The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 81, July 1977 - April, 1978 Page: 239
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capturing, here and there, some of the drama of the Spanish frontier.
They fail in presenting a well-balanced account of the overall Spanish
endeavor. The book's chief value lies in the many fine illustrations,
collected from scattered sources and splendidly reproduced.
There are gaps in the text, and consequently distortion of the over-
all view by omission or misplaced emphasis. After a somewhat labori-
ous recitation of the Coronado expedition, for example, Juan de Ofiate
gets a paragraph and all the expeditions between the two are totally
eclipsed. Primarily, the book simply lacks the depth to impart a reason-
able understanding of its highly complex subject.
For those inclined to nit picking, there's ample opportunity. In-
consistency appears concerning when the New Mexico Indians acquired
horses (pp. 19, 54), for instance, and Chihuahua is described as "capital
of the state of Coahuila" (p. 122). A number of assertions are, at least,
open for argument: that the first non-Spanish town west of the Missis-
sippi was St. Louis, founded in 1764 (p. 18); that "the identity of the
attackers [on Fort St. Louis of Texas] would never be known" (p. 61);
that the Spaniards "did little to help the Americans win their revolu-
tion in 1783" (p. 93)-
Lack of understanding of the Spanish missionary effort stands out
in statements that the New Mexico Spaniards "had only themselves
to blame" for not converting more Indians, and "... the Franciscans
never learned to treat the Indians as anything more than serfs and
servants" (p. 123).
The lack of balance is most obvious in the treatment of Texas,
which epitomizes the obfuscation surrounding this region's Spanish
past. Following longstanding precedent, the narrative hastens through
three centuries of Spanish rule to get at a decade of Mexican-Texan
conflict, recounted from the Mexican point of view with both bias
and oversimplification in evidence (p. 114).
The authors perhaps deserve credit for a fresh approach. Yet it
seems perspective is lost in the Mexican War account with repeated
references to United States forces, in nonquoted passages, as "the
enemy" (p. 218).
There's no denying the violence that followed the end of Spanish
rule in Texas. It is regrettable-nay, unpardonable-that popular
writers and scholars continue to accept this trauma as the sum and
substance of Texas's Spanish period.
ROBERT S. WEDDLE
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 81, July 1977 - April, 1978, periodical, 1977/1978; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101205/m1/267/: accessed April 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.