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88Southwestern Historical QuarterlyJuly more fully opens the way for some misunderstanding. A colorful narrative, for example, leads to several mentions of cannibalism that exaggerate its frequency without a clear explanation ofits ritual nature. The economic importance ofslavery is noted, and its significance as a political issue is discussed.Yet the lives ofslaves and their diverse responses to their enslavement receive little attention, although they formed 30 percent of the population in i860. The views of Plains Indians as they were forced onto reservations in the 1870s are more fully explored, however, as are African American efforts to overcome discrimination in post-Reconstruction years. Occasionally uiere are confusing statements; for example a sick Bowie is described as "not a factor thereafter" at the Alamo on p. 145. Yet when the Mexican army arrived at San Antonio, Bowie sent a message to Santa Anna asking about a parley on p. 154. Some overstatements also appear, such as die casualties of the Mexican army at the Alamo. Social life and culture receive attention in each section of the volume, but discussion of social life seems more limited in the twentieth century with little comment on music. For these reasons readers seeking more analyses of some events may also wish to see other recent histories ofTexas. Haley's writing is lively and filled with colorful stories as well as sharply drawn biographical sketches. The tone of his volume is usually informal and sometimes irreverent. Thus Passionate Nation is likely to attract a wide audience. Texas Tech UniversityAlwyn Barr Empires oftheAtlantic World: Britain and Spain inAmerica, 1492-1830. ByJ. H. Elliott. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006. Pp. 568. Illustrations, maps, notes, bibliography, index. ISBN 03001 1431 1. $35.00, clodi.) Contingency and serendipity are some of the words that first come to mind to describeJohn Elliott's Empires oftheAtlantic World, the latest in a long list of magisterial books he has authored. It has become commonplace to argue that Britain's Adantic empire was one ofcommerce whereas Spain's was one ofconquest. We have been told that there were no Corteses in Virginia, nor Pizarros in New England, but only planters, merchants, and religious dissenters busily crafting an empire of commerce, liberty, and religious tolerance. In this dichotomous view of the world, the Spanish Empire becomes a foil for alleged Anglo American virtues: For every conquistador plundering the Mexican countryside diere is a merchant creating wealth in Jamestown; and for every haughty viceroy smothering political rights in Peru there is a House ofBurgesses in Virginia and a town meeting in New England. Elliott has no patience for these narratives. The British and Spanish Adantic Empires, he argues, had more than one thing in common. Differences were not ontological but the product of chance. In a breathtaking display of erudition and synthesis, Elliott goes over the history of the British and Spanish setder communities in the New World, from occupation to consolidation to emancipation. Elliott begins by demonstrating diat there were indeed conquistadors among the British and merchants among die Spaniards. Contrary to common opinion, die British made use of every single one of the ceremonies and discourses of legal 2oo7 Book Reviews89 territorial possession first deployed by the Spaniards, including the planting of crosses. Yet for all the similarities, the settler societies these two empires created did diverge. Why? Timing and serendipity played a crucial role. When the conquistadors struck gold and silver in Mexico and Peru, the crown cracked down on die settlers and built massive lay and ecclesiastical bureaucracies in the Indies. As they coordinated the mobilization of indigenous labor in the densely populated highlands of Mexico and Peru, these bureaucracies helped create a homogenous urban Catholic culture throughout. The British were less lucky: they did not strike silver and the indigenous populations diey encountered had already been decimated by disease. No controlling lay bureaucracies were therefore needed. The clerical bureaucracies were not forthcoming either, for the Reformation had weakened the clerical establishment. These factors and other demographic and medieval English cultural patterns (i.e., fear ofmixing with the uncivilized Irish) led to die creation of setder societies loosely controlled by the crown and the Anglican Church. Hoping to encourage white bonding...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1558-9560
Print ISSN
0038-478X
Pages
pp. 88-89
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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