Item description for Great River: The Rio Grande in North American History. Vol. 1, Indians and Spain. Vol. 2, Mexico and the United States. 2 vols. in one by Paul Horgan, David Loughran, Seth A. Seabury, Joanna Turek, Frances Levine, Olive E. Kenny, Lorne Kenny & Christopher Tingley...
Winner of both the Pulitzer Prize and Bancroft Prize for History, Great River was hailed as a literary masterpiece and enduring classic when it first appeared in 1954. It is an epic history of four civilizations--Native American, Spanish, Mexican, and Anglo-American--that people the Southwest through ten centuries. With the skill of a novelist, the veracity of a scholar, and the love of a long-time resident, Paul Horgan describes the Rio Grande, its role in human history, and the overlapping cultures that have grown up alongside it or entered into conflict over the land it traverses. Now in its fourth revised edition, Great River remains a monumental part of American historical writing.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 2.25" Width: 5.5" Height: 8.5" Weight: 2.65 lbs.
Release Date Oct 31, 1991
ISBN 0819562513 ISBN13 9780819562517
Availability 0 units.
More About Paul Horgan, David Loughran, Seth A. Seabury, Joanna Turek, Frances Levine, Olive E. Kenny, Lorne Kenny & Christopher Tingley
Paul Horgan (1903-1995), an American historian and novelist, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for history twice: in 1955 for "Great River: The Rio Grande in North American History "and in 1975 for "Lamy of Santa Fe," a biography of the first bishop of New Mexico.
Reviews - What do customers think about Great River: The Rio Grande in North American History. Vol. 1, Indians and Spain. Vol. 2, Mexico and the United States. 2 vols. in one?
Well-Deserving of All Its Awards Feb 15, 2008
To read a book numbering 945 pages of fine print is a luxury these days. It took me such a long time to read the Fourth Edition of Paul Horgan's wonderful, Pulitzer-Prize-winning "Great River: The Rio Grande In North American History" that sometimes I felt as if I were experiencing 10,000 years worth of history in real time. At the tail end of the epic, when President Wilson hesitates to send troops across the river to pursue bandits, citing his personal shame regarding the United States' "invasion" of Mexico during the Nineteenth Century, I felt able to "remember how it actually happened" - how U.S. fear concerning France's courtship of then independent Texas coupled with its distaste for Mexico's ethical transgressions (e.g., mistreatment of Texan prisoners of war) made U.S. annexation of Texas, Arizona, California, and New Mexico seem almost righteous.
The Preface to the Fourth Edition is dated 1984. But the book, initially authored in the Forties, reflects the philosophies of its times. Written well before the feminist era, the book, whether dealing with Pueblo peoples, Spanish Conquistadors, Mexican revolutionaries, or American generals, mostly follows the pursuits of men and ignores women. In Pueblo times, one glimpses Pueblo women washing garments in the river. Centuries later, several pages focus on Maud Wright, an American frontierswomen who must have been ferociously brave to have endured unspeakable horrors at the hands of bandits yet survived to provide U.S. troops with knowledge that was "valuable to know." And yet, passive adjectives describe her - "helpless" or "thankful to be busy" - before the narrative again turns its attention to colorful male warriors, raiders, politicians, navigators, or thieves.
Similarly, the book displays a Forties-style awe of "machine technics." Technology, it explains, had a positive effect on river cultures, liquidating "all indigenous aspects of the river's three [Indian, Spanish, Mexican] societies." Half-a-century later, it seems a day doesn't pass when "you Rio" isn't in the news, whether sporting a new, angry-looking border fence (to hold back hordes, who wish to ford the river and flee a still troubled Mexico) or failing to reach the Gulf thanks to global warming. Alas, technology, as Henry Adams feared, is proving to be the river's enemy.
One can't reverse the course of a river, but one can reverse the course of policies made in the heat of whatever political moment. This book should be required reading on both sides of the border.
Great Book but NOT a "Quick History" Feb 2, 2006
The level of detail amassed by Horgan for this book is nothing short of incredible. Roughly half the book is dedicated to historical events; the other half covers culture, the role of religion, native living conditions, and a hundred other nuances of day-to-day living by peoples (both native and the later Spanish/American cultures) along the Rio Grande.
Readers who want a VERY in-depth history of the Rio Grande can't do any better than this book. However, readers looking for a more general overview of events might want to consider other sources.
I probably fell into the latter category; I found myself skipping 2-5 pages at a time because I just wasn't that interested in knowing every single detail of (for example) how the Indians dressed and meticulously prepared bits of food for a ceremony to welcome the growing season. Or details covering 5 pages of how Spanish missionaries held a typical mass in the settlements in 1650.
That said, I recognize that this book is about as complete a works as could be published. I'd much rather skip over detail than have an account which isn't thorough.
Paul Horgan's best Sep 14, 2003
This book is the best ever written on the history of the southwest along the Rio Grande. Horgan manages to capture the shared history of New Mexico, Texas and Mexico as no other historian/writer has ever done. This one will be around as long as readers want to understand history in the borderlands.
Most complete introduction to the Rio Grande Valley Nov 3, 1998
This two-volume series was my inroduction to Paul Horgan who became one of my favorite authors. It is interesting to note he and Frank Waters ('the Man who Killed the Deer') died recently just two weeks apart. They were both 92, and among the greatest authors who dealt with the Rio Grande. Mr. Hogan's dedication to detail set him apart from Willa Cather whose fame rests upon her book 'Death comes to the Archbishop,' using Lamy as her subject. She rejected the aproach of Paul Horgan who at the time was writing his own history, 'Lamy of Santa Fe.' Willa Cather was a novelist; Paul Horgan an historian, and of the two I prefer the truth. Anyone interested in the history of the Rio Grande will be delighted with Paul Horgan's two-volume introduction to it.
Horgan's masterpiece history of the Rio Grande river. Nov 8, 1995
One of the major materpieces of American historical writing. The
two volumes are a continuing delight, far better than any historical novel.
Scene succeds scene, filled with movement, passion and
unbelievable heroism. Won the Pulitzer and Bancroft Prizes
for History, and is considered the greatest history of the
Rio Grande from pre-Columbian time to mid 20th century.