The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 89, July 1985 - April, 1986 Page: 100
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100 Southwestern Historical Quarterly
On the other hand, the research is thorough; the sources, wide rang-
ing. Despite its Louisiana orientation, the book has some interesting,
new information about the first Chinese to come to Texas, those hired
by the Houston and Texas Central railroad in 1870. But perhaps the
most original parts of the book are the section on the Louisiana sugar
planter Edward J. Gay and his dealings with the Chinese (based on his
family papers) and the chapter on the subsequent history of the Chi-
nese cotton sharecroppers in Natchitoches (based on interviews with
their descendants). Also noteworthy is the contention that the Chinese
were not so docile as they usually are portrayed in the historical liter-
ature (or indeed as they had been advertised originally). For all its
shortcomings, the book is a pioneering study of an obscure subject.
Apart from James W. Loewen, The Mississippi Chinese: Between Black and
White (1971), there is nothing quite like it.
University of Texas at Austin EDWARD J. M. RHOADS
Of America East and West: Selections from the Writings of Paul Horgan. By
Paul Horgan. Introduction by Henry Steele Commager. (New
York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1984. Pp. xv+393. Introduction,
Paul Horgan's writing career is now in its sixth decade. Over the past
half-century he has produced an astonishing volume and variety of
published material-forty-one titles in all. He has written copiously
about his native East (he was born in Buffalo, New York) as well as his
adopted Southwest (he was reared and lived for several decades in New
Mexico). Of America East and West is an anthology of Horgan's previously
published work arranged according to genre: history, biography, essay,
short story, novel.
Of his works of history, the two-volume Great River: The Rio Grande in
North American History, which won an award from the Texas Institute of
Letters when it was first published in 1954, is unquestionably Horgan's
major achievement. In his introduction to Of America East and West,
Henry Steele Commager implies that Horgan's approach to history is
similar to that of "the Annales school of French historians" (p. xi). This
statement seems to me at best misleading. Horgan does not really at-
tempt to recreate the mentalit of an era. He focuses instead on individ-
uals; he tries to imagine what it must have been like for each of the
principals in a historic event, how his or her strengths and weaknesses
of character helped shape that event. For example, his marvelous ac-
count in Great River of Stephen F. Austin's 1822 journey to Mexico City
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 89, July 1985 - April, 1986, periodical, 1985/1986; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117151/m1/126/?rotate=90: accessed April 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.