porary novel The Hezrs of Franklin Woodstock, Capps shows that he, as confirmed
by James Lee, "has few peers in the realistic rendering of a time and a place"
In three nonfiction accounts, Capps demonstrates that he was deeply inter-
ested in the social customs of the Indians, as well as sincerely concerned about
their plight: The Indzans (1973), The Great Chiefs (1974), and The Warren Wagon-
train Raid (1974). To Clayton's credit, he does not ignore the strong criticism
against Capps for letting his fictional habit of mind intrude into the chronicle
of facts, in this case the imagining and recording of what historical figures
would have actually thought or said. Capps's defense is an interesting one-
and one that will help readers understand a little more clearly his preoccupa-
tion with giving life to historical accuracy.
For the serious student of American literature, Benjamin Capps and the South
Plains will be a valuable little introduction to Benjamin Capps. One might wish
that Mr. Clayton had given us many more of his useful insights into the artistic
qualities of" Capps's novels, but, alas, we can forgive him, since he will have
nudged many readers to experience that pleasure for themselves.
University of Texas at Austin MICHAEL ADAMS
Christmas in Texas. By Elizabeth Silverthorne. (College Station: Texas A&M
University Press, 1990. Pp. xiv+188. Preface, illustrations, color plates,
notes, bibliography, index. $19.95.)
As much as I deplore ethnic chauvinism and the social divisiveness that fre-
quently attends it, I am continually fascinated by and thankful for the folklore
that the many cultures that came to Texas brought with them. They have en-
riched our state immeasurably with their customs, and one of the richest is
their many ways of celebrating Christmas, discussed in detail by Salado's award-
winning author, Elizabeth Silverthorne in Christmas in Texas.
To begin with, Christmas in Texas is a beautifully crafted book-dust jacket,
hardback, endsheets, paper, typeset, recipes, Christmas card illustrations-
everything that makes for a handsome coffee-table book. The book was de-
signed by Jim Billingsly and is number three in the Clayton Wheat Williams
Texas Life Series.
But to the meat of it: each chapter is a look at Christmas customs as practiced
by the cultures that settled Texas.
The first Mass of Christ in Texas, according to Silverthorne, was celebrated
in 1599 near El Paso by members ofJuan de Ofiate's expedition. Religion domi-
nated the celebration of Christmas for the Spanish as it did for the Mexicans
who were the early population of the state. From then until now the Spanish-
Mexican traditions of celebration were religiously dominated with holy dramas
such as the Los Pastores trope and processions. In San Antonio, Las Posadas, the
Holy Family's procession in search of an inn is made along the River Walk. The
Naczmzento, or manger scene, becomes the central home display for those in the
Spanish tradition. And there are special Christmas foods and games, the break-
ing of the pzinata, being the best known among the children's games.
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 July 12, 2014.