Southwestern Historical Quarterly
try. The one other adequately organized chapter is devoted entirely
to the trifles of "Creating a Fair," the California Pacific International
Exposition of 1935. But for the most part The Rising Tide is swamped
down in chapters as vague as their titles, "Envy of Cities," "The Flush
Years," and "The Quiet Years," wherein topics from depression con-
ditions to the high stakes of Agua Caliente gambling drift pointlessly
among items on the San Diego Zoo, a "flying nursery," and a commu-
Possessing neither a comprehensive nor an incisive historical view,
Pourade has essayed the journalistic tabulation of San Diego's past,
and while a casual student of urban history might find some of the
statistical material convenient, The Rising Tide is not considerable
as a valuable source book.
Lafayette, California JEANE N. ELDER
Opera in Chicago. By Ronald L. Davis. New York (Appleton-Cen-
tury), 1966. Pp. xi+393. Illustrations, appendices, index. $12.95.
Books about opera, like books about baseball and high society, seem
inevitably to be a string of anecdotes. That is the case with this history
of opera in Chicago. Professor Davis has gathered his stories from the
contemporary press, memoirs, and interviews with the surviving and
aspiring "greats." The book covers the story from the 1850's to the
present. The author is best in discussing the high points along the
road, like the salad days between about 1890o and the First World War,
when stars like Mary Garden and Amelita Galli-Curci were a kind of
local royalty. His discussion of the Insull era of the 1920's is less full.
But he does justice to the renascence of interest and talent during the
1950's, when the Lyric staged specially tailored performances of both
old and new works simultaneously for talents of such magnitude as
Maria Callas and Renata Tebaldi. Davis is uncertain of opera's present
and future state in Chicago because of rising costs, civic indifference
to innovation, and a paucity of fresh talent.
Professor Davis' book is uneven, reflecting both his rather superficial
approach based on musical personalities, and the sources available to
him. He writes with color and has a good eye for interesting trivia.
He hoped to discuss broader cultural history, but has not done so.
His points about opera itself underscore the obvious, and when he
moves into the larger field of American history his generalizations are
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 December 29, 2014.