Handmade Brick for Texas : A Mexican Border Industry, Its Workers, and Its Business
Brickmaking was one of the pioneering non-agricultural manufacturing industries in the lower Rio Grande/Rio Bravo corridor, and a precursor of the binational, cross-border maquiladora industry that came to identify the U.S.-Mexico border economy in the aftermath of the Border Industrialization Program [BIP] launched in 1965. Through research beginning in the early 1990s and continuing to the present, Scott Cook has sought to fill-in these blank pages on the binational handmade brick industry and its competitive situation in the Texas market.
- Hardback | 290 pages
- 154.94 x 231.14 x 25.4mm | 544.31g
- 23 Dec 2010
- Lexington Books
- Lanham, MD, United States
Handmade Brick for Texas is a must-read for historical archaeologists in Texas. It brings an important historical perspective to material culture studies. Handmade bricks are often viewed as a class of material culture that has limited interpretative value, but Cook has demonstrated that these objects embody a tremendous amount of socioeconomic information. I will never pick up a handmade brick at a historic archaeological site without wondering about its complex history ... Who made it? When and where was it made? How much did it cost? How did it get delivered and end up where it was found? The book presents a very human perspective on the brick industry. The stories are up close and personal. Cook's use of the brickmakers' own words makes it easy for the reader to feel some of their emotions and share in their successes and frustrations. I really like the use of Spanish translations throughout the text. The pictures are wonderful and a great addition. -- Douglas K. Boyd, historical archaeologist and Vice President, Prewitt and Associates, Inc. This is a deep and rich ethnography. Like the other works of Scott Cook, Handmade Brick for Texas illustrates research of the highest caliber. Here he focuses on the century and a quarter of the long history and development of the handmade brick industry in the reverine belt on both sides of the Lower Rio Grande/Rio Bravo Border. This is classic ethnography that illustrates the strength of extended fieldwork and face-to-face encounters with the people who live the border. Importantly, this book adds a dimension to the notion of 'maquilas' on the U.S.-Mexico Border... The intricate ties of labor in agriculture and brick-making illustrate the high degree of variability and adaptation of these border folk and labor to the region. Handmade Brick for Texas illustrates a nuanced and important dimension of the Mexican agrarian reform of the 40's and the rise of ejidos on the U.S.-Mexico Border. There is very little research on the ejidos of the border, but this book delves not only into their origins but their relevance in the building of this industry... This is a rigorous analysis of the industry from its beginnings to the present, providing the reader with a meticulous ethnographic and economic analysis of this important commerce. Handmade Brick for Texas opens and relates a profound border life that adds new insights about borderlanders, border life, and Mexican entrepreneurs. -- Robert R. Alvarez, University of California, San Diego Altogether, Cook offers a fine book. Readers wishing to learn the details of making and selling Mexican handmade brick will happily revel in Cook's descriptions, while readers interested in the labor and social history of the border will benefit from the wealth of information Cook presents. Southwestern Historical Quarterly
About Scott Cook
Scott Cook is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Connecticut.