The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 72, July 1968 - April, 1969

Book Reviews

find that there were still places where singing for the pleasure of one's
friends and one's self continued. Josiah Combs' finale was romantically
nostalgic but unnecessarily pessimistic as he viewed the social and
artistic leveling brought about by the mass media of the 192o's: "For
the damsel with the 'dulcimore' is retreating before the boy with the
banjo, and the second phase, perhaps the last one, of traditional bal-
ladry is beginning to close its account among the English-speaking
peoples."
Stephen F. Austin State College FRANCIS EDWARD ABERNETHY
The Mysterious West. By Brad Williams and Choral Pepper. Cleveland
(World Publishing Company), 1967. Pp. 192. Illustrations. $5.95-
The authors of this book were obviously having fun when they
compiled a unique assortment of hoaxes, frauds, mysterious disappear-
ances and reappearances. The real mystery revealed in these legendary
stories is the mystery of the human mind which can concoct so many
different circumstances, some of which appear ridiculous but inter-
esting, even fascinating.
Although seventeen stories are listed, there are actually twice this
many because other versions and related episodes are added. Most
western readers will have heard some of these stories, but the most
widely-read expert will find at least one new tale to add to his reper-
toire. The variety of subjects is surprising, and yet the authors have
avoided buried treasure or lost mine stories-an overworked field.
One of the most fascinating tales involves the city of Terra Calalus
which was established by Roman explorers in the Arizona desert in
900 A.D.-quite a few years before Columbus. The discovery, research,
study, analysis, and controversies of the scholarly experts on this sub-
ject are more informative than the usual legendary story.
Historians may scoff at legends and incredible tales as pure enter-
tainment, but the authors of this book have set the stage so well for
each of the stories that the average reader will learn a lot of real his-
tory from the background and the attempts to explain the mysteries.
Other stories in this collection include the lost Santa Isabel mission,
a Western Petit Trianon for Empress Eugenie, filibusters, railroad
barons, an earlier discoverer of California, and a gold nugget story for
the Peglegophiles. Tales of mysterious disappearances are in the ma-
jority, but there are also strange characters showing up in unexpected
places.

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 72, July 1968 - April, 1969. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117146/. Accessed February 1, 2015.