The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 77, July 1973 - April, 1974 Page: 415
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ROBERT A. CALVERT, Editor
Navajo Wars: Military Campaigns, Slave Raids, and Reprisals. By Frank
McNitt. (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, I972. Pp.
xii+477. Illustrations, notes, appendices, bibliography, index. $15.)
This massive history of Navajo relations with first the Spaniards and then
the Mexicans and the Americans is a fitting memorial to the diligence,
perseverance, and craftsmanship of the late Frank McNitt. The product of
eight years of research in Spanish, Mexican, and American archives (Mc-
Nitt says in the foreword that he read over 30,000 documents), this final
volume in McNitt's distinguished career is nothing short of encyclopedic in
its detailed description of Navajo history from 154o to 1861.
It would be impossible in a review of this length to discuss all the merits
of this most impressive book. While only eighty-eight pages are devoted to
the Spanish and Mexican periods (I 540-I846), it is possible to say that
McNitt and his co-workers (David M. Brugge, John P. Wilson, Marc
Simmons, Myra Ellen Jenkins, Ward A. Minge, and others) have added
immensely to our knowledge of this era, particularly the relatively unex-
plored Mexican period. McNitt's description of the Roque de Madrid ex-
pedition (1705), as well as his information on the origins of the Din6
Ana'aii or "Enemy Navajo" and their leaders Joaquin and Sandoval, are
both new additions to the knowledge of even Navajo specialists. Lay readers
will find additional recent research skillfully woven into this account.
Most of the book focuses on the period since 1846. One gets the impres-
sion that McNitt was so fascinated by his research into original documents
that he paraphrased nearly every communication he encountered. For this
reason, the book is often difficult reading, but the difficulty is more than
compensated for by the revelations which McNitt adds to this somewhat
familiar period. For instance, he adds greatly to our knowledge of the
Navajo headmen Armijo, Narbona, Delgadito, Gordo, and Zarcillos Lar-
gos; he turns up new information on the founding of Fort Union, the career
of the Navajo agent Henry L. Dodge, and the neglected treaty of Laguna
Negra (1855). Almost as remarkable as his new factual information is his
skillful collation of information from existing secondary sources, scientific
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 77, July 1973 - April, 1974, periodical, 1973/1974; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117148/m1/465/?rotate=90: accessed May 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.