The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989 Page: 500
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Weddle embarks on his own voyage through primary and secondary
sources, offering corrections to previous geographical and chronologi-
cal misconceptions. The author also partly clears up the confusion sur-
rounding the identities of some of the individuals involved in the Gulf's
exploration. Indeed, Weddle sees the corrective aspect of his work al-
most on a par with his intention of establishing the Gulf as the proper
stage for understanding Spanish settlement successes and failures in
In matters relating to Texas, which are few owing to the period cov-
ered, the author presents convincing evidence that the "Rio de las Pal-
mas," often identified as the Rio Grande, is in fact the Soto la Marina
River in Tamaulipas. Weddle's interpretation of Cabeza de Vaca's so-
journ in Texas is in keeping with other recent research that has the
Narviez expedition survivors crossing the Rio Grande early in their
search for New Spain. (For a more complete explanation see Donald E.
Chipman, "In Search of Cabeza de Vaca's Route Across Texas: An His-
toriographical Survey," Southwestern Historical Quarterly, XCI [Oct.,
Spanish Sea's greatest strength is, in a way, its only significant weak-
ness. Weddle's great command of secondary sources is apparent both in
the text and in short sections called "Sources and Notes" at the end of
each chapter. In the latter, Weddle presents brief bibliographic essays
designed to reinforce arguments in the text or highlight specific themes.
Those wishing to more clearly distinguish between the author's argu-
ments and those of his sources will be disappointed, for Weddle chose
not to provide direct citation notes to the text.
As in his previous works, the author proves himself a gifted narrator,
and throughout Spanzsh Sea he does an admirable job of balancing nar-
rative and analysis. His ability to distill the most important elements
from the disparate stories of soldiers and sailors and blend them into a
continuous whole makes for pleasurable reading. Weddle's direct and
forceful style vividly reflects the adventures of direct and forceful men.
His liberal use of nautical terms and his command of the region's geog-
raphy further enhance the quality of the writing.
There is something for everyone in Spanzsh Sea. It is the perfect in-
troduction for those approaching Spanish exploration literature for
the first time. At the same time, the seasoned reader will find Weddle's
work fresh and thought provoking. If the upcoming five-hundredth
anniversary of Columbus's discovery is prompting you to look into the
Age of Discovery in general, you could not make a better choice than
Texas General Land Office
JEfOs F. DE LA TEJA
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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/m1/554/: accessed August 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.