The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004 Page: 632
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
The magnificent imagery of the book represents one of its finest features,
making it attractive to the scholar as well as to the lay enthusiast. It includes
more than one hundred photographs and reproductions, although the absence
of detailed maps is puzzling. Inexplicably, the book offers little or no treatment
of boating, busing, or biking. Despite its curious flaws, I recommend the book. It
is an elegant work that takes readers for a ride, offering entertaining anecdotes
and astounding facts. Simply put, it is an intellectual tour de force.
Columbia College of Missour Brad D. Lookingbill
Mystic Galveston: Reinventing America's Third Coast. By Susan Wiley Hardwick. (Bal-
timore: John Hopkins University Press, 2002. Pp xii+175. Preface, acknowl-
edgments, introduction, bibliography, index. ISBN 0-8018-6887-4. $42.95,
Mystic Galveston by Susan Wiley Hardwick builds on Terry Jordan's works that
argue that scholars need to define a distinctive new physiocultural region that
rims North America's Third Coast. He names this tidewater region, located
along the outer edge of the continent from approximately Chesapeake Bay to
the Texas Gulf Coastal Bend, the "Creole Coast." Hardwick agrees with Jordan
but argues that Jordan's thesis is incomplete because he does not focus on the
"urban evolution and the creation of urban landscapes in the region, rather
than on its rural socio-economic and cultural systems" (p. 151). The author
chose Galveston to prove this interesting concept.
Unfortunately, the author misses the mark. Mystic Galveston is flawed by major
historical errors, weak scholarship, poor map work, bad use of artwork, and a
rather shaky thesis. A few examples will suffice. The author notes "La Salle dis-
covered the island [Galveston] in 1685" (p. 20). The Spanish mapped Galveston
16o years before the Frenchman viewed the island. She notes that Francisco
Mina in March 1817 "sailed inland [from Galveston] to help with the war effort
... with Mina capturing Soto la Marina" (p. 21). That is geographically impossi-
ble. Now, if you sail inland from Galveston you will land in Houston. In 1817 if
you sailed inland from Galveston you would quickly strike an oyster reef in
Galveston Bay. Then, and now, to reach Soto la Marina you must sail southward
from Galveston Island. The author also notes, "The fledgling Texas provisional
political leaders also took refuge on Galveston Island in 1838 in an effort to es-
cape capture by Santa Ana's forces" (p. 30). The Texas Revolution ended in
1836. The author also states that in the spring of 1862, "Union military authori-
ties decided to put Galveston under martial law.... We publish today General
Order No. 41 of Gen. Hebert declaring Martial law" (p. 68). Union forces did
not capture Galveston from General Paul O. Hebert until October 1863.
The scholarship is also suspect. Ray Miller's Galveston is a Fodor's-like guidebook
for visiting Galveston, yet the author cites this book several times as a creditable
scholarly source. The author also cites numerous times the original Handbook of
Texas instead of referencing standard monographs on these topics. Likewise, the
map work is sloppy. Map 2.2 (p. 19) has James Long landing in Galveston and
marching to El Paso and Cabeza de Vaca never touching Galveston Island. The
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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/m1/710/: accessed July 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.