The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 93, July 1989 - April, 1990 Page: 263

Book Revzews

pation Day celebrants, he makes no effort to analyze systematically the
results of these surveys. Finally, though he investigates the history of
Emancipation Day celebrations, he does not integrate these events into
the broader fabric of black history. Indeed Wiggins's approach is often
more anecdotal than analytical.
Despite these flaws, O Freedom! is a valuable book. Wiggins should be
commended for exploring this topic and reminding us that events in
ordinary communities involving ordinary people often provide keen
insight into our history.
Texas Southern Unzversity CARY D. WINTZ
Roots and Boots: From Crypto-Jew in New Spazn to Communzty Leader in the
American Southwest. By Floyd S. Fierman. (Hoboken: KATV Pub-
lishing House, 1987. Pp. xiii+241. Acknowledgments, introduc-
tion, illustrations, maps, conclusion, appendices, notes, index. $25.)
Long before ethnic history became fashionable, Floyd S. Fierman, an
ordained rabbi who also possesses a Ph.D., began writing about Jewish
pioneers in the Southwest. Published in regional and ethnic scholarly
and popular journals, his accounts placed Jews who helped build com-
munities in El Paso, as well as in New Mexico and Arizona, in the fore-
front of the region's economic development. The pioneers served as
freighters, traders, government contractors, bankers, and merchants.
Many of the area's most prominent families today can trace their roots
back to Jewish ancestors who arrived sometime after the Civil War.
Roots and Boots continues, and sometimes reworks, aspects of the Jew-
ish southwestern past that Fierman has been studying and writing
about for decades. In a series of essays on the marronos and some of the
more prominent Jewish pioneers like the Drachmans, Goldbergs, Frie-
denthals, Rosenwalds, Angersteins, and others, Fierman once again in-
forms readers about who came, who they married, what happened to
their children, which businesses they started, what organizations they
belonged to, what political offices they occupied, and so forth. In terms
of identifying certain individuals and placing them in a particular spot
in the late nineteenth or early twentieth centuries, this book would no
doubt be informative.
Unfortunately, the essays do not reveal much about the Jews in the
context of their times or in terms of broader community development.
There is scarcely a reference to the larger picture of what was happen-
ing in the United States or in the Southwest during the Gilded Age and
early Progressive era. Moreover, there is almost nothing of significance
on interactions between Jews and Gentiles or on the Southwest once the
twentieth century began.


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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 93, July 1989 - April, 1990, periodical, 1990; Austin, Texas. ( accessed May 26, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.

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