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“That essentially lonesomest river in North America”—Greene

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223.     HORGAN, Paul. Great River: The Rio Grande in North American History. New York & Toronto: Rinehart & Company, Inc., 1954. Vol. I: [2 limitation page], [i-vi] vii-xviii, [1-2] 3-447, [1, blank]; Vol. II: [i-iv] v-ix, [1, blank], [449-452] 453–1020 pp., 8 plates of Horgan’s field sketches (mostly color and with illustrations on rectos and versos), maps. 2 vols., 8vo (23.5 x 16 cm), original tan linen, spines lettered in gilt, t.e.g. A very fine copy, preserved in publisher’s board slipcase (moderate wear). Signed by Horgan.

     First edition, limited edition (1,000 copies, specially illustrated with added color illustrations, colored endpapers, and signed by author). Adams, Herd 1065. Basic Texas Books 95A: “This is the most thorough and the most civilized account of the vast region draining into the river that forms 900 miles of Texas border.” CBC 653 (and 14 additional entries). Powell, Southwestern Book Trails, p. 19: “The most ambitious and impressive of all Southwestern river books.” Tate, The Indians of Texas: An Annotated Research Bibliography 169. Wynar 1925. J. Frank Dobie wrote in The Book Review in 1954: “Paul Horgan is an artist, which means that he is a master of proportions, perspective and details. His book is an unfoldment of life with stretches of narrative.” Great River garnered for Horgan both the Pulitzer and Bancroft prizes.

     Greene, Fifty Best Books on Texas 78:

Some historians have picked on this book for being more fictional than historical. They haven’t meant it was untrue so much as it was written like a novel—the birth of a river, the ages and stories of the civilizations that lived along it—everything flowing along like a river of plot as well as water. That is exactly what I like about it. It finds the romance of that essentially lonesomest river in North America, the Great River, Rio Bravo, Rio Grande del Norte…its names almost interchangeable.


Sold. Hammer: $250.00; Price Realized: $300.00

Auction 22 Abstracts

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