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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 90, July 1986 - April, 1987

Book Reviews

the war in terms of the role of the upper command echelons. This part
is exceptionally well done.
On the other hand, we find that most of the other chapters plod
along with a less dazzling style, seem dangerously overly interpretive,
and tend to deal with abstract factors that are hard to evaluate or even
to pin down. Such items as morale and will, nationalism and strength of
religious conviction are impossible to measure.
Early in the book, the study develops and perhaps overuses an ap-
proach that was followed by one of my professors in graduate school.
He would take the traditional views of various historical topics and then
disprove them by using revisionist findings. Then he would concen-
trate on presenting his own theories as to what really took place. He did
a fine job of prodding us into thinking and arguing, but oftentimes his
revisionist arguments seemed shaky and questionable, and his own the-
ories were frequently not acceptable. In fact, after reading this particu-
lar book, one is almost convinced that an energetic historian could un-
earth enough quotations to prove or disprove anything!
In regard to the southern economy, did a big new powder mill in
Georgia and an already established iron mill in Virginia catapult the
South into the ranks of manufacturing societies? Did military losses late
in the war convince southerners that God disliked slavery and was caus-
ing these failures? Was the outcome of the war still in doubt during the
winter of 1863-1864? These are but a few examples of the types of
questions that the book deals with. Again, I am left with very mixed
Texas A&M University ALLAN C. ASHCRAFT
Los Mesteios: Spanish Ranching in Texas, 172 I- 82 i. By Jack Jackson.
(College Station, Tex.: Texas A&M University Press, 1986. Pp. xx+
704. Preface, introduction, maps, tables, illustrations, notes, ap-
pendices, bibliography, index. $34.50.)
In celebrating those things Texan during the Sesquicentennial, scant
attention has been given to the contribution of Spanish-Mexican pio-
neers in shaping the history and institutions of the state. Los Mesteos, a
tribute to the Spanish-Mexican origins of the open-range cattle indus-
try, has done much to address this lapse in our collective consciousness.
That the work is a very valuable contribution to the study of pre-Anglo
Texas makes it all the more welcome.
The focus of Jack Jackson's book is the legal and political evolution
of the open-range ranching industry in eighteenth-century Texas.
Sandra L. Myres's The Ranch in Spanish Texas, 691-18o00 (1969), a


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 90, July 1986 - April, 1987. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed April 29, 2016.

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