The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 84, July 1980 - April, 1981 Page: 372

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

sources, the reader soon finds that tracking back to the initial full cita-
tion demands more time and work than the substance of the text
merits-a grievous mechanical shortfall by an esteemed press.
Cities of the American West: A History of Frontier Urban Planning.
By John W. Reps. (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University
Press, 1979- Pp. 827. Illustrations, maps, bibliography, index. $75.)
While preparing to review this book I had an experience which
demonstrated its comprehensive quality. A colleague, whose specialty
is Latin American history, strolled into my office, spotted the book,
casually pulled it from its box dust-jacket, thumbed through the
index, and turned to an 1891 "birds-eye" view of Edmond, Oklahoma.
With his forefinger on an imaginary extension of Fourth Street into
the prairie he triumphantly exclaimed, "That's where I was born!"
Edmond, Oklahoma, has never been a large center of urban life, yet
there it was in this book.
John W. Reps's new work is not only detailed, but also intimidating.
Without question, the book is beautiful. There are hundreds of maps
and illustrations, and two segments of color reproductions. The print-
ing, editing, and quality of materials are of the highest standard. So is
the price. The volume is worth the money, however. But it is hardly
the sort of book to dog-ear and underline: it demands a certain amount
of reverence.
In appearance Cities of the American West is reminiscent of Reps's
earlier study, The Making of Urban America (1965). In fact, some of
the same town plats and illustrations are repeated. But this is of little
matter: the newer book is much better. Reps spent eight years com-
pleting his survey of western town planning and during that time he
was supported by the Amon Carter Museum of Western Art in Fort
Reps divides his volume into regions and topics-such as Spanish
settlements, mining camps, Mormon towns, Pacific Northwest settle-
ments, railroad towns, and Oklahoma land-rush communities. He
covers the trans-Mississippi West and even includes towns which have
ceased to exist. For the places he mentions, Reps outlines the economic,
social, and geographical settings. He writes about the individuals in-
volved in the founding or success of a community, explains their con-
cepts of planning-usually illustrated with a map-and evaluates how


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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 84, July 1980 - April, 1981, periodical, 1980/1981; Austin, Texas. ( accessed April 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.