To some considerable degree, the fourteen research papers in this volume reflect the diversity of subject, theme, time, and place to be found in the work of geographer Robert C. West, in whose honor they were first presented at New Orleans in 1978 and are now formally and attractively published. The fifteenth paper is the editors’ biographical sketch of West, which includes a list of his publications that is already obsolete.
Contributors variously review the organization and bounding of territory among pre-Columbian Aztecs and Tlaxcalans; railroad systems and social networks; colonial demography and social services; Náhuatl soil glyphs and pre-Columbian cultivation of musa; tropical savannas in Peru and edges of tropical ecosystems in Sonora; the relaciones from South America; and geographers’ views of the ancient Maya realm.
Although some of the papers are more refined and polished than others, even the most tentative demonstrates sound scholarship and careful thought. Many derive from both field and archival research in the pattern so ably demonstrated by West’s own work. Most papers deal with topics in human geography; more deal with Mexico than with South
America; and more treat pre-Columbian and colonial geographies than modern landscapes. Diverse they may be, but they add up to a solid and appropriate tribute to an exemplary geographer-scholar.