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2oogBook Reviews283 No wonder Rodriguez reportedly believed these Arkansas sculptures were "his greatest achievement" (81). Because his was painstaking work, and because it required such intense concentration , Rodriguez's craft was only as good as his health; by the early ig40S, suffering from diabetes and with failing eyesight, his ability to travel declined and his productivity dimished. He returned to San Antonio's west side to live in a hollow tree shelter he had built diere years earlier, residing within its embrace until his death on December 16, 1955. In the lavishly illustrated Capturing Nature, Dionicio Rodriguez could not have wished for a more fitting memorial. Pomona CoL·geChar Miller Lost Architecture oftL· Rio Grande Borderlands. By W. Eugene George. (College Station : Texas A&M University Press, 2008. Pp. 136. Illustrations, color photographs , maps, figures, bibliography, index. ISBN 9781603440110, $35.00 cloth.) Gene George has long been associated with architectural historic preservation as both a practicing architect and professor. This book is the culmination of a long-standing "affair" with South Texas Hispanic architecture. This book has two main purposes. The first is to summarize and evaluate the results that Falcon Dam has had on an entire Mexican town and numerous historic sites inundated on the Texas side of the river a half-century earlier. And second, to document the elements of Spanish and Mexican architecture that persisted both before and after the dam's (both the author and this reviewer are too polite to use here die homonym of the latter word) water rose to obliterate or hide them. George recounts his personal involvement in recording the built environment of the Falcon Dam area beginning in 1961. After an assignment to measure the historic Alamo buildings was derailed, he and his assistants published archaeological field studies made of the South Texas area to be flooded by the dam. These records included work performed as early as the mid 1 930s as well as sketches, measurements, architectural details, photographs, and genealogical information recorded by investigators prior to the flooding created by the dam. George and his team enriched the earlier investigations by interviewing residents and local historians , performing archival research, and identifying and measuring new sites. It was not until ig75, however, that the results were published in Historic Architecture of Texas: TL· Falcon Reservoir. The present book completes George's documentation of his evolution of apprentice to master of die vernacular architecture of Soudi Texas. The author is succinct in juxtaposing the past widi the present. The author illustrates his points with vintage black-and-white images, his own color photographs , and line drawings made by his assistants or himself. These illustrations are, quite simply, magnificent. Their clarity is matched by the concise prose and lucid commentary. Throughout George writes with an undertone of quiet indignation that, in die name ofprogress and postwar optimism, Falcon Dam submerged thousands ofyears ofindigenous and more than two-hundred years ofHispanic habita- 284Southwestern Historical QuarterlyOctober tion. The Spanish settlement of Revilla (now Guerrero Viejo) founded in 1 750, which became a bustling late nineteendi-century entrepôt, was for a long time almost totally underwater. As a result ofdroughts, a second dam built upriver, and greater demands on the water, the lake level receded to such a degree that by the 1980s, the central plaza and several blocks ofthe town were once again visible. But as if the water had not been enough, scavengers removed architectural elements from the exposed villa for personal use and gain. George is sensitive to the persistence of memory and of the families who have been bereft of dieir ancestral hometown. In the introduction, Ricardo Paz-Trevi ño, one of these descendants, writes poignandy, "Just as surely as the water crept up the sides of homes, church, school, and shops,just as certainly as the few possessions left behind floated away and were swept down the Rio Grande's winding course to the Gulf of Mexico, the soul of Revilla/Guerrero Viejo was relegated to the memories of those who had known it" (xi). In 1953, when I was a youngster, I recall visiting cousins who had fled the old county seat of Zapata, which had flooded unexpectedly due to...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1558-9560
Print ISSN
0038-478X
Pages
pp. 283-284
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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