The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 77, July 1973 - April, 1974

Book Reviews

ery-as often as not dressed in the bright garments of fortune telling and
faith healing. And the far side of prosperity and expansive living included
suicide, drunkenness, and thwarted intellectual talents. For some reason, the
rich sense of localism common to Californians never developed into a truly
vital intellectual force. Perhaps the demands for self-expression through
work in the larger culture, and the temptations to rest inherent in the local
culture created unresolvable tensions. For many critics, even those who loved
her, California has always seemed in transition to some indefinable fulfill-
ment, resembling a beautiful but empty melon.
These and similar themes make up Professor Starr's informative and often
exciting book. It has the merits of genuine intellectual history-asking prop-
er questions, giving intriguing answers. Starr writes well, with a keen eye
for symbolic details and psychological implications. He sees in fruit orchards
and vineyards, for example, a desire to live well amid beautiful and unusual
things, while making money. And the men who made wine wished to soften
the harsh American reliance on whiskey, while carrying on traditions rooted
in an older and more genteel European past. Starr rehabilitates many repu-
tations, and is sensitive to the men, events, and tastes which informed the
larger American culture he discusses.
The book's faults somewhat resemble the subject's weaknesses: a desire
here and there to linger over those who did not quite attain their promise.
A chapter on Josiah Royce, and another on David Starr Jordan and the
Stanford circle, is out of proportion. The book is too focused on the Bay
Area; Starr should have ventured further into the central valley, Los An-
geles, and the deserts. He should have said more about what the rest of the
country thought of California, a fascinating story to be drawn from the era's
major periodicals and newspapers. Yet these are really cavils of emphasis,
not of content. The book is urbane and stimulating, hopefully the harbinger
of similar studies of California's unique and fascinating history.
University of Oklahoma H. WAYNE MORGAN
The Nicaragua Route. By David I. Folkman, Jr. (Salt Lake City: Univer-
sity of Utah Press, 1972. Pp. xii+ 173. Illustrations, appendices, notes,
index. $7.50.)
This work, a revision of the author's 1966 University of Utah doctoral
dissertation, discusses the complex and often turbulent history of the transit
routes across Nicaragua from about 185o to 1868. By way of introduction
some attention is given to rival Central American routes, particularly Pan-
ama. Previous works, such as the classic 1915 study by Mary W. Williams,

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 77, July 1973 - April, 1974. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117148/. Accessed December 25, 2014.