The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 94, July 1990 - April, 1991 Page: 626
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626 Southwestern Historical Quarterly
that his most noteworthy contribution may well be in the richness of the
details of the party's history and in providing these documented dates,
figures, personalities, and events as no one else has or perhaps can.
The volume can now contribute to further interpretation and analysis
of one of the most important institutions of recent Mexican American
University of New Mexico F. CHRIS GARCIA
The Preservation of the Village: New Mexico's Hispanics and the New Deal. By
Suzanne Forrest. (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press,
1989. Pp. xvii+253. Foreword, preface, maps, photographs, notes,
bibliographic essay, index. $35.00, cloth; $17.50, paper.)
Two decades ago, the historical significance of the New Deal could be
found, it seemed to me, chiefly in its relationships with American capi-
talism. Since then, representatives of rising specialties, including black
history, women's history, ethnic history, and Indian history, have em-
phasized other meanings. In The Preservatzon of the Village, a study of
one ethnic group, Suzanne Forrest makes an impressively researched
contribution of this new type. In doing so, she also offers an illustration
of the power of capitalism in the United States and its importance for
the New Deal.
After a long and fascinating survey of its background and complex
sources, Forrest focuses on New Mexico's "Hispanic New Deal." Mea-
sured in terms of the distribution of federal expenditures, it was, she
maintains, the largest part of the New Deal in this southwestern state.
Its sources included hostility toward industrial capitalism for its materi-
alism, lack of community, and contempt for nature, and conceptions of
life in the Hispanic villages as an alternative worthy of preservation
and, in some features, imitation. Hit hard by the Great Depression and
badly in need of help, the villages became more than the recipients of
federal relief. They also became the sites of experiments in social engi-
neering conducted by the Works Progress Administration, the Soil
Conservation Service, the Resettlement Administration, and other
agencies designed to preserve and improve village life, its agriculture,
and its lands.
Forrest finds tension within the experiments between efforts to mod-
ernize and attempts to preserve, and clashes as well as similarities be-
tween the programs for the Hispanics and John Collier's Indian New
Deal. She concludes that the Hispanic New Deal, while containing posi-
tive, beneficial features, was essentially a failure. In New Mexico now,
she writes, "one sees few signs to justify the efforts and the high hopes
of the Hispanic New Deal. . . . The ... villages survive but they are no
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 94, July 1990 - April, 1991, periodical, 1991; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101214/m1/704/?rotate=270: accessed April 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.