Conflict and Commerce on the Rio Grande
Laredo, 1775-1955
Texas History - Business History - Borderlands Studies - Mexican American Studies
6 x 9, 304 pp.
20 b&w photos., 5 maps., 26 figs.
Pub Date: 10/06/2008
Canseco-Keck History Series
  cloth
Price:        $29.95

978-1-60344-042-4

Published by Texas A&M University Press

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2009 Honorable Mention for the Clotilde P. Garcia Tejano Book Prize, presented by the Tejano Genealogy Society of Austin
2008 Jim Parish Award for Documentation and Publication of Local and Regional History, presented by the Webb County Heritage Foundation
 
 
 

Conflict and Commerce on the Rio Grande

Laredo, 1775-1955

By John A. Adams Jr.

Laredo is a city at the crossroads of North American history. Founded by the Spanish in 1755, it has stood at the intersection of regional commerce since its earliest days. Now, John A. Adams, Jr. provides the first-ever panoramic business and economic history of Laredo. He traces the evolution of the region from its early days as a ranching center into the mid-twentieth century, when Laredo had become what it remains today: a booming port of trade and a principal center of commerce and financial services on the southern border of the United States.

In Commerce and Conflict on the Rio Grande Adams demonstrates how the increasingly diversified economy of the region fed the fortunes of the city. His narrative, buttressed throughout by tables and statistics, paints a vivid mural of both the economic forces and the farsighted and ambitious individuals that combined to bring prosperity to this unique American city. Readers will find a wealth of insights into regional economics, history, and borderlands themes.

For ten years, JOHN A. ADAMS, JR., lived and worked in Laredo, where he served as executive director and CEO of the Laredo Development Foundation. He now resides in Florida. He earned a Ph.D. in history from Texas A&M University.

What Readers Are Saying:

“One of the ironies of the historiography on Laredo is that almost all of it concerns itself with the period prior to 1900. Laredo: Commerce and Conflict on the Rio Grande, 1755-1955 attempts to breach this standing blockage, and forges ahead into the middle of the twentieth-century. Credit its author, John A. Adams, for staking a place in this promising direction. The book presents a broad chronological overview as it discusses a wide ranging set of subjects. The book renders a business history of Laredo, and in this respect it is related to the historiography of an earlier era. Adams does provide a steady narrative of the particular greatness achieved by one certain Texas urban center—Laredo—that has the second longest existence as a continuously settled community in the state. He is attempting to give the residents of a city where he lived and worked for a good many years a business history of their city upon the 250th anniversary of its founding. This objective deserves our praise and as presented is fully met.”--Roberto R. Calderon, University of North Texas

"His narrative. . . paints a vivid mural of both the economic forces and the far-sighted and ambitious individuals that combined to bring prosperity to this unique American city. . . "it skillfully synthesizes existing knowledge on the subject and makes known new narrative detail in great abundance." -Laredo Morning Times

“One of the ironies of the historiography on Laredo is that almost all of it concerns itself with the period prior to 1900. Laredo: Commerce and Conflict on the Rio Grande, 1755-1955 attempts to breach this standing blockage, and forges ahead into the middle of the twentieth-century. Credit its author, John A. Adams, for staking a place in this promising direction. The book presents a broad chronological overview as it discusses a wide ranging set of subjects. The book renders a business history of Laredo, and in this respect it is related to the historiography of an earlier era. Adams does provide a steady narrative of the particular greatness achieved by one certain Texas urban center—Laredo—that has the second longest existence as a continuously settled community in the state. He is attempting to give the residents of a city where he lived and worked for a good many years a business history of their city upon the 250th anniversary of its founding. This objective deserves our praise and as presented is fully met.” --Roberto R. Calderon, University of North Texas

“In Laredo: Commerce and Conflict on the Rio Grande, 1755-1955, John A. Adams extends available narrative detail in several areas including that which bears on the railroads and their impact economically on Laredo and beyond. The same is true for his discussion of the onion-growing bonanza that the city and its surrounding countryside experienced beginning at the turn-of-the-century and extending into the early 1950s. Numerous other such instances occur in the text as well. Adams is clearly in admiration of and heaps abundant praise on the business class among Laredo elites. Anglo and Mexican business elites therefore are the heroes in the story told. Adams makes a distinct contribution to our understanding of academic audiences alike will find reading Laredo: Commerce and Conflict on the Rio Grande to be informative because it skillfully synthesizes existing knowledge on the subject and makes known new narrative detail in great abundance.” --Roberto R. Calderon, University of North Texas

“Adams introduces his readers to an extensive collection of tables, maps, and photographs, smartly presented throughout. Written in commemoration of the 250th anniversary of Texas’s second-oldest continuously established city, this useful and appealing history may be read and enjoyed by general and academic audiences alike.” --Roberto R. Calderon

"This well researched survey of Laredo's economic history will be of interest to local historians and to scholars studying commercial relations between Mexico and the United States. The book is an excellent case study demonstrating the relationship of local growth to national and international policies. Adams is to be complimented for this useful survey of Laredo's economic history." -- James McLaird, Emeritus, Dakota Wesleyan University, Western Historical Quarterly


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