New Found World. By Katherine B. Shippen. New York (The
Viking Press), 1945. Pp. 262. Illustrations. $3.50.
New Found World is designed to be a brief but comprehensive
account of Latin America primarily for older children and
adolescents but also, according to a pre-publication statement
by the publishers, for adults as well. The last class of readers
it is probably idle to hope for. The thoughtful, studious reader
will want fuller and more specific information than the book
affords; the more frivolous will turn to a murder mystery or,
let us say, to popular biography.
But even for uncritical readers the book is open to two grave
charges: inaccuracy and unjustifiable vagueness. Inaccuracies
abound in the sections which this reviewer feels competent to
judge, a fact which arouses suspicion of the relatively un-
familiar material. On page 214 Moses Austin is reported to have
come to Texas in 1823 with a group of settlers, having first
obtained permission from Mexico City to settle his colonists.
And the author stretches him "upon the rack of this tough
world" for thirteen more years in order to permit him to ask
President Andrew Jackson for help upon the approach of Santa
To Santa Anna himself Miss Shippen grants seven-league
boots, perhaps even a magic carpet. On consecutive pages
(214, 215, 216) three references are made to Santa Anna's
"estate in Venezuela." According to the first, he buries his
amputated leg "with some ceremony at Manga de Clavo, his
estate in Venezuela." It is in the second, however, that he puts
a girdle round the world in forty minutes. Hearing of the
advance of Winfield Scott upon Mexico City, "Santa Anna, who
had been in temporary exile at his hacienda in Venezuela,
hurried back to lead the troops. There was mad confusion
everywhere." Confusion? No wonder. And finally, in 1855, he
boarded a steamer at Vera Cruz "and lived his last days on his
hacienda in Venezuela." No more commuting for Santa Anna.
It should have taken only the most cursory research to establish
that Manga de Clavo was on the road between Vera Cruz and
Jalapa. And Santa Anna might have been allowed to die, in the
book as in fact, in Mexico.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 49, July 1945 - April, 1946. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146056/. Accessed January 25, 2015.