and Anne H. Ehrlich.
(New York: Ballantine Books, 1979. Pp. 402. Preface, bibliogra-
phy, index. $12.95.)
This is an important book on an important subject. The authors en-
deavor to place the current issue of Mexican illegal immigration within
an historical context of world migration, of Mexican-United States re-
lations, and of the global crisis dividing the have and have-not nations.
In the process, they find themselves on the horns of a dilemma.
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 June 2, 2015.