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

Book Reviews

these few thousand people were dispersed to over a hundred small
towns and cities in twenty-five states, with two-thirds of them winding
up in Texas, Iowa, Minnesota, and Missouri. Schiff reportedly invested
about $500,000 of his own money in this endeavor in an attempt to
ward off immigration restriction by Congress. Within a decade of its
inception, however, he realized that the plan would not work because
the East European Jews had little desire to go to isolated communities
with few coreligionists to succor and support them.
Marinbach tells us, in overwhelming detail, how the movement got
started and how it operated, and one wonders why so much time was
devoted to a topic that could best be dealt with in a concise essay. Never-
theless, the work is deeply researched and adequately written. Little at-
tention is paid to the broader context of why Jews were not wanted in
the United States and the futility of Schiff's efforts to ward off immigra-
tion restriction. The word "antisemitism" does not appear in the index,
although there are several aspects of the study from which the alert
reader may infer its impact.
The author, unfortunately, was not well served by his editors. They
should have insisted not only upon a much broader context in which to
place his study, but they might have advised him, as well, to eliminate
the numerous bloc quotes which have the effect of nudging readers on
to the next page.
University of Arizona LEONARD DINNERSTEIN
The Ethnic Groups of Houston. Edited by Fred R. von der Mehden. (Hou-
ston: Rice University Studies, 1985. Pp. vii+ 240. Preface, introduc-
tion, photographs, tables, illustrations, appendices. $24.95.)
Because of the variety of ethnic groups found there today, Houston
can certainly be called a cosmopolitan city. Such ethnic diversity is the
subject of The Ethnic Groups of Houston, edited by Fred R. von der
Mehden. This study, which is the product of a four-year project carried
out by the Houston Center for the Humanities and funded by the Na-
tional Endowment for the Humanities, is the work of numerous schol-
ars from local institutions. These scholars include Cary D. Wintz, Mar-
garita B. Melville, Edward C. M. Chen, Donna Collins, Elaine H. Maas,
Theodore G. Gish, Louis J. Marchiafava, Charlotte Peltier, John S.
Ambler, Mary Schiflett, and von der Mehden. They were assisted in
their research by advisory committees from each of the ten groups se-
lected for this study.
Houston has a rich ethnic heritage. Among the earliest groups were
blacks, Jews, Germans, and Swedes. They were joined later in the nine-

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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 July 12, 2014.