The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 94, July 1990 - April, 1991 Page: 646

646 Southwestern Historical Quarterly
dards Committee. Without stressing the point, McMath provides a
vivid account of how the role of women has evolved during Arkansas
history as part of a national process. Though a sense of the sources she
used emerges from the acknowledgment, a bibliographical essay or
guide to additional reading would enhance the usefulness of First
Ladies of Arkansas. As a whole, McMath's book is an important contribu-
tion to a neglected field, and might serve as an appropriate model for
other states to emulate as they appraise the contributions of their own
first ladies.
University of Texas at Austin LEWIs L. GOULD
The Arkansas: An Amercan River. By William Mills. (Fayetteville: Univer-
sity of Arkansas Press, 1988. Pp. 250. Acknowledgments, introduc-
tion, map, color plates, works cited, index. $30, cloth; $2o, paper.)
Lacking the magnitude of the Mississippi, the international signifi-
cance of the Red, and the convenient location to western migration
routes of the Missouri, the Arkansas River has frequently been over-
shadowed by its better-publicized neighbors. But what it lacked in na-
tional attention, the Arkansas more than made up in diversity. Begin-
ning its journey in the Mosquito mountain range of the Southern
Rockies, more than 1,400 feet above sea level, it winds its way over
1,400 miles to the Mississippi Delta before entering "the Father of
Waters" at an elevation of less than 200 feet above sea level.
The author provides a personal narrative for the entire length of the
river. Sometimes floating on its surface, other times driving or walking
along its banks, he shares his insights and 150 color photographs about
the Arkansas in geological, anthropological, historical, and ecological
terms. He is primarily concerned about the latter.
The book is arranged into three, fairly equal sections. The first, and
the one Mills appears to enjoy the most, deals with the Rocky mountain
phase of the river. The second section is devoted to the plains and
grasslands of eastern Colorado and Kansas. The final segment covers
Oklahoma and Arkansas.
The river is one of the few items that these sections have in common.
And, as Mills points out, the inhabitants of its various regions do not
always see this natural resource with the same understanding-whether
it be water rights or environmental standards. From its snow-melted
waters in the high Rockies, where it is largely recreational, the Arkan-
sas becomes a vital part of the farming and cattle operations in the plains
where its water is tapped for irrigation purposes. From the foothills of
the Ozark/Ouachita mountains to its confluence with the Mississippi,
the river is controlled by a series of locks and dams. This makes it part

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 94, July 1990 - April, 1991, periodical, 1991; Austin, Texas. ( accessed May 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.