Randolph B. “Mike” Campbell has spent the better part of the last five decades helping Texans rediscover their history, producing a stream of definitive works on the social, political, and economic structures of the Texas past. Through meticulous research and terrific prose, Campbell’s collective work has fundamentally remade how historians understand Texan identity and the state’s southern heritage, as well as our understanding of such contentious issues as slavery, westward expansion, and Reconstruction. Campbell’s pioneering work in local and county records has defined the model for grassroots research and community studies in the field. More than any other scholar, Campbell has shaped our modern understanding of Texas.
In this collection of seventeen original essays, Campbell’s colleagues, friends, and students offer a capacious examination of Texas’s history—ranging from the Spanish era through the 1960s War on Poverty—to honor Campbell’s deep influence on the field. The first section addresses questions of Texas identity and the ongoing struggle of historians to define the southern and western heritage of the region. The second section focuses on defining influences and people—Spaniards, Mexicans, Indians, Anglo Americans, African Americans—who continually remade Texas throughout the early nineteenth century. The third section focuses on one of the defining moments in Southern and Texas history, the Civil War and its legacies through the Reconstruction era. The fourth section addresses Texas in the late nineteenth century, as the region became a crucible of the economic, political, and social upheavals that overtook the United States during those years. The final section examines an urbanizing Texas that struggled to find a balance between the heritage of the nineteenth century and the challenges of the twentieth century.
Featuring some of the most well-known names in the field—as well as rising stars—This Corner of Canaan offers the latest scholarship on major issues in Texas history, and the enduring influence of the most eminent Texas historian of the last half century.
“The editors have assembled an all-star cast of authors, and have organized the introduction and seventeen chapters around some of the central themes of Campbell’s career: Texas identity, the remaking of Texas in the early nineteenth century, the legacies of the Civil War and Reconstruction, the painful ‘modernization’ of Texas which followed, and the increasingly urbanized state which emerged in the twentieth century. It’s a fitting tribute not only to Campbell, but to those whose lives he’s touched, shaped, and influenced.”—Robert Wooster, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
“A course that includes This Corner of Canaan would be able to introduce students to a broad range of topics, paradigms, and treatments without the problems of an extensive required bibliography. This can serve as a solid, one-volume treatment.”—M. Scott Sosebee, Stephen F. Austin State University