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Texas: A Historical Atlas Hardcover – April 30, 2010
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Step back through the decades and you see the strengths in its graphical presentations, the data often mapped by county. The dwindling of farms, from their peak in 1900 to the present paucity. The dramatic rise in urban populations and extension of the railroads---including a photo of a train crossing the dramatic Pecos High Bridge, built in 1882. Major aquifers, native-plant regions, and dates and locations of the worst tornadoes. Go back farther and, well, how about the distribution of slaves in 1850 and again in 1861? A lot fewer than you might think.
There are weaknesses. The modern distribution of cattle, of all things, notably does not include (the fact is noted but the reason left unstated), the numbers of cows in the miles-long industrial feedlots of the Panhandle.
As has been said, coffee-table books are supposed to be pretty and not controversial. By that measure it's not surprising the atlas is less informative the closer it gets to its publication date. For one, illegal immigration from Mexico (the politically-correct phrase "undocumented workers" is used) is dismissed as merely "producing much rhetoric." Hundreds of thousands of people a year swamping schools, emergency rooms and charities and increasing the danger on highways is more than rhetoric.
No, most of the strengths are in the past, with special maps and diagrams for Mexican Texas, the early explorers from 1519, the grants of the empresarios and major early roads, the Texas Revolution. The modern section is eclectic: mapping nuclear and coal-fired power plants, the lumber industry, distribution of major crops, colleges and universities, and ethnic and racial groups by county.
All-in-all, and despite the faults, an invaluable reference work. One only wonders why it's not published by a Texas press.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An essential book for everybody with an interest in Texas history, very well made and informative.Published 7 months ago by MM
A great book delivered in the best condition as advertised. An excellent transaction.Published 8 months ago by nickel
So surprised to learn my name is included in the acknowledgements. This one is going on my coffee table.Published 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
I was expecting more pictures but over all it is very informative.Published 12 months ago by Henrietta Petry