Monday, August 20, 2018

Booknotes: Palmito Ranch

New Arrival:
Palmito Ranch: From Civil War Battlefield to National Historic Landmark
  by Jody Edward Ginn and William Alexander McWhorter (TAMU Press, 2018).

Coming in at less than 100 pages of narrative, Palmito Ranch is a quick read with a triple focus, discussing (1) both the 1864 and 1865 battles, (2) the archaeological studies performed at the site, and (3) the preservation work that led to the creation of the Palmito Ranch federal landmark. The text is supplemented by numerous color and B&W photos, maps, and drawings.

The authors were important participants in the process of preserving and interpreting the site, so the volume offers a firsthand perspective. The book also claims to offer new information on the Palmito Ranch battles, which should grab the attention of those interested in the relatively few inland engagements of any size fought in Texas.

"Opening with a crisp retelling of the principal military events that unfolded at Palmito Ranch, near the Confederate port city of Brownsville, Ginn and McWhorter recount the initiative pursued by a multidisciplinary team organized largely through the efforts of the Texas Historical Commission to study, document, and preserve this important Texas historic site. Now, visitors to the area may benefit from not only improved and expanded historical markers, but also a radio transmitter and a viewing platform, along with other interpretive aids. All this is due to the campaign spearheaded by McWhorter, Ginn, and a cohort of dedicated volunteers and professionals."

More from the description: "Providing a case study in constituency building and public awareness raising to preserve and promote historic sites, Palmito Ranch will interest and educate heritage tourists, Civil War enthusiasts, and travelers to South Texas and the Lower Rio Grande Valley."

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