Raymond Starr, Book Review Editor
The Journey of Fray Marcos de Niza.
By Cleve Hallenbeck. Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1987. Illustrations. Maps. Bibliography. Biographical Note. Index. 115 Pages. $29.95.
To commemorate the 75th anniversary of Southern Methodist University and the 50th anniversary of its press, SMU has issued a beautiful new edition of their 1949 prize winning publication, The Journey of Fray Marcos de Niza. In his introduction to the new edition, David Weber describes in detail the history of the original edition and introduces the author and appraises the significance of his book. Hallenbeck was an amateur historian who spent years studying Spain in the Southwest. In this, his last book, Hallenbeck tackled the controversial 1539 journey of Fray Marcos into the Southwest on sort of a scouting trip to find Cibola. The focus of Hallenbeck’s analysis is on the question of what Marcos really saw, as opposed to what he said he saw! Hallenbeck concluded that Marcos greatly exaggerated what he saw — a position others support, but which is still, thirty years later, very controversial. This book is one of the major statements on the subject, and Southern Methodist University is to be commended for bringing the book back into print, for Weber’s introduction, and for including a Spanish language text of Marcos’ report.