The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 89, July 1985 - April, 1986

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

sioned. Students of the Cold War and contemporary defense spending
might find lessons in this episode.
Eventually the tides of history made the Big Bend even more of a
backwater than it already was. After Mexico stabilized in the 1930s, the
Big Bend ceased to interest the War Department, which abandoned the
Johnson Ranch airfield to decay and the National Park Service. Old
Elmo Johnson, who lived until 1974, moved away, Ada Johnson died of
cancer, and things went downhill from there. Ragsdale is at his best in a
touching vignette about the salty old rancher's last days.
Ken Ragsdale has given us a likeable book about a subject he knows
intimately. He has tracked down every old-time pilot who ever exposed
his scarf and goggles to a trans-Pecos slipstream. The vivid oral histo-
ries he has collected are worth the price of the book alone. His research
is thorough, his list of interviewees is impressive, and his writing is com-
petent (although often a bit worshipful). Hard-core aviation buffs will
find Ragsdale's detailed treatment of primitive flying satisfying, but
anybody interested in the history of the Big Bend will be charmed by
the cast of characters he salvages.
Western Illinois University GEORGE E. HOPKINS
Riders across the Centuries: Horsemen of the Spanish Borderlands. Drawings
and text by Jos6 Cisneros. Biography of Cisneros by John O. West.
(El Paso: Texas Western Press, 1984. Pp. xl+2oo. Foreword, illus-
trations. $36.)
Those of us who prize the historical illustrations of Jose Cisneros
have reason to rejoice in his long-awaited masterpiece, Riders across the
Centuries. No other artist has come close to him in capturing with
pen and ink the equestrian tradition of the Old Southwest, and this
volume-the last that will bear Carl Hertzog's imprint-is a fitting trib-
ute to his skill.
In page after page the horsemen (and horsewomen) of the Spanish
Borderlands saddle up and ride across five centuries, all pictured in
the intricate detail so characteristic of Cisneros. There are iron-clad
conquistadores, visionary priests, elegant colonizers, humble pioneers,
weather-beaten vaqueros, leather-jacketed soldiers, scouts, mule drivers,
and a host of other frontier types that surged out of Mexico and
ranged from California to Texas. Also featured are mountain men,
pony-express riders, cowboys, gunmen, circuit preachers, and lawmen
who originated from another frontier but in time came to share many

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 89, July 1985 - April, 1986. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117151/. Accessed August 27, 2014.