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20ogBook Reviews451 One of die work's strengths stems from the author's use of primary materials. For example, Gentry utilized the Adjutant General's Papers, Erath County Court House documents, local newspapers, naturalization records, and oral interviews. The inclusion of these resources not only serves the reader's interest, but they also add to die author's credibility. The book is well written and thoroughly researched. While the work provides readers widi an excellent account of Thurber's vivid history, it also serves as a significant addition to the historiography of Texas communities during the late nineteendi and early twentiedi centuries. Any historian interested in Texas history , urban studies, and business history would find diis book a valuable resource. Tidewater Community College, Chesapeake, VirginiaKevin M. Brady Building the Borderlands: A Transnational History ofIrrigated Cotton along the MexicoTexas Border, by Casey Walsh. (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2008. Pp. 246. Illustrations, photographs, maps, charts, bibliography, index. ISBN: 9781603440134, $47.50 cloth.) For eighty years, from 1880 to i960, cotton was a preeminent crop along the stretch of the Rio Grande that separates Texas and Mexico. The crop's expansion was attributable to the advances in irrigation technology that developed along a singularly different pattern on either side of the border. Casey Walsh explores the topic of cotton production as a metaphor to explain the development of the borderlands, drawing together land use, migration and, above all, transnational politics. The story is intriguing, traveling from one side of the river to the other, focusing primarily on the more complex ups and downs experienced on die Mexican side. In both areas the opportunity to bring prosperity to the growers (if not the harvesters) was precipitated by the problems confronted in the southeastern United States. The first of these, the Civil War and resultant end of slave labor was followed within a generation by the arrival of the boll weevil. Mexico, not dependent on slaves, but resorting to virtually serf labor in the river-blessed Laguna region where production was first centered, recognized the potential of new irrigation technology. The munificent Anderson Clayton Company was only too pleased to become involved, and large-scale irrigation projects augured well for production closer to the border. Besides this generous contribution, Mexico's cotton was dependent on two factors: global needs and the federal and state governments' whims. In Texas, although the world markets were certainly a determining factor, investment in the irrigation projects spurred by the 1 902 Reclamation Act was primarily in private hands. By the early years of the twentieth century, the Texas borderland already boasted a citrus and agricultural base alongside the cotton. In diese same years, Mexico was still striving to convert ranchland into suitably prepared acreage. Mexico was handicapped by the land-holding system, which despite later expropriation, limited the opportunity for wide-scale development. A further 452Southwestern Historical QuarterlyApril impediment, the varied status of die workers' setdements, added complexity to attempts at coordinating production. Walsh discusses the ejidos, die colonos, die campesinos and their relative suitability for the work. Today, where once cotton covered diousands of hectares, sorghum and corn are now the dominant crops. Walsh suggests diat promoting these basic grains is part of Mexico's federal "national food system designed to support die rural sector and provide security in an increasingly volatile and politicized world market" (P- 175)ยท Building the Borderlands is divided into nine chapters, widi a certain amount of overlap, each encapsulated in a brief conclusion. This is indeed useful as the story is convoluted. Along with being an extremely detailed narrative history, between the lines the book is a saga of villainy and political treachery, with presidents , state governors, and project directors promising improved quality of life and dien retracting their pledges. This distasteful element is hard to ignore. Maps, charts, and an index complement the text and footnotes. The bibliography includes extensive direct and peripheral subject matter and full historical coverage. As a geographer, I wish for more informative maps and, having limited skill in Spanish, would welcome a glossary. Austin, TexasJane Manaster Jerry Bywaters, Ij>ne Star Printmaker: A Study ofHis Printing Notebook with a Catalogue ofHis Prints and a Checklist ofHis...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1558-9560
Print ISSN
0038-478X
Pages
pp. 451-452
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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