The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 99, July 1995 - April, 1996 Page: 426
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Hispanic labor in the Southwest, the book's coverage of many mining towns pro-
vides a broad view of events from 1896 to 1918. From an era characterized by
brutal struggles, crushed strikes, and intimidation, Mellinger manages to extract
a hopeful conclusion. Unions may have been bloodied on many occasions, and
factionalism survived in many quarters, but "inclusionists" (p. 202) favoring eth-
nic cooperation finally gained ascendancy in copper mining-camp labor.
His book offers considerable documentation and no equivocation. To his
credit, Mellinger does not hesitate to take strong positions, even when they place
him at odds with other authors in the field. He pursues a careful investigation
encompassing property assessment records, sources on immigration and
employment, and detailed wage differentials to pinpoint the character of the
work force. Well-chosen and -reproduced photographs depict the circumstances
of the workers' lives. Whenever possible, Mellinger traces the career paths of
those in the labor movement. Sometimes conjecture must suffice, as in his sug-
gestion that men defeated in the failed 1913 strike at the American Smelting
and Refining Company smelter in El Paso may have moved on to fight another
day in Arizona mining camps. Mellinger's epiphany arrives in the successful
Clifton-Morenci strike of 1915-1916, when recent Hispanic immigrant workers
were activated by new, committed Western Federation of Miners leaders ready to
accept them as equals. The union disaster at Bisbee, where over a thousand men
were deported in 1917, receives somewhat cursory treatment, and Mellinger
denies that it reversed the inclusionary process underway in the West.
This book will find its primary audience among labor historians. It is not a
sweeping narrative, like Zeese Papanikolas's Buried Unsung (1982). But despite
the unfortunate absence of a bibliography, the historian will find Mellinger's
book a useful reference work.
University of Nevada, Reno SALLY ZANJANI
Politics in the Postwar American West. Edited by Richard Lowitt. (Norman:
University of Oklahoma Press, 1995. Pp. x+400. ISBN 0-8061-2741-4.
The nineteen prominent historians in this book present an extremely effective
introduction to the political issues, styles, and traditions of the modern West.
Political diversity, growth, personality, water, the environment, and the persis-
tence of colonialism are among its most important themes. Despite the com-
monality of water scarcity and a shared frontier experience, this volume reveals
great western political diversity. To illustrate the range, Jackson Putnam writes of
the liberal vs. conservative ideological politics of California, while Phil Roberts
and Peggy Bieber-Roberts find a non-ideological, personality-dominated politics
in Wyoming. Robert E. Ficken delineates how water was central to Washington
state politics with the building of the Grand Coulee-Columbia River system
dams; Peter Iverson discloses that Indians fought developers over reservation
rights vs. water use in Arizona; William Pratt describes how management defeat-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 99, July 1995 - April, 1996, periodical, 1996; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101217/m1/488/: accessed May 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.