Raymond G. Starr, Book Review Editor
Empire of Sand: The Seri Indians and the Struggle for Spanish Sonora, 1645-1803.
Edited by Thomas E. Sheridan. Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 1999. Illustrations, maps, notes, glossary, bibliography, index. Vi + 493 Pages. $65.00 Hardcover.
This volume represents scholarship of the highest order. It is a collection of documents printed both in Spanish and in English pertaining to the century and a half-long struggle by the Spanish to subdue the Seri Indians and to “pacify” Sonora. The documents include diaries, letters, official reports and other government documents. Editor Sheridan has prepared excellent introductions giving the setting of each topic, and explaining the documents themselves. There is the usual scholarly apparatus: footnotes, maps, charts, and, at the end, a helpful glossary and a bibliography. The documents in this book do not directly and specifically concern the history of San Diego, but they are important in a larger sense, inasmuch the history of the San Diego region might have been different had there been easier overland access from Mexico. In addition, many of the personnel and some of the methods and policies of the early Spanish settlement of California had roots in Sonora. This is clearly a significant volume for a research library in the time and period covered.