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

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

In his present volume Weber has written with the avowed purpose of
presenting "a view of the relationship between the artist and his subject
and the artist and his society" (p. 16), and he has succeeded. Weber in-
cludes over one hundred of Kern's drawings, along with the work of
others at appropriate points, in his detailed treatment of Kern's experi-
ences, especially those experiences that influenced people in the East.
In order to provide the context for Kern and his work, Weber has also
discussed the activities both of men who led the expeditions and of
other expeditionary artists.
The overall quality of this volume is excellent. Especially well done
are the reproductions of Kern's work, much of which heretofore has
been inaccessible. The notes are extensive and meticulous, and the bib-
liographical essay reflects the breadth and depth of Weber's study. This
book is aesthetically rewarding as well as historically important.
Hardin-Simmons University LAWRENCE CLAYTON
Sharps Rifles and Spanish Mules: The San Antonio-El Paso Mail, 1851-
188i. By Wayne R. Austerman. (College Station, Tex.: Texas A&M
University Press, 1985. Pp. xi+368. Acknowledgments, illustra-
tions, maps, afterword, appendix, bibliography, index, notes.
$29.50.)
This book constitutes a revision of Wayne R. Austerman's dissertation
(Louisiana State University, 1981) by the same title. The dissertation
was a good one, and the resultant book stands as a true contribution to
the history of Texas and the Far Southwest. The best thing about Sharps
Rifles and Spanish Mules is the author's facility with the English lan-
guage-the book is well written, reads easily, and shows Austerman's
concern for telling a story.
As indicated by the subtitle of this work, the author intends to con-
centrate on the southern staging and mail route that ran between San
Antonio and El Paso in the years 1851 through 1881. The line came
into existence because of the California gold rush; it went out of exis-
tence when the southern transcontinental railroad was completed.
During the thirty years between those events, the San Antonio-El Paso
line served as one of this nation's most important transportation routes.
It almost seems superfluous to state that throughout these decades,
companies that operated stage and mail lines in West Texas were sel-
dom on a sound financial basis and often suffered from the depreda-
tions of the Apaches and Comanches. It seems amazing that men such
as George H. Giddings, the most prominent entrepreneur in this study,

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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 April 18, 2014.