An exhaustive, exploratory history of the varying roadways to Texas as shaped and sharpened by the conflicting cultures and conquests of Spanish, French, Indian, Mexican and U.S. adventurers belaboring each other during four centuries, beginning with the 16th. The author- a noted Southerner and student of race relations-going up hill and down hill mountains of material is indisputably a super-charged scholar. But his trophy-packed trek over the Spanish Trail, or the camino real, though presented in panoramic proportions (a Cinemascope canvas, a cast of thousands, blood and thunder events), is still stylistically pretty dull: lots of documentary queries (""What meaning does this have for us?.....To what purpose did they journey?""), and old hat prose dramatics. As a chronicle, however, it has considerable clearing-house command and those looking to locate the territory's legends and landmarks (the Alamo; the oddball biracial Republic of Fredonia) or its explorers and expeditions (Cavelier to Matagorda Bay; Saint Denis to San Antonio; Philip Nolan's hapless huckstering), will find them within easy browsing or dozing distance here.