The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992 Page: 105

Book Revzews

to help tell his story. Finally, the reader must wait until chapter 3 to find an
explanation of the name "Jornada del Muerto," most popularly rendered "The
Journey of Death."
Not strictly a "scholarly" work, Jornada del Muerlo deserves a place on the
bookshelves of Southwest history enthusiasts.
Schertz, Texas BRUCE ASHCROF'r
HzstoricalAtlas ofthe Ameizcan West. By Warren A. Beck and Ynez D. Haase. (Nor-
man: University of Oklahoma Press, 1989. Pp. xlhi+78. Preface, maps, ap-
pendix, references, index. $29.95.)
To coordinate a comprehensive atlas on a geographic area is an extremely
complex and difficult task. Even if the subject matter focuses on a particular
theme, as in this case history, the decision to include sufficient background ma-
terial (such as the natural environment) or the inclusion of extraneous material
(such as economics or natural hazards) is frequently left to the whims of the
Warren Beck and Ynez Haase have combined for the third time to present a
historical atlas. This volume on the American West is similar in quality and in
content to their efforts on New Mexico and on Cali/ornia, which also used the
format of a black-and-white map(s) facing a page or less of text. The Amencan
West is identified as the seventeen conterminous states west of an eastern edge
framed by the Dakotas in the north to Texas in the south. Coverage of this im-
mense territory from a limited amount of' resources (many of which are out-
dated) may have been carrying the Beck and Haase atlas production beyond its
useful limits.
Whereas I did find pleasing and useful some of the capsules of text that face
onto the maps, I was disturbed about the utility and accuracy of the graphics.
Relative locations of' most elements mapped in the book are based on state
boundaries, even when many Instances called for the inclusion of major rivers,
major mountain ranges, or major settlements. Frequently the maps, such as
physiographic provinces, are drawn from some dated material (Fenneman,
1931) that is no longer accepted as accurate. Many of the natural element maps
and texts on climate and fauna are very generalized, and there is very little tie-
in of the units to the historical section that follows.
Historical events are very difficult to map accurately because descriptions
and chronologies frequently overlook space and location. Cartographic liber-
ties are frequently accepted when designing from limited resources, but I was
disturbed to find that the authors omitted the vast contributions of experts who
created accurate topical maps in state atlases of the region (such as New Mex-
ico, Utah, California, Oregon, Washington, Texas, and so on). These inputs to-
ward an Atlas of the Amezcan West should be imperative. Up-close snapshots are
included, such as the land grants of the Rio Grande area of Texas or the Battle
of Wounded Knee or the eruption of Mount St. Helens. While these are inter-
esting events, there doesn't appear to be a clear reason for the selection of' these


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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992, periodical, 1992; Austin, Texas. ( accessed July 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.