The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989 Page: 220
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
ship. The book's publication by TCU Press was one of the literary
events of 1987. But since there is still a stigma attached to regional
studies, this 1,353-page examination of the western experience may
never get the attention it deserves from reviewers and critics.
LHAW is made up of seventy-odd essays by specialists in the field of
western literature, history, politics, folklore, film studies, and popular
culture. The entire experience of life in the West is covered-from the
early exploration narratives of Garcia Ord6fiez de Montalvo and Alvar
Ninez Cabeza de Vaca to the Texas novels of Benjamin Capps and
Elmer Kelton and the California Chicano plays of Luis Valdez.
The specialists assembled to write the chapters in this volume were
concerned not only with the major (and minor) writers of the West, but
also with trends, movements, and historical periods. There are essays
on the cattle kingdom, the westward movement, the gold rush, the rail-
roads, and the impact of the movie industry on the popular imagina-
tion of the region.
The three parts of the book are organized thematically, though the
themes are more or less tied to the chronology of the region. The first
large section-"Encountering the West"-is about the native Ameri-
cans and their oral traditions, European discoverers, and the broad in-
terpreters of the West. Part 2 is entitled "Settled In: Many Wests" and
treats the Far West, the Southwest, the Midwest, and the Rockies. It is
made up largely of individual essays on literary figures. The final sec-
tion, "Rediscovering the West," is devoted to modern ethnic views-
Indian, Asian, Chicano, African, and Scandinavian-as well as a series
of essays on present trends in western writing, media activity, and liter-
Books written by many people are often uneven in quality and style,
but this is not the case with LHAW. The editors managed to make the
volume into an organic whole.
Every library must have this monument of scholarship and criticism.
Every serious western scholar should have it.
North Texas State University
JAMES W. LEE
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989, periodical, 1989; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101212/m1/247/: accessed September 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.