The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 97, July 1993 - April, 1994 Page: 183

Book Reviews

importance of Southern cotton ports, described by L. Tuffly Ellis in an article for
this journal. He suggests that these families' tolerance of, if not active collusion
with, various shady characters from the 1920os on, such as the Galveston gam-
bling bosses the Maceos, led to the city's declining economic infrastructure. In
the process, Galveston's leading families helped reduce the city's economic role
to that of tawdry playground to the nation. Only the heroic attempts from the
1970os on of those outside the island's social elite, Cartwright suggests, have re-
versed Galveston's long decline. Yet, while Galveston's emphasis on historical
restoration and celebration are commendable, one may question the long-term
viability of an economy increasingly reliant on tourist dollars.
Cartwright particularly enjoys excoriating the Moody family for its curmud-
geonly approach to civic affairs. The pathetic story of Shearn Moody, Jr., is of-
fered as a morality play proving the Moodys' villainy. Unfortunately, since
Cartwright provides no footnotes, it is impossible to tell when he offers facts and
when he is merely repeating island gossip.
At times, the author makes what to many readers will seem like outrageous as-
sertions. For example, he claims that the island's wide-open atmosphere and tol-
erance of prostitution led to its low rape figures, a conclusion sure to offend
many readers (p. 226).
In conclusion, Galveston: A History of the Island may satisfy those looking for a
colorful read. Those looking for serious scholarship, however, will probably find
themselves disappointed.
University of Texas at Austin SUZANNE L. SUMMERS
Boom and Bust: The Historical Cycles of Matamoros and Brownsville. By Milo Kearney
and Anthony Knopp. (Austin: Eakin Press, 1991. Pp. v+326. Acknowledg-
ments, introduction, illustrations, endnotes, bibliography, index. $19.95
cloth; $15.95 paper.)
Framed in the larger context of economic boom and bust cycles and of na-
tional and international currents, this engaging synthesis of Brownsville and bor-
der history traces developments in the Rio Grande delta from the earliest traces
of human occupation to present-day controversies over maquiladoras and free
trade. This treasure trove of local and regional history draws from research car-
ried out by the authors and by other scholars and researchers. It is spiced with
dichos (folk sayings) gathered in the area and is attractively illustrated by Peter
Gawenda, who has collaborated with the authors on other works.
With few resources that could be exploited profitably until the twentieth cen-
tury, Brownsville and Matamoros sprung up and grew almost exclusively as entry
points for the trade with northern Mexico and as a result of the 1848 demarca-
tion of the border. Residents of these coastal towns periodically endured devas-
tating yellow fever epidemics, Gulf hurricanes, flooding from the Rio Bravo (the
Wild River, as Mexicans call the Rio Grande), and blockades and invasions. Resi-
dents reaped the blessings of occasional economic bonanzas, only to sustain
long depressions.


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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 97, July 1993 - April, 1994, periodical, 1994; Austin, Texas. ( accessed October 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.