The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 88, July 1984 - April, 1985 Page: 113

Book Reviews

the basic historical issues-even a clear understanding of what those
issues are.
Why did the doctrine of prior appropriation appear in the West?
Was it really unique, and how so? To what extent was it prompted by
an arid climate? Those are Webb's intriguing questions, and Dunbar
tells us nothing new about any of them, though he does manage to
complicate Webb's analysis by telling us that the doctrine was the
product of a miner's approach to nature and that it was an expression
of frontier individualism, neither of which had anything to do with
aridity. At no point does he put the doctrine in the larger context of
nineteenth-century American resource law, as described by Morton J.
Horwitz and Harry N. Scheiber, among others, or of laissez-faire capi-
talism, though he does trace, rather unsystematically, the subsequent
"subordination of the appropriator to the welfare of the state" (p.
1o9). With a frustrating consistency, the author evades the problem
of the impact of water development and rights on social power. We
are left then with the uncertainty Webb failed to resolve back in 1931:
is an environmental and regionalist approach the best way to under-
stand western water law, or is the story better, and less provincially,
told as a familiar modern conflict between private entrepreneurial
drives and community welfare? Probably the best strategy at this point
is to ask what effect resource scarcity of any kind has had on economic
individualism-western water being merely a case study of that ex-
perience, though one with considerable interest for a world encounter-
ing many forms of scarcity today.
University of Hawaii at Manoa DONALD WORSTER
Traces of Texas History: Archeological Evidence of the Past 450 Years.
By Daniel E. Fox. (San Antonio: Corona Publishing Company,
1983. Pp. xxii+416. Introduction, illustrations, maps, figures,
photographs, recommended readings, references cited, index.
$22.00oo, cloth; $ 12.95, paper.)
Beginning with a brief history and definition of archaeology in
Texas, Traces of Texas History consists of several chapters dealing
with specific archaeological projects and their enhancement of and
contribution to traditionally recorded history. In a topical sequence
paralleling a generally accepted breakdown of Texas history, Fox out-
lines investigations and findings of archaeological projects dealing with
Indian sites, routes of European explorers, Spanish shipwrecks, Span-
ish mission and settlement sites, and early Anglo town and plantation


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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 88, July 1984 - April, 1985, periodical, 1984/1985; Austin, Texas. ( accessed October 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.