The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 103, July 1999 - April, 2000 Page: 264
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
in Alcalde temporarily lost a foot, and bitter controversy arose over erecting
another statue in his honor in Albuquerque. A quieter commemoration of
Ofiate's blazing the Camino Real is this book of photographs taken along the
route from Mexico City to Santa Fe.
Douglas Preston traces the modern trek that he and his wife took over the
Camino Real by car, on horseback, and on foot. Woven into this modern story is
a retelling of Ofiate's journey in 1598. Preston's narrative is a good introduction
for readers unfamiliar with the Camino Real. Countless thousands now travel
along the Camrnlno Real in New Mexico and Mexico, but few have covered as
much of Ofiate's route as the Prestons. Perhaps it is inevitable, having experi-
enced the difficulty of the terrain firsthand, that the author developed a special
admiration for Oiate. Still, Preston has come very close to walking in Ofiate's
boots and may know his man.
Photographer Christine Preston has remarked that she is most drawn to aban-
doned places on the Camino Real, there to contemplate those who have passed
before her. This predilection for desolate spots explains why her most stunning
images are of such places: the windswept ruins of Chicomoztoc in the Mexican
state of Zacetecas, the sere M6danos de Samalayuca in the state of Chihuahua,
and the Lava Gate on the remote Jornada del Muerto in southern New Mexico.
These photographs are a powerful evocation of place. Limitless vistas,
unchanged over the centuries, invite the reader to drift back in time. This book
traces an ancient highway still in use over much of its course, and there are mod-
ern cityscapes and not a few churches and small towns-alive and dead-that
poignantly demonstrate the fickle nature of the Camino Real, which has fol-
lowed fortune, creating booms and busts.
In a genealogical appendix on the people of the Camino Real, Jose Antonio
Esquibel describes the waves of Spanish colonization of New Mexico and identi-
fies the origins of many of its Hispano families. This will be of interest primarily
to genealogists and descendants of these families. Yet there is more here than
just names and places. In his discussion of how members of the distinct waves of
colonists initially chose marriage partners from their own and other groups,
there is the beginning of a new social history of colonial New Mexico. A series of
vignettes breathe life into colorful individuals who traveled to New Mexico over
the Camino Real.
Christine Preston once stated that she would pass over the Camino Real with-
out leaving a trace, as had thousands before her. She added, however, that she
never exhausted the supple images of the Camino Real. Through her efforts to
capture them on film, she has belied her own words and left an indelible mark
on an ancient highway.
Unzverszty of New Mexaco RICK HENDRICKS
Sketches From the Five States of Texas. By A. C. Greene. (College Station: Texas
A&M University Press, 1998. Pp. xviii+176. Acknowledgments, publisher's
acknowledgment, index. ISBN o-89o96-842-X. $27.95, cloth; $25.95,
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 103, July 1999 - April, 2000, periodical, 2000; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101220/m1/300/?rotate=270: accessed December 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.