The Bookshelf, The Parlor, The Young Texas Reader, and the Monthly

The Texas Bookshelf is different from the The Texas Parlor, . The Texas Parlor carries "general" bookish information and non-book information and even different Texana news and notes of use to the bibliographically challenged and other nosey folks intersted in historical, literary, and cultural observations. Will's Texana Monthly may carry material from either blog, but extends itself beyond those, especially for longer compilations or treatments. The Monthly, the Bookshelf and the Parlor are all companions. So, is the Young Texas Reader which specialized on books and such things for the youngest to the teenagers.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Salt Warriors - Cool












  Salt Warriors: Insurgency on the Rio Grande.  By Paul Cool. College Station:  Texas A&M U Press, 2008. 978-1-60344-016-5  cloth  $24.95 LC 2007037944 , 384 pp., 21 b&w illus.  2 maps. Bib. Index.


Winner of the 2008 Southwest Book Award and the 2007 Robert A. Calvert Book Prize


Ah, Salt!   The essential for life!  A source of greed and corruption!  An opportunity for a community to defend itself!

Cool performs wonderfully delineating the "Warriors" of this distant and famed El Paso Salt War of 1877.  Rather than some mindless drifting or power-play, the War is revealed as a raft power-players bent on wealth pitted against the long-established rights of the local Mexican-Americans to collect the element to live.  Following a slow minuet during post-Civil War push and pull between former Union and Confederates, an Austin banker and his son-in-law, Charles Howard, assert the ultimately unsuccessful move.  The final three months of the struggle is gripping as readers also find the Texas Rangers strangely out-maneuvered, bucking the mythology.  Newspapers around the nation, from Chicago to Atlanta to New York, carried versions of the bloody events.  President Hayes called out his troops and Buffalo Soldiers.  The Governor chose sides.  The interests of New Mexicans demanded action.  The local land barons and political officials split into factions. 

There were election frauds!  Legislative inveigling in Austin! Revenge for old deeds! Murders!  Arrests! Cold defiance! Armed concerned citizens went on a man-hunt for Howard. 

It was a big deal, folks.  And Paul Cool plays it out for you, one warrior at a time and mixes them together as he pulls information from diverse documents of the period.


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