Heritage, Volume 5, Number 1, Spring 1987 Page: 46
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struction, it betrays historical interpretations
no longer widely accepted by scholars.
Amateur historians would have been
better served, and academic historians
less offended, had this contextual material
been more representative of current
scholarship. Yet these letters, rich in detail,
offer a valuable portrait of life and
love, tragedy and failure, success and
amusement, illness and death in a fascinating
section of Texas. Many of the
correspondents were remarkable people
with spunk and a zest for living, and the
reader comes to know and like them. The
book effectively personalizes history.
Scholars will find in these marvelous
letters scattered nuggets to use in their
analyses of Texas history, while novices
will find in this enticing glimpse at
the mother lode of history-primary
sources-an incentive to go further in
their exploration of the past. This attractively
printed volume well serves its purpose;
it should spur readers to discover
the drama and adventure to be found in
their own historical backyards.
John B. Boles teaches Southern history at Rice
University. His most recent book, coedited with
Evelyn Thomas Nolen, is entitled Interpreting
Southern History (Louisiana State University
Landmarks of Texas Architecture. Lawrence
W. Speck; photographs by Richard
Payne. Austin: University of Texas Press,
1986. 119 pages, illustrated.
In 1983 the Texas Society of Architects
decided to mount an exhibit "to
heighten public awareness of Texas' architectural
heritage." The exhibition committee
chose twenty buildings that demonstrated
the diversity of and changes in
the constructed environment of the state;
Richard Payne was then commissioned
to photograph those buildings. The result
was "Creating Tomorrow's Heritage."
Landmarks of Texas Architecture is drawn
from that exhibition.
Speck has written a brief history of
each building, including factors that went
into its design. His comments frequently
include his own intelligent, critical analysis.
Payne's photographs are straightforward,
architectural documents that
give a sense of the whole, the details, and
the context of the structures. Unhappily,
the book suffers a major design flaw in
running several of the most impressive
images across the gutter: the characteris
tic arch in the facade of the Alamo is divided
in two on the title-page spread and
the dome of the Capitol is totally invisible.
It is regrettable that such a useful
and interesting introduction to Texas architecture
is so marred.
Rio Grande Heritage: A Pictorial History.
Brian Robertson. Norfolk, Virginia:
Donning Company, 1985. 215 pages,
Beginning with the Spanish exploration
of the South Texas coast in 1519,
Robertson traces the development of the
region to the 1930s. The text is well written
and gives the essential elements of
people, places, and events. The images,
however, are the bulk of the book. Using
maps, broadsides, photographs, sketches,
and paintings, Robertson shows his readers
the story of South Texas. Each picture
has an interpretive caption which provides
Rio Grande Heritage was produced with
a grant from the McAllen State Bank,
and proceeds from the book will benefit
the Hidalgo County Historical Museum.
A Mexican-American's Rediscovery
Of His Family's Lost Land Grant
By Abel G. Rubio
Edited by Thomas H. Kreneck
Murder, violence, and intimidation are the bitter grapes of the Becerra and de la
Garza families, early-day Spanish settlers who had been in Texas several generations
when Stephen F. Austin and other Americans received land grants in the
early 1820s and '30s. The author, a member of this family, researched the archives
only to learn that his great-grandfather had been defrauded of land that
today is in the middle of one of the largest ranches in South Texas. This account
of the family's attempt to recover what they consider their landed heritage is
charged with emotion, family feuds, and a lawsuit. Mr. Rubio is retired from the
Marine Corps and makes his home in Houston, where he is an accountant. 224
pages, 53/4 x 83/4, 12 photos, maps, index. ISBN 548-8 .................... $14.95
A model of detective work which will attract the notice of professional historians. ... An engrossing
tale of frontier injustice emanating from a combination of oral tradition and archival
Arnoldo De Leon
Associate Professor, Angelo State University
EAKIN PUBLICATIONS, INC.
7 P0 P.O. Box 23069 * Austin, Texas 78735
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 5, Number 1, Spring 1987, periodical, Spring 1987; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45438/m1/46/: accessed March 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.