The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959 Page: 133
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climaxes of interest in the first part. The second part of the book
is a broad survey of earlier writers on the grasslands, a task under-
taken for the purpose of winnowing out sound and useful ideas or
suggestions from chaff. With the ground thus cleared in part,
Malin in 1950 produced the fat volume, Grassland Historical
Studies: Natural Resources Utilization in a Background of Science
and Technology, Volume I. Geology and Geography. No idea of
the rich suggestiveness of this work can be given here, except to
say that for the historians of the American interior this one is
indeed a "must" book. The political developments in the locales
and in Washington that lay behind the formation of the territory
received fresh, independent treatment in The Nebraska Question,
1852-1854, published in 1953. This was speedily followed by On
the Nature of History: Essays about History and Dissidence,
1954. In 1955 the industrious scholar came out with The Contriv-
ing Brain and the Skillful Hand. This book completes Malin's
task of clearing the ground, so to speak. It is well over four hun-
dred pages in length, and abounds with far-ranging ideas and
suggestive themes. Take the chapter on the origin of the steam
railroad, as an example. Here one finds the historical essence of
that element of the modern technology which did so much to
make possible the quick conquest of the arid and semi-arid lands.
When a steam locomotive and train of cars in the old days chugged
up the grade between Fort Quitman and Sierra Blanca, the miracle
of weight-lifting that then and there was worked was owing to cer-
tain basic mechanical problems that had been solved in England
decades before. The bearing of the primary historical facts of
railroad technology upon the conquest of the plains is but one
of many things that Malin has made clear in this book. His
chapter on Western and Southwestern sectionalism deserves close
attention, in relation to several inter-local (urban) rivalries.
Other chapters of high value could be mentioned.
The profundity of Malin's historical thinking and the breadth
of his scholarly vision compel admiration. And the totality of his
findings on the history of the plains and the grassland is large
with import for all historians of these regions who are looking
for likely leads to follow. FULMER MOOD
University of Texas
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959, periodical, 1959; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101173/m1/155/: accessed August 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.