The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004 Page: 134
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134 Southwestern Historical Quarterly July
and urban recruitment would have tested the notion of social conflict outside
the confines of the city.
Foos raises an important issue by questioning the motives of Americans who
participated in the war against Mexico. However, he dismisses the republican
ideology expressed by both regulars and volunteers as merely bravado to cover a
more sinister plot to rob Mexico and its citizens. His monocausal approach
ignores the complexity of a conflict that reflected the societal struggles of the
early republic so well.
A Short, Offhand, Killing Affazr is an ambitious work that fails to live up to its
full potential. The fault is less the author's knowledge than a one-dimensional
interpretation built on faulty notions regarding the nation's military establish-
ment during the Mexican War. Even so, it is an important approach that
deserves notice as a worthy attempt that points the way for future studies con-
necting the war and society.
The Alamo RICHARD BRUCE WINDERS
Land! Irish Pioneers zn Mexican and Revolutionary Texas. By Graham Davis. (College
Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2002. Pp. xii+304. Introduction, illus-
trations, maps, appendices, bibliography, index. $29.95, cloth.)
For generations, scholars have described the story of the Irish arrival in the
United States as a flight from famine and destitution. Graham Davis, in a scholar-
ly and carefully documented work, argues that the Irish in Texas were neither
oppressed nor poverty-stricken, but came as middle-income farmers seeking land
in the New World. As an Irishman himself, Davis argues for the importance of
cultural diversity. He defines his methodology as "inclusive" history, combining
"oppression" history, Irish as victims, with "contribution" history, Irish as victors.
The author begins by tracing the history of Texas during the first half of the
nineteenth century. Mexican land grants of almost 5,ooo acres triggered "Texas
fever" in Ireland as elsewhere. During the 1830s, Irish families joined empresar-
ios, or colonizers, who had received grants from the Mexican government to
bring law-abiding Catholic settlers to Texas. In his second chapter, he disproves
many Irish migration studies, concluding that the Irish settlers were self-financed
and drawn by a desire for land. Chapter 3 concentrates on the four Irish empre-
sarios, portraying them as men of vision, determined to benefit from land specu-
lation and their Mexican contacts. In Chapter 4 Davis explains the Irish loyalty to
Mexico during the Texas Revolution. Caught in the center of the war zone, they
made decisions based on their own survival. For the years after 1836, Davis turns
to contemporary Irish accounts to describe the difficulties of pioneer life. He
points out that the Irish retained their culture and stamped their identity on
South Texas. In his last chapter, Davis traces the story of the cultural transfer of
cattle ranching techniques from the Mexican ranchers to the Irish, and in partic-
ular to Thomas O'Connor, the nephew of empresario James Power. Davis had
the opportunity to explore the O'Connor family archives, which today remain
unavailable to outsiders. Although Davis dismisses the accusations of Mexican
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004, periodical, 2004; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101224/m1/152/: accessed December 10, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.