The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 83, July 1979 - April, 1980 Page: 416
Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Administration, was more successful in Haskell County than it was in
some regions. Though empathetic, Worster is critical of the victims'
refusal to recognize the frailty of the land and their willingness to de-
stroy the soil in their effort to attain prosperity.
Fresh material on the development of ecological thought in the thir-
ties adds a new dimension to the historiography of the subject. Worster
examines the ideas of practical-minded academicians such as Frederic E.
Clements, Paul B. Sears, Aldo Leopold, and Lewis C. Gray, who
"brought their expertise to problems like the Dust Bowl and made im-
portant suggestions about farming that required fundamental cultural
changes" (p. 2o09). At that point they "backed off the job" (p. 209). The
analysis of the ecologists was doomed, Worster concludes, as long as they
assumed that science alone could solve the problem. Hugh Bennett's
shelterbelt "was of little utility[;] the money might have been used to
buy more abused land" (p. 223).
The lessons which should have been learned from the Dust Bowl were
wasted because, although the area was transformed into a prosperous
agricultural region, the transformation was accomplished through the
use of irrigation, and the water supply is finite and is already dwindling.
The real culprit is the economic expansionism of Man, who insists on
using up natural resources for short-term gains. The world needs "eco-
logically adaptive cultures" and "capitalism cannot fill that need. Man
needs another kind of farming by which he can satisfy his needs without
making a wasteland" (p. 243).
Dust Bowl manifests trendy ecological thought. Its analysis of two
afflicted counties and of ecological ideas is fresh and quite welcome.
Questioning the validity of capitalism, however, opens Pandora's box.
Thus Worster's work will probably be important for its new material
on a topic growing increasingly significant each day.
Texas Christian University D. CLAYTON BROWN
The Nautical Archaeology of Padre Island: The Spanish Shipwrecks of
1554. By J. Barto Arnold III and Robert S. Weddle. Texas An-
tiquities Committee Publication No. 7. (New York: Academic
Press, 1978. Pp. xviii+462. Illustrations, appendices, bibliogra-
phies, index. $34.)
The oldest shipwrecks to be investigated in the western hemisphere
are those of three Spanish ships that were driven aground by a storm in
1554 on Padre Island in South Texas. The discovery of the wrecks in the
Here’s what’s next.
Show all pages in this issue.
This issue can be searched. Note: Results may vary based on the legibility of text within the document.
Citing and Sharing
Basic information for referencing this web page. We also provide extended guidance on usage rights, references, copying or embedding.
Reference the current page of this Periodical.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 83, July 1979 - April, 1980, periodical, 1979/1980; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101207/m1/474/ocr/: accessed July 30, 2016), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.