The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 105, July 2001 - April, 2002 Page: 527

Book Reviews

ment is seldom mentioned. Nevertheless, the snapshot approach gives the
reader a decent idea of the city's life from its fledgling beginning, through the
heydays of the 1850s, the Civil War and Reconstruction, to its untimely hurri-
cane-induced end.
Though the book begins with history, it seems the author's real love is the
wilderness that is Matagorda Island. It would be impossible to miss the author's
attachment, perhaps love affair is not too strong, with the island. She describes
the island as a wilderness; it is primitive and not a place to go if one wants
amenities. She then gives practical advice in her "Before you go, know ..." sec-
tion (pp. 103-104). And she is correct, call before you go or you might miss the
last ferry to the island as I did. Most notable in the wilderness portion of the
book are the ten-page birding list and map with a route for bird-watchers to fol-
low in Old Town-Indianola.
In conclusion, Linda Wolff's book is a good combination of local history and a
visitor's guide to Indianola and Matagorda Island. If that is what you are looking
for, buy the book. If you want a detailed history of Indianola, look elsewhere.
Texas A&M University, Kingsville LARRY KNIGHT
A History of Navigation on Cypress Bayou and the Lakes. By Jacques D. Bagur.
(Denton: University of North Texas Press, 2001. Pp. xii+821. Preface, intro-
duction, appendix, bibliographical essay, index. ISBN 1-57441-135-7.
$67.95, cloth.)
Texans, especially East Texans, have enjoyed this legend about Jefferson,
located in Marion County, for many years: During the middle third of the nine-
teenth century, Jefferson was the state's leading exporter of cotton and importer
of processed commodities and manufactures. This was possible because of great
rafts on the Red River that slowed its current and backed up waters in lakes and
tributaries-including Cypress Bayou, which enabled Jefferson to provide access
to a water route from northeast Texas as far west as Dallas via the Red and
Mississippi Rivers. To explain why Jefferson had declined so precipitously by the
end of the century, enter the railroad andJefferson's alleged rejection of subsidy
because of faith in their port.
Fred Tarpley's Jefferson: Rzverport to the Southwest (Austin: Eakin Press, 1983)
shattered the legend about the railroad. Now Jacques D. Bagur drops the other
shoe with an exhaustive History of Navigation on Cypress Bayou and the Lakes. Bagur's
work began with an assignment from the Corps of Engineers to research a pro-
posed navigational connection between Shreveport and Daingerfield, Texas. But
that only wet Bagur's feet, so to speak, and the project expanded when Cypress
Valley Navigation District commissioned him to provide a history of navigation
between Shreveport and Jefferson. This became a personal commitment to docu-
ment, as much as possible, every ship and cargo that plied those muddy waters.
There are limits. Lack of access to many of Jefferson's historical newspapers
restricted his research to coverage in the Shreveport and New Orleans press and
sources available in Baton Rouge. Despite this handicap, the result is impressive.



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