The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992 Page: 274
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Southwestern Historzcal Quarterly
book contains 240 visuals, the majority of which are attractive and suggestive
photographs that depict key events, work experiences, individuals, organiza-
tions, family life, business establishments, and cultural or community activities.
Intended as a public history for the "average reader," Del Pueblo succeeds in
offering a panoramic view of the growth and vitality of the community with an
emphasis on cultural and demographic change and on the highly visible busi-
ness and civic leaders that reflected these changes with expressed concerns over
problems such as poverty and social discrimination affecting the community.
With this important contribution, Kreneck demonstrates a unique ability to
join the skills of an archivist and a historian in service to public knowledge of
De Le6n, who is well-known for his prolific pen and highly instructive histo-
ries of the Texas Mexican community, provides an amplified and more in-
depth interpretation of the subject. He undertakes the ambitious task of mea-
suring the cultural and structural incorporation of Mexicans into the larger
society, a major theme in Mexican American history. De Le6n utilizes a variant
of the assimilationist model to explain a high degree of acculturation against a
backdrop of slow structural assimilation primarily in the twentieth century, a
period of dramatic demographic growth and expansion. The Mexican histori-
cal experience in Houston is unique, according to the author, primarily be-
cause of uneven development at two levels. The constant influx of immigrants
and persistent segregation have reinforced a Mexican cultural world, while
long-term residence, social mobility, and a consumer culture has "american-
ized" large sectors of the community. On the other hand, factors such as oc-
cupational opportunities, improved social relations, and activist pressures
against segregation have contributed to different levels of social incorporation.
The result has been a culturally heterogenous and socially differentiated com-
munity exhibiting internal class tensions that have taken distinct cultural and
political forms. This "bicultural" setting has produced institutions, social-politi-
cal activity, and identities that speak to life experiences in Mexico and the
United States. One of De Le6n's major points of emphasis is the increasing
"americanization" of the Mexican within a dichotomous schema that often
leaves little room for truly syncretic cultural worlds between the Mexican and
Historians may find faults in De Le6n's book, particularly in his occasional
rigid application of his assimilationmst model that he uses to define the direc-
tion, rate, and breadth of social and cultural change. They will also no doubt
acknowledge, however, that he has once again made a fine scholarly contribu-
tion with his untiring devotion to the field.
Univerzly of Houson EMILIO ZAMORA
The Ame zcan Backwoods Fronlzei: An Ethnic and Ecologzcal Interpretation. By Terry
G. Jordan and Matti Kaups. (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press,
1989. Pp. xti+340. Preface, illustrations, maps, conclusion, notes, bibli-
ography, index. $26.oo.)
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992, periodical, 1992; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117153/m1/320/?rotate=270: accessed March 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.