The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 74, July 1970 - April, 1971 Page: 442
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
esting appendix, a bibliography, and an index complement the book's
Although the story of the Spur Ranch's operations is at times drab
and undramatic, it is generally interesting. Fortunately, although the
bulk of the text consists of facts and figures that will concern mainly
business historians and students of the American cattle industry, Hol-
den has gone beyond mere scholarship. In the first five chapters of the
book he skillfully describes the colorful geography, the wildlife, and
the cultural heritage of the West Texas Caprock and rangelands. As
a result, an atmosphere of the cow country exudes from the book in
these early pages that lengthy explanations of financial operations and
business transactions never quite dispel.
Yet, the company owners were so inept and undistinguished that
it is hard to feel sympathy when on the final page the author describes
the company's demise when the Spur Ranch was purchased by the
Swenson family. In fact, there is almost a feeling of relief. What an
unimaginative, joyless, and coldly mercenary enterprise! No one ap-
pears to have experienced any pleasure or satisfaction from the own-
ership of the ranch. Indeed the monotony, isolation, low wages, long
days, and poor horses, and the absentee ownership, frequent drouths,
and a general depression in the cattle business must have made the
ranch a difficult place for even the most carefree cowhand. Neverthe-
less, history is neither melodrama nor romance, and credit is due
Holden for his factual, often humorous, and strikingly realistic his-
tory of a significant early ranching operation.
Jarvis Christian College BUD WELLMON
William Hickling Prescott: A Biography. By C. Harvey Gardiner.
(Austin: University of Texas Press, 1969. Pp. xxi + 366. Bibliog-
raphy, index. $7.50.)
Trained in the scholarship of the early conquest of Mexico, C. Har-
vey Gardiner from the beginning of his career has dabbled in the
works of William Hickling Prescott. Gardiner has searched the many
libraries and historical repositories for materials relating to Prescott,
the man who became his model and idol. In 1958 he published an
annotated bibliography of Prescott's works, a volume about Prescott
himself, many articles on the man and his contributions to scholarship.
Three years later, Gardiner published Prescott's Literary Memoranda
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 74, July 1970 - April, 1971, periodical, 1971; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101200/m1/454/: accessed May 25, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.