The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992

Book Reviews

lated to water development in the West during the period from the construc-
tion of Hoover Dam in the 1930s until the Bureau of Reclamation erected Glen
Canyon dam in the 1950os. The author clearly illustrates the transition in those
years, especially among conservationists, from an attitude that viewed dams as
desirable to one of a primary concern for the esthetic value of nature.
Martin uses the Glen Canyon story as a microcosm of the struggles of the
environmental movement both internally and externally, clearly describing the
hardball tactics used by both sides. He particularly criticizes the Bureau of Rec-
lamation as often more interested in building engineering monuments than in
understanding the physical and human complexities of providing irrigation.
The author demonstrates, however, that leaders in both parties support such
bureau projects. The author also dramatically describes the human greed, ad-
venture, and perseverence associated with those who have lived in the area
flooded by Lake Powell. He includes excellent descriptions of the construction
of both Hoover and Glen Canyon dams, bringing to life both the human en-
deavor involved as well as the technological achievements.
For a book so well written and intel esting to read, it seems almost petty to
raise objections, yet the book does create scholarly suspicion with its lack of
footnotes and its direct quotations of personal conversations. Perhaps, the
greatest deficiency in the work lies with the woefully inadequate maps, a serious
drawback for a work that deals so much with geography and history.
In general, Martin presents his narrative in a lively and witty style. His de-
scriptive skills reach artistic, even poetic proportions, worthy of his experience
as a novelist. Throughout, the author maintains an ironic sense concerning the
Glen Canyon controversy. If one wants to gain an understanding of' the main
issues of the water controversy in the West without resorting to ponderous aca-
demic works, this is a good book, in spite of its scholarly limitations.
Unive stly of Noth Texa.s J. B. SMALLWOOD, JR.
Mind and the Ameinuan Civil Wa>: A Meditation on Lost Causes. By Lewis P. Simp-
son. (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Univeisity Press, i98c). Pp. xiv+ io.
Preface, epilogue, index. $15.95.)
Lewis P. Simpson, Boyd Professor of English Emeritus at Louisiana State Unim-
versity, editor emeritus of the Soutlheii Review, and gifted son of Jack County,
Texas, is the most interesting and thoughtful of all the authorities writing on
American literary history in his generation. And among historians of southern
letters his distinction is even more absolute. For he has lifted the level of the
discourse in these realms (and in American Studies, understood broadly) far
above what had been previously attempted. Mind and the Amernan Cvil War: A
Medztation on Lost Causes is a continuation of the line of inquiry that Simpson
first spun out in The Man of Letteis in New England and the South: Essays on the
Literary Vocation in Ametica (1973) and The Dspossessed Garden: Pastoral and His-
tory in Southern LiCteatuie (1973) and then continued in The Brazen Face of His-
tory: Studies in the Literary Consuousnes s in Ametca (1980) and in assorted uncol-
lected essays, prefaces, reviews, and conversations. Stated briefly, this analysis

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117153/. Accessed August 30, 2014.