The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 96, July 1992 - April, 1993 Page: 603

Book Reviews

illusion in producing a record of their activity" (p. 117). If the task of separating
reality from illusion is difficult for an historian of Simmons's caliber, it is much
more difficult for the general reader, who is left to deal with such biased original
sources as a Spanish governor's tirade against Franciscan missionaries in 1773, a
Franciscan's tirade against Spanish settlers in 1778, and a second governor's
tirade against nearly everyone in 1803.
Coronado's Land is therefore recommended, but only in a split decision: all
readers will clearly benefit from the remarkable observations of its first hundred-
odd pages, while novices are advised to venture beyond those pages only at the
risk of encountering some understandable confusion.
University of New Mexico, Valencia Campus RICHARD MELZER
The Spanish American Homeland: Four Centuries in New Mexico's Rio Arriba. By Alvar
W. Carlson (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991. Pp. 294.
Acknowledgments, appendices, notes, glossary, index. $39.95.)
This comprehensive examination of Spanish, Mexican, and United States land
tenure systems in New Mexico's Rio Arriba is based on the discipline of geogra-
phy. Alvar Carlson undertakes his journey into land grant history in order to ex-
amine cultural and environmental changes visible in the region after some 400
years of history. He finds that land grant history is certainly in need of revision as
he focuses upon the incorporation of subsistence agriculture and land use pat-
terns in Rio Arriba.
In order to right the wrongs of the many scapegoats in this historical process,
from the Court of Private Land Claims to the U.S. Forest Service to certain acad-
emics who romanticize the past, Carlson presents a four-part revision of social
processes and traditional culture in the Rio Arriba area. In parts one and two, he
views that culture as somewhat static and uses a submarginal peasant theory to
explain why incorporation into the U.S. economy was so difficult for the His-
panos of Rio Arriba. As he further outlines the history, Carlson integrates the so-
cial, political, and economic subordination of Hispanos in Rio Arriba into a
conception of capitalist transformation, such as adaptive changes in the form
and function of Hispano society, even to the living in "modern air-conditioned
Carlson believes that the U.S. government has been unfairly criticized for late
nineteenth-century adjudication of Hispano land grant claims, and for twentieth-
century policy that hinders rural economic development in Rio Arriba. Federal
officials in New Mexico supposedly had the expertise and the talent successfully
to litigate land grant claims, but Carlson finds little evidence of wrongdoing. In
fact, the Court of Private Land Claims satisfactorily settled most claims. Given
the role played by the Surveyor General's Office and the Court of Private Land
Claims, Carlson finds that claims were adjudicated fairly and were rejected only
with good reason.
Carlson is at his best when he deals with land use and grazing rights in the Na-
tional Forest. The Forest Service has accommodated the agricultural rights of


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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 96, July 1992 - April, 1993, periodical, 1993; Austin, Texas. ( accessed August 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.