The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 99, July 1995 - April, 1996 Page: 575

Book Reviews

with leaders, a dynamic policy-making structure, and political objectives. In Ma-
tovina's study, Tejanos assert their legitimacy in a pluralist cultural milieu.
While the book's structure facilitates sociological analysis, it does tend to leave
the reader wishing for a traditional narrative format which might have provided
a bit more story-line continuity and orientation. Overall, the book is commend-
able as the first successful effort to define Tejano identity through collective be-
havior in an obscure transition period after 1836. And for those who would seek
to pick up the Tejano trail from Matovina, he has left it marked with a gauntlet
at the San Antonio city limits.
Texas A&M University-Kingsville ANDRES TIJERINA
General M. G. Vallejo and the Advent of the Amercans: A Biography. By Alan Rosenus.
(Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1995. Pp. xv+292. Preface,
notes, bibliography, index. ISBN o-82631-586-0. $42.50.)
According to his biographer, Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo wore many hats-he
was an "aesthete, dreamer, land speculator, politician, republican, and autocrat"
(p. 233). Vain and egotistical, he was not a "one-dimensional model of virtue,
[but] rather an alloy of the good and bad" (pp. xiii-xiv). An example of his
good side from the American point of view was his eagerness for the United
States to annex California. This became his "school, his credo, and finally his se-
cret enemy" (p. xiv). The general not only welcomed Americans into California
but into his own family as well.
Instead of writing a complete study of Vallejo's life, Rosenus concentrates on
his middle years in fourteen of the sixteen chapters, with the major focus on the
Mexican War years. Because of this approach, at times the book is more of a his-
tory of the Sonoma Valley and California than a biography of Vallejo, who is rel-
egated to the role of a minor player surrounded by the more controversial
figures of John Charles Fr6mont, John A. Sutter, Thomas O. Larkin, and various
participants in the Bear Flag Rebellion.
Vallejo's early career was impressive. At nineteen he became a member of the
territorial legislature and soon embarked upon a military career, eventually es-
tablishing a military post in Sonoma and colonizing the surrounding area. In re-
turn he received a ten-league land grant, the beginning of his extensive
agricultural holdings, and in 1836 was named commandant general of Alta Cali-
One of Vallejo's most intriguing relationships was with his son-in-law, John B.
Frisbie, who managed, and at times mismanaged, his business affairs. Despite
Frisbie's blatant disregard for Vallejo's economic well-being, the general never
seemed to lose confidence in this man who forced him into a life of genteel
poverty in his later years.
The book's final chapter is by far the best, as Rosenus explores Vallejo's rela-
tionships with his wife and children, allowing the reader a glimpse behind the
public man.



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