The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 101, July 1997 - April, 1998 Page: 552
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
pun on "riding the range," is derived from the editors' and contributors' efforts
"to develop inclusive historical frameworks and to imagine historical narratives
from many perspectives," i.e. to write the "full range of all the stories and of all
the actors, into a common western history" (p. 5).
What the editors aptly describe as their "racial ethnic" focus is apparent in the
overall contents and organization of the book. The twenty-nine essays--dealing
with Spanish-Mexican, Chinese, Basque, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Slavic,
Irish, Navajo, African American, and other non-Anglo women in the West-are
presented in chronological sections. The first section, "Perspectives," is perhaps
the most cohesive and informative. The three essays examine "some of the ways
older scholarship distorted racial ethnic women's lives and reviews efforts to
write new histories from their perspectives" (p. 9). The following six sections-
containing from three to five essays each-are entitled "Frontiers," "Resisting
Conquest," "Newcomers," "Seeking Empowerment," "Cultures and Identities,"
and "Urban Frontiers." Texas readers will notice that the only essay primarily
about Texas women is the last essay in the volume, the informative and well-writ-
ten "'My Mother Was a Mover': African American Seminole Women in
Brackettville, Texas, 1914-1964."
The useful select bibliographies that conclude the book appropriately reflect
the non-Anglo focus of the collection; in addition to the general bibliography,
there are separate bibliographies dealing with African American women, Asian
American women, Euro-American ethnic women, Native American women, and
Latinas/Hispanas in the West.
Texas A&M University SYLVIA GRIDER
The Minds of the West: Ethnocultural Evolution in the Rural Middle West, 183 o-1917.
By Jon Gjerde. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1997. Pp.
xiii+426. Acknowledgments, introduction, epilogue, notes, index. ISBN
0-8078-2312-0. $39.95, cloth.)
In the rush to develop the outlines of a multicultural nation, academic histori-
ans in particular have been guilty of a kind of "lumping" most commonly associ-
ated with natural scientists: they have grouped everyone who is white in skin
color under one rubric, the heading "white," and described them as a monolith-
ic-and often oppressive-culture. A few voices have protested this unfortunate
categorization, recognizing a multiplicity of ethnic and cultural differences
among the range of Europeans who came to the Americas after 1830. Jon
Gjerde here adds his perspective to the few, crafting a work of impressive range
and depth that offers one more reason that historians should not fall prey to the
passing fancies of the moment.
Gjerde's focus is the tension between incoming European migrants, who saw
the region to which they came as a place to reconstruct their cultures in a new
setting, and the American nation, which regarded the agricultural Midwest in
neo-Jeffersonian and Turnerian terms, as a place where virtuous farmers could
fashion a distinctly American nation. Was there one "mind," as it used to be
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 101, July 1997 - April, 1998, periodical, 1998; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117155/m1/635/: accessed July 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.