GREAT RIVER: The Rio Grande in N. American History by Paul Horgan
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GREAT RIVER: The Rio Grande in N. American History

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Regional history at its most stupendous, this two volume saga of the Rio Grande, a story in which the clash of many peoples who have merged to make up our Southwest is given its panoramic sweep of drama. A paragraph or two is inadequate to capture anything of the rhythmic, the, almost poetic flow of the style, the sense of the land and the people, the beauty of the concept, with its pictorial, minutiae, as four civilizations take form:- the Indian, particularly the Pueblo Indians, the Spanish, from the Conquistadors to the sharp contrasts of a civilization which included the life of the hidalgos and the grinding poverty of the little people -- these in Volume One; the Mexican, freed from Spanish tutelage, and finally the Anglo-American. Only De Voto and Fergusson have attempted to compass the era. Mr. Horgan has penetrated more deeply into the psychological, social, economic aspects of the civilizations, perhaps, and against these backgrounds, let the sweep of history, the conflicts -- between Indians and invading white, and their bloody battles, between Church and State, between French and Spaniards and finally Americans -- write their often sorry story. Volume Two carries the story to the final (?) settlement of differences between Mexico and the United States over the boundary territories. In those years, Mexico had been successive revolutions, two major wars with the United States, and border strife. Texas had seen created, first as part of Mexico proper, then as a Lone Star Republic, finally as part of the United States-now Confederate, now Union. An age of machinery had taken over from the age of the frontiersmen, though elements commingled, the cowboys sustained the frontier traditions, while the railroads and the machine techniques changed the fundamentals. There's more of organized warfare- less of the Latin dignity of living, less too of the poetry and the hardships of beginnings- in this Part Two. But a-again Horgan has succeeded in telling his story against a rich tapestry of the merging ways of life. Here is source material brought into a cohesive unity of great period por. Just what the general market will be is a question. But for the long term, is a book that will live.

Pub Date: Oct. 11th, 1954
Publisher: Rinehart