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BOOK REVIEWS69 From Sail to Steam: Four Centuries ofTexas Maritime History, I§00-1900. By Richard V. Francaviglia. (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1998. Pp. xvii, 324. $34.95·) Responding to a gap in the historical literature, From Sail to Steam offers exactly what the subtitle promises. Organized chronologically, it details the evolution of the Texas coast from the arrival of European explorers through the dawn of the twentieth century, arguing that this often ignored subject exercised enormous influence on settlement patterns and the economic development of the Lone Star State. In explaining that evolution, the author incorporates recent scholarship in geography, nautical archeology, maritime technology, and regional history. He also draws extensively upon photographic and cartographic holdings from a number of archives and museums. European interaction with the Texas coast was dominated for almost two centuries by the Spanish, who claimed the region but considered it little more than an isolated outpost of the empire. They mapped the coast, but thought of it as a hazard to be avoided rather than a potentially lucrative area for settlement. Only when challenged for control by other European powers, especially France and Great Britain, did Spain expand its presence along the coast during the latter part ofthe eighteenth century. But it was too late, and Spain gave way to Mexico. With Mexican sovereignty came several important changes: the introduction of steam technology to the Gulf, the rapid influx of Anglo settlers, and the eventual loss ofTexas. All of this encouraged a sporadically successful commercial development of the coast that finally came to fruition around 1900, when the proper mix of technology, infrastructure, and population made it possible. From Sail to Steam synthesizes a wide range of scholarship, for which the author deserves commendation. A general audience will find much of value within its pages, but in his effort to include everything ofnote, Francaviglia was sometimes less careful than he could have been. Minor errors occasionally appear , as in his discussion of "triple expansion boilers" rather than triple expansion engines (233). Unusual items that other historians might find of interest, such as his assertion that the Texas Navy fought a Mexican fleet containing "two ironclad steamers" in 1843, are undocumented (123). If this is true, it would predate the British and French use of ironclad rafts against Russian fortifications at Kinburn by more than a decade, automatically meriting further research. Finally, Francaviglia makes interpretive claims that are historically suspect at best. Referring to the CSS Alabama's January 1863 capture of the USS Hatteras in the Gulf of Mexico, he argues that "the exploits of the Alabama exemplified the dangers of blockading to those charged with enforcing such policies until she was sunk" (203-4). This capture was an anomaly; Union blockaders feared boredom more than they feared the Confederate Navy. This is clearly a book for a general audience, especially Texans. While specialists searching for a quick answer will probably find what they want 70CIVIL WAR HISTORY within these pages, those with detailed questions would do well to check other sources. Kurt Hackemer University of South Dakota The Meaning ofSlavery in the North. Edited by David Roediger and Martin H. Blatt. (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998. Pp. xxiv, 192. $40.00.) This volume demonstrates an important new direction in historical studies: the collaboration of historians across the institutional barrier that once divided universities and museums. In this instance, Martin H. Blatt—formerly historian at the Lowell National Historical Park—collaborated with University of Minnesota historian David Roediger to organize a 1993 conference at Lowell on the significance of slavery for New England's industrial revolution. The papers presented at that conference make up this volume. As Blatt recalls, the fact that Lowell owed its existence to the labor of millions ofAfrican American slaves did not immediately seem a necessary part of the Lowell story. The conference undertook to establish the linkages between the Lowell mills and slavery, and Blatt subsequently integrated the two themes in the museum exhibit. The volume pursues two overriding themes: that the North profited enormously from Southern slavery, and, that Northern and Southern whites shared attitudes about race that bound them together in a culture that survived the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 69-70
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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