Kyle E. Ciani, Reviews Editor
North American Cattle-Ranching Frontiers: Origins, Diffusion, and Differentiation.
By Terry G. Jordan. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1993. 456 Pages, maps, photographs, notes, bibliography, index. $24.95 Paperback.
This 2000 re-issue of Jordan’s North American Cattle-Ranching Frontiers continues the availability of one of the most extensive studies of the origins of cattle ranching in the United States. It is also the most revisionist, and the most controversial. Jordan denies that ranching originated in Texas from primarily Hispanic roots; instead he thinks it came from Europe and Africa, modified on the way in the West Indies. It is a stimulating theory, and the author provides significant documentation to support it. It is backed by the reputation of the author, holder of the Walter Prescott Webb chair in geography at the University of Texas, and author of a number of highly regarded books on historical geography. Nonetheless, not everyone is convinced. Even if the reader doesn’t accept Jordan’s theory, the book is still a valuable source for data and references on the subject.