The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 70, July 1966 - April, 1967 Page: 512
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
surveys under Clarence King, George M. Wheeler, F. V. Hayden,
and John Wesley Powell. Goetzmann suggests that the civilian
scientist, usually trained in Europe as a metallurgist or geologist
or in a prominent eastern college, finally came into his own.
These explorer-scientists, gradually replacing the military,
thought in terms of efficiency and waste, and their views were
opposed by those of western settlers and politicians who thought
of the West as a place to live, develop, and exploit. In an age that
demanded exploitation and speculation the explorer, as a con-
servationist, was ahead of his time and thinking counter to it.
Utilizing the personal papers of the leaders of "the Great
Surveys" and the records of scientific societies of the times,
Goetzmann shows the impact of personal relations, institutional
connections, and intrigue whereby the men of science influenced
the political process in Washington, D. C. and, in turn, the
organizational structure, personnel, and nature of western ex-
ploration in the last decades of the century.
The author has dramatized the importance of an interdisciplin-
ary approach to the study of exploration. Valuable sections on
cartography have been inserted that clearly explain what had
been previously recorded on a given area, what preserved or lost,
and the specific contribution of individual map-makers. In addi-
tion, approximately twenty-five historic maps have been reproduc-
ed and interspersed in the text. An equal number of contempor-
ary maps delineating the routes of various expeditions and ex-
plorations have been included. Contributions of amateur and pro-
fessional geologists, botanists, zoologists, and paleontologists to
their respective fields of science are so thoroughly discussed that
the reader is likely to conclude, at times, that he is reading a
history of science rather than of exploration, or, better still, that
they are one and the same.
This masterful book could only have been written by a
vigorous, creative scholar with the physical stamina of youth and
the dedication of a professional. Moreover, only an intellectual
with a learned, interdisciplinary training could have handled
such a vast subject in such a thorough and comprehensive way.
William H. Goetzmann is the embodiment of these gifts. This
latest work can best be described as monumental. The author has
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 70, July 1966 - April, 1967, periodical, 1967; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101199/m1/540/: accessed July 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.