Review of Taniguchi, Castle Valley, America

2005 Pacific Historical Review  
with social relations. Boosterism became a religion of environmental optimism. The region's so-called pioneers were environmental gamblers whose economic fates rested on accidents of climate. The outliers lost, pushed to the environmental fringe by a political ecology defined by race. Lynn-Sherow writes with an acute sense of place and space, evidenced throughout the book's narrative. But histories of place need maps, and the book does not have a single one. In the end, this work may miss the
more » ... gic of class relations that underlay the racialized landscape. One wonders about the role of politics in sometimes bridging racial lines, or of the distinct class lines within an uncomplicated discussion of whiteness. Oklahoma's vigorous populist and socialist politics receives little attention in this study. Choosing to end this study before the Dust Bowl exodus permits a less complicated interpretation of race. By the "dirty thirties," white "farmers" had lost some of their "whiteness" by becoming Okies. But these criticisms aside, Red Earth goes a long way toward placing race at the center of environmental history.
doi:10.1525/phr.2005.74.4.632 fatcat:qhmshl4otzbu7j252bwrpwludu