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

Book Reviews

Leaving aside the merits of the journal itself, Thompson is well suited to the
task of editing it, having authored or edited numerous articles and a half dozen
books on southwestern and Civil War history. His best work to date is the de-
finitive biography of Henry Hopkzns Sibley, Confederate General of the West (1987),
of which this latest seems to be an outgrowth.
Howell's journal in its published form is extremely brief, covering only fifty-
five pages of Thompson's book, chronicling the period from April 30, 1861,
through July 15, 1862. The entire text of the book is padded to 159 pages total
not counting notes, bibliography, and index. The balance of the text includes
an appendix of Howell family letters that are much more interesting than the
journal itself and a historiographical essay about primary sources relating to
the Sibley expedition. Thompson's essay is the best part of the book, reflecting a
deep interest in and close knowledge of the whole subject of" the Civil War in
the Southwest. But it could have been published as an article in the Southwestern
Historical Quarterly and saved the reader the cost of the book.
The journal suffers from the author's hot-and-cold-running interest in af-
fairs around him, which no amount of expert editing can help. Indeed, the ac-
tual editing is minimal because the author himself was a very literate man and
because there does not seem to be a whole lot any editor could add to descrip-
tions of the weather, mealtimes, and making camp-which form the chief
subject matter of the journal. Howell's observations and commentary on the
scenery, his officers and the military operation are all of the most mundane
character. The modern reader skips along from day to day looking for some
juicy tidbit or insightful gem of wisdom, or at the very least a carefully crafted
word-picture. But all in vain. There are none of those things here.
Ultimately, this is what is wrong with so many of these old diaries and jour-
nals; they are hardly worth a second look until modern editors get hold of them
and inflate their historical value all out of proportion. One notes with concern
that Thompson's next effort, soon to be published, is "The Civil War Journal
and Sketches of Morgan Wolfe Merrick." We hope this journal adds more to
our knowledge of the Civil War than William R. Howell's.
Fort Worth RICHARD F. SELCER
Cushzng at Zuni: The Correspondence and journals of Frank Hamilton Cushng,
1879-z884. Compiled by Jesse Green. (Albuquerque: University of New
Mexico Press, 1990. Pp. ix+441. Preface, acknowledgments, introduction,
maps, illustrations, notes, bibliography, index, sources, appendices. $45.)
In 1879, Frank Hamilton Cushing (1857-1900) of the Smithsonian Institu-
tion's Bureau of Ethnology commenced a controversial 4'/-year stay among
northwestern New Mexico's Zuni tribe. In so doing, he became "the world's first
live-in anthropologist" (p. vii).
The Zunis were determined to maintain a wall of secrecy between themselves
and the outside world. But they let Cushing in-actually, he brazenly forced
entry-and once through the breach he bathed himself in this Western Pueblo
culture as no other outsider ever succeeded in doing, before or since. Cushing

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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 July 30, 2014.