The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 103, July 1999 - April, 2000 Page: 384

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

with many other prominent Californios, had a mistress and several children to
whom he gave his name. Don Alvarado became an alcoholic and his periodic
binges were embarrassing: they caused him to miss his own wedding, his own
inauguration as governor, and to panic when the Americans mistakenly invaded
Monterey in 1842.
Despite this weakness Alvarado emerges in this political biography as a man
who was a capable leader and who enjoyed the respect of many native
Californians. He participated at most of the crucial turning points in the territo-
rial history: the revolt against Nicolas Guti6rrez and Micheltorena made
Alvarado the longest termed governor of Mexican California. His importance
deserves more that the sentence or two that he usually gets in California history
texts. Miller's political biography concludes by characterizing Juan Alvarado as
"brilliant, energetic, honest, and popular" (p.178). This historical biography is
long overdue.
Where Rails Meet the Sea: America's Connections between Ships and Trains. By Michael
Krieger. (New York: Friedman/Fairfax Publishers, 1998. Pp. 176. Illustrations,
preface, introduction, bibliography, index. ISBN 1-56799-597-7. $22.98,
Books about railroads and books about ships are common, but books about the
relationship between them are rare. This book focuses on ports as places where
railroads and ship routes converge. It is ambitious in scope, covering the entire
country geographically-from the Atlantic to Pacific ports, and from the Great
Lakes to the Gulf. Even Alaska and Hawaii are included. The time period covered
is also ambitious-from the 184os to the present-with emphasis on the "golden
age" of steam-powered trains and ships from about 186o to the 1930s. It should
be noted straightaway that this is mainly an illustrated history; in fact, about 8o
percent of the book is devoted to illustrations of trains, ships, and ports. The text
in the remaining 20 percent is a bit sparse, but generally informative.
The section on the South, especially the Gulf South, will be of general interest
to readers of the Southwestern Historical Quarterly. Krieger rightly notes the suprema-
cy of New Orleans in this region, and also emphasizes the important role played by
Galveston in the transport of passengers and the shipping of products such as cot-
ton and wheat. However, because only Galveston and Houston are covered, some
readers might conclude that they were/are the only Texas ports served by rail.
Other important historic Texas ports, such as Aransas Pass, Port Arthur, Orange,
and Corpus Christi, are not mentioned, but this omission may be explained by this
book's broad focus. There are a few minor errors scattered throughout the text:
for example, the first railroad in Texas began operation in 1853, not 1851. Other
interpretations demand some clarification. Krieger's suggestion that Galveston lost
its supremacy to Houston as a consequence of the 19goo hurricane is widely
shared, but not accurate. By that late nineteenth century, aggressive ship channel
dredging had begun siphoning Galveston's trade to Houston, which soon eclipsed
Galveston in population. More to the point, Houston's location as a major rail hub
sealed Galveston's fate well before the hurricane. Like most disasters, then, the



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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 103, July 1999 - April, 2000, periodical, 2000; Austin, Texas. ( accessed June 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.