The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 96, July 1992 - April, 1993 Page: 140
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
over forest land; the grazing lands dispute, and the debate over wilderness
The book has many strengths, but three are of particular interest. First, the
interdisciplinary approach provides a multifaceted perspective that will be
most enlightening to those who have perhaps confined their study of western
land development to one discipline such as political science or history. For ex-
ample, Graf's explanations of physical geographical conditions and develop-
ments help one understand more about the essence of policy conflicts than
would otherwise be possible. A second strength is that the author does a good
job of integrating the various aspects of land policy-water, forests, grazing,
and wilderness-and thus provides a good overview of the development of
western land policy, particularly since the 188os. Third, the book is well written
for the most part. It uses the minimum of jargon, and maps and graphs are
used sparingly but effectively. In his preface Graf tells us that he is writing a
story, and generally he succeeds in doing so, with all the positive connotations
that has for relating to the reader. More academics should adopt the "story"
approach to their writing.
The major strength of the book, its interdisciplinary basis, is also the source
of its principal weakness. Graf deals only superficially with many aspects of
wilderness policy. In particular, the increasing significance of both preserva-
tionist/environmentalist and developer interest groups in the western lands
policy debate, particularly since the 196os, warrants more extensive treatment.
Also, the book does not include Alaska as a western state, which may in some
circumstances be justifiable. But when it comes to land policy, particularly the
wilderness issue, Alaska is very much a western state. Roderick Nash came to
this realization in the third edition of his Wilderness and the Amercan Mznd (1982).
But these concerns should not detract from what is a very good book. It de-
serves very serious consideration from both the academic and general reader
interested in western development in general and land policy in particular.
Unzverszty of Alaska, Juneau CLIVE S. THOMAS
Waco's Champzon: Selections from the Papers of Roger Norman Conger. By Marion
Travis. (Waco: Historic Waco Foundation, 1990. Pp. xviii+356. Foreword,
editor's note, index. $25.95.)
This anthology was published by the Historic Waco Foundation to com-
memorate the work of its most distinguished member and worker on the
fiftieth anniversary of his first published article. It includes a biographical
sketch of Mr. Conger and a bibliography of his writings. The bulk of the book
is made up of reprints of several of his numerous historical articles, including
what in my judgment is his most masterful piece, "The Waco Suspension
Bridge"; reminiscences of his early years in the grocery supply business; a few
short articles on his favorite hobbies-guns and hunting; a dozen or so letters
he wrote that were pivotal in saving local historical sites; and two almost charm-
ing and quaint reactionary attacks on labor unions, which have never before
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 96, July 1992 - April, 1993, periodical, 1993; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101215/m1/166/?rotate=270: accessed October 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.