The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 73, July 1969 - April, 1970

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

La Reforma in which the writer's editorial comments blur the clarity
of a significant landmark in the Mexican national experience. Even
so, the work is noteworthy because it illustrates the manner in which
the positivist intellectuals tended to influence the writing of contem-
porary history. To them-and particularly to Sierra who towered above
his peers-the material gains of the Porfirian regime, made possible
by internal peace and foreign investment, constituted a transitory stage
in Mexico's political evolution. President Diaz, according to this pos-
itivist interpretation, became the instrument which stabilized an at-
mosphere within which order and progress prevailed. For Justo Sierra,
peace and the fruits of the machine culture fully justified the presence
of Don Porfirio's personal rule. Because such an ideology, to a great
extent, dominated the high councils of the Diaz administration, the
publication of Sierra's work, the product of a man of strong mind and
gentle conduct, readily won the approval of the cientifico cult which
was tantamount to an official sanction by the incumbent executive.
In translating Sierra's work, Ramsdell effectively blends content with
graceful style. The outcome is the best of Sierra the positivist as inter-
preted by Ramsdell the bilingualist-biculturalist.
St. Mary's University F LIx D. ALMARAZ, JR.
America's Frontier Story. Edited by Martin Ridge and Ray Allen
Billington. (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1969. Pp.
xxi+657. Illustrations. n.p.)
It has long been an adage among historians that the only good texts
or supplementary reading are books you do yourself. While many fields
are saturated with such works, western history, being a young and
viable area, is only beginning to experience what will probably be an
onslaught of books to capture a rapidly growing market.
One of the first books into the field has been prepared by two of
the leading western historians, which virtually insures its market posi-
tion. However, this work also really achieves its purpose. Professors
Ridge and Billington tell the story of frontier expansion through
contemporary accounts, extracting their material primarily from di-
aries, reminiscences, laws, and official reports. The 260 selections are
tied together with meaningful and well-written introductions, some-
thing often lacking in supplementary readings. The material is organ-
ized on a chronological basis and in keeping with the more or less

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 73, July 1969 - April, 1970. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117147/. Accessed July 6, 2015.