ARIZONA: Historic Land by Bert M. Fireman

ARIZONA: Historic Land

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A lackluster summary of Arizona history--from ""the original life-style of Cochise Man"" to the Sunbelt influx--that replaces ""the stereotypes of Western lore"" with the platitudes of boosterism. Much of this is Basic Arizona Information: Cabeza de Vaca, Fray Marcos, Father Kino; Spanish rule, Mexican sovereignty, Apache ""terrorism,"" American settlement; the Mexican Cession and the Gadsden Purchase; territorial status (1863-1912); ""Settling the Indian Question""; mining and agriculture; statehood (Carl Hayden, Barry Goldwater); ""The Desert Blooms."" Firestone differs from most present-day historians in judging Mexican rule harsh (hence, the war warranted); and his picture of the steadily improving Indian ""lifestyle"" (thanks to white innovations), and of harmonious, latter-day Indian-white relations, will hardly win universal assent. He is also uncritically enthusiastic about all forms of mineral or water-resource development. (When man came to Arizona, ""he did trifle with the environment, and thereupon produced an economy which now supports 2.5 million inhabitants who export the produce of their technology and tillage systems to far comers of the earth."") The one unhackneyed aspect is the story of Mormon settlement. The least-likely-to-be-read-outside-of-class: rundowns on every territorial and elected governor. Lawrence Clark Powell's personable introduction only reminds us inadvertently that he wrote a better, if different, history of Arizona a few years back.

Pub Date: Oct. 30th, 1982
Publisher: Knopf