Southwestern Historical, Quarterly
This book is more than a study of irrigation; it is the study of a region.
It is the story of individuals, primarily businessmen, trying to make their
region prosper with its limited resources. It is also the story of individualism
assisted by government aid, from both the Texas and the federal government,
such as when private capital was augmented by federal loans for irrigation
facilities and land in the 1930s.
Individuals interested in regional development, agricultural history, and
irrigation will benefit from reading this book and should acquire it for their
collegiate libraries. It is well researched as Green makes extensive use of
manuscript collections, government documents, and secondary works. The
use of quotations from a number of interviews tempers the many necessary
statistical references. The organization of the book makes it tedious at spots
and causes some repetition, but these are only slight distractions from an
otherwise excellent, comprehensive study of Texas High Plains irrigation.
Fort Hays Kansas State College JAMES L. FORSYTHE
The Cattle-Trailing Industry between Supply and Demand, 1866-1890.
By Jimmy M. Skaggs. (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1973-
Pp. ix+ 73. Illustrations, notes, index. $8.)
With this book, Professor Skaggs has proven that it is still possible to write
something new about the range-cattle industry. Moreover, he has had the
wisdom to tell his story quickly and simply. The book is only 173 pages long,
including detailed notes, a complete bibliography, and a useful index. The
text itself is less than 130 pages.
By drawing our attention to the cattle-trailing contractors in the period
between the Civil War and 1890, Skaggs succeeds in adding a new facet to
our knowledge of the range-cattle industry. Almost everyone interested in the
history of the American West is familiar in a general way with the cattle
drives which took place in the last half of the nineteenth century. But I sus-
pect that very few, save those who have worked directly with the business
records of myriad small and large ranching concerns, realize that, more often
than not, the task of moving the cattle from the ranges to the railheads was
jobbed out to firms specializing in that perhaps riskiest of all aspects of the
range-cattle business, the long drive.
Professor Skaggs begins his book with a brief introduction of the cattle-
trailing contractors and their business and then wisely devotes the next three
chapters, or a little less than half the book, to a discussion of some of the
specific contractors and the firms they operated. In so doing, he succeeds in
thoroughly familiarizing the reader with the subject under examination. The
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 July 28, 2014.