28 October 2009
Our Board of Directors asked the Heritage
Preservation Committee to develop a recommended reading list, no longer
than both sides of a sheet of paper. Its purpose is threefold:
a general reading list for our members who wish to improve their knowledge
of our history, a source sheet for teachers to learn more
about pre-American California, and finally references for those who
would like to locate resources to refute inaccurate statements
This is a work in progress. We read a number of
books to make our selections, but each year new books appear that
may be better than those listed. Likewise there may be better books
of which we were not aware. You may send your comments and questions
RECOMMENDED READING LIST
by Maurice L. “Duke” Bandy
and Marcy Bandy
Rose Marie Beebe and Robert M. Senkewitz.
Lands of Promise and Despair. Heyday Books, 2001.$23.
A compilation of excerpts of letters, reports and
reminiscences about California. Each entry has an introduction by the editors.
Some of their comments are more critical of the Hispanics than we find
substantiated by the record. Not an easy read, but fairly complete coverage of
the entire time period. It stands alone, and if only one book is read, this
should be it.
II. BEFORE THE FOUNDING AND THE FOUNDING
W. Crosby, Antigua California.
University of New Mexico Press, 1994. reprint $57.
A readable and complete history of Baja California from the
first Spanish settlement to 1768. Contains brief biographies of many of the
Hispanics there, who became ancestors of later Alta California soldiers and
settlers. Considered the
preeminent authority on Baja California.
2. Donald Garate, Juan
Bautista de Anza. University of Nevada Press, 2003. $34.
A biography of the father of the Juan Bautista de Anza, who
led the 1775 expedition to found San Francisco. It gives a broad view of Spanish
activities leading up to the Portolá expedition of 1769.
3. Harry W. Crosby, Gateway
to Alta California. Sunbelt Publications, 2003. $37
A very readable day-by-day account of the first land party of
the 1769 expedition, led by Rivera. Profusely
illustrated, with highly detailed topographical maps of the route from Velicatá
to San Diego. Short biographies of soldiers of the land parties.
III. THE MISSION PERIOD AND LIFE OF THE INDIANS
1. Thomas E. Chávez,
Spain and the Independence of the United
States. University of New Mexico Press, 2004.$20.
What was going on in the world at the time of the founding of
the Presidios and first missions. Should be of great assistance to teachers
trying to make California and Spain relevant
to students whose roots are Mexico or the East Coast.
A lengthy book in very small print makes it less suitable for casual
2. Robert Hoover, “Another view
of the California Missions.” Article
in Los Californianos’ Noticias,
April 2005. $1.50. Also available on our
Web site, Dr. Robert Hoover [click on link].
Written as a response to a San Francisco Chronicle op-ed
article badmouthing the missions, Spanish
soldiers and priests. A general refutation of the oft repeated allegations that
the Missions were slave labor camps and the soldiers raped the Indian women and
brutalized the men.
3. Jack S. Williams, "Review
of Robert H. Jackson and Edward Castillo, 'Indians, Franciscans and Spanish
Colonization H-Net,'" October 1995. Available on line at
Another lengthier article
on the same
the allegations of gross abuse and enslavement of the Indian neophytes.
4. David Weber, The
Spanish Borderlands of North America,
Historiography. Organization of
American Historians Magazine of History, Summer 2000. Available on line at http://www.oah.org/pubs/magazine/spanishfrontier/weber2.html
An excellent quick review of our history with comments on why
it has been underrepresented or misinterpreted. Some very dubious sources are
quoted, so must be used with care.
5. Barbara Linse,
Live Again Our
Past. Arts’ Publications,
1983. original price $20, available on net $4.
Sasha Honig reviewed this
book for California Mission Studies Assn. most favorably. “This edition, which
is bi-lingual, is approved by the California State Dept. of Education and would
be a fine addition to
any fourth [grade] teacher’s
personal/professional library. It is chock-full of ideas. “ We also found this
book charming and can be used by parents and/or grandparents at home. There are
a few comments that I wish were not there and a few errors or misinformation.
However these do not make a serious effect on the
story told. One caution is necessary.
On page 141, a corn nut mush is made without the week long rinsing in
running water as done by the Indians. The result will be unpalatable at least, if not actually upsetting
to the digestion.
IV. THE MEXICAN PERIOD
1. Antonio Maria Osio,
(translated by Rose Marie Beebe and Robert M. Senkewicz), The
History of Alta California. University of Wisconsin Press, 1996. $24.35
(paperback), also available hardback and used.
Most probably the first
history of California, this was written in 1851 in the form of a letter, as Osio
did not feel qualified to write a book as requested. His manuscript did not fall
into the hands of Bancroft or other Anglos, who might have edited it to change
its emphasis. It is sometimes rambling; nonetheless, it is one of the very few
accounts strictly from the Californio view.
2. David J. Langum, Law and Community on the Mexican California Frontier. University of Oklahoma Press, 1987.out
This long out-of-print book has been reissued by Los Californianos as
Antepasados XIII. For ordering information, click the following link:
A good study of Mexican law at that time and the response of
the Anglo-American immigrants. Includes specific cases with names.
3.Charles B. Churchill, Adventurers and Prophets: American
Autobiographers in Mexican
California, 1829-1847. Arthur
H. Clarke Co., 1995. $30
A good and readable book about the impressions and actions of
the American and other non-Hispanics coming into California during the years
leading up to the Mexican American War and the years thereafter. Thus a foreshadow of what was to come and why. Combined with Langum
above, it helps us maintain our balance of outlook.