The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 89, July 1985 - April, 1986 Page: 229
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geographers reveal a state known for its great size, but less known for
the diversity, past and present, reflected in its physical environment
and in its cultural and economic mosaics. This diversity is emphasized
by analyzing the various landscapes, both cultural (population and de-
mographics; subcultures and ethnic groups; linguistic, religious, politi-
cal and urban patterns; rural settlement, architecture, survey systems)
and economic (agriculture, industry, and manufacturing). One chapter
also analyzes, in a traditional way, the features of the physical environ-
ment, and another examines the twenty-nine regions thought to be
perceived by Texans. The chapter on the perceived regions not only
will convince any non-Texans who do not think Texas is a varied state,
but also will allow Texans to understand their role in creating this
Much of the book is based upon previous research, particularly that
published by the prominent historical/cultural geographer Terry G.
Jordan. The text is supported by twenty-four tables and more than two
hundred clear and meaningful illustrations, one-third being photos
and the remainder being mostly maps-some based upon recent cen-
sus data. In fact, the book may be viewed as a miniatlas. It is part of
the Westview Geographies of the United States, a series on individual
Probably because of Jordan's influence, the book's analysis is heavily
historical and cultural. This approach is found even in the discussion of
the physical environment, in which anecdotes are used to portray the
early settlers' perceptions of climate and vegetation. These observa-
tions are mixed throughout the text and all provide human interest.
The multiethnic mix and subcultures in the population, which stem
from foreign immigration and internal migration-largely from parts
of the South-and their settlement patterns and material culture are
given considerable attention. One may wonder, however, if there is not
a taint of cultural determinism. For instance, the authors refer to the
hillbillies, who migrated from the mountainous and hilly parts of the
South, as rejecting better land ("splendid rolling hills") in East Texas
to settle in the Hill Country because of familiarity with such terrain
(pp. 16-17). Other factors, as the text points out later (p. 74), may have
been at play-the better lands may have been too expensive or already
The reader is also left with the impression that the cultural landscape
of Texas is wholly the result of the diffusion of ideas or cultural bag-
gage brought from elsewhere. For example, the Germans introduced
fachwerk construction and the Mexicans used palisado construction.
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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/m1/267/: accessed July 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.