no end of education, technology, andrncapital.” No place in Chad or Niger, herncontinues, is much more barren than thernRio Pucrco Vallcv west of Albuquerque,rnwhich a centur’ ago was covered in grassrnso high that a mounted rider could notrnsee o’er it. “In significant wavs,” he continues,rn”rural Colorado has more in commonrnwith rural Burkina Faso than withrnDener, which in turn shares more withrnOuagadougou than with the principalrntown of Saguache Countv.”rnThe problem is not the San Luis ‘allev’srnalone; more than 10 percent of thernearth’s surface is now desert or drvlandrn’ulncrable to desertiheation. But it mustrnseem to those who live in southern Colorado,rnwhere the quality of productivernland is rapidly deteriorating, that thernpossibilities of making a life there arerndwindling with ecrv adance of therndesert. To combat its spread, San Luisrn’alle’ residents arc eagerk seeking remedies,rnecn grasping at straws. An espeeiallvrnattractive one is South AfricanrnGeologist Allan Sa’or”s theor’ that cattlerngrazing, no matter in what number,rnimproN’es the health of rangeland, an argument,rnBingham notes, that falls intornthe “curious categor’ of counterintuitivernpropositions that contradict all evidencernand common sense as the situation appearsrnbut might change the situation ifrnou dared apply them.” Sa’ory’s theorrn—and Bingham does not do enough torndiscuss its obvious flaws—makes sense ifrnapplied to truly nomadic herds thatrngraze an area, no matter how heaily, andrnthen move on; not to land grazed againrnand again without being allowed to regeneraternfully.rnSeek as thev ma’, the people of thernSan Luis Valley have found no immediaternanswers to their problems. The)’ arernfully aware that their land is fast approachingrnruin; as Bingham savs, “Theyrnknew the range had limits and at the endrnof the day accepted responsibility forrnthem.” By showing their quest for solutions,rnBingham does much to exoneraternrural people, who are often depicted inrnthe enironmental literature as simpletonsrnout for a quick buck no matter whatrnthe cost to the land. (To be sure, theyrnseek the work where it comes, riding thernwa’es of the global market as best theyrncan; the last big paycheck for some residentsrnof the San Luis Valle) came fromrnIraq, whose government bought up localrnwool with which to make uniforms sornthat its soldiers could go off to the coldrnmountains to fight Kurdish rebels.)rnThis is a rare and beautifully writtenrnbook about hard lives in agriculturallyrnhard times. Bingham shuns the temptationrnto oersimplif’ and to offer the tooreadyrnprescriptions of urban people forrnrural troubles. He instead explains complexitiesrnthat city dwellers can only beginrnto guess at, limning the staggering problemsrnthat threaten to overwhelm thosernwho produce food in the Sahclian marginsrnof the American Southwest, “wherernthe desert bares its teeth at our fabulousrnglobal economy.”rnGregory McNamee’s most recent book isrnThe Sierra Club Desert Reader.rnBrief MentionsrnKeeping Together in Time. By WilliamrnH. McNeill (Cambridge: HarvardrnVniversity Press), I9S pp.. $22.00rnAlthough it may seem useless in an agernof computerized war, rhythmic marchingrnwas once as revolutionary as thernStealth bomber is in our own da. Onernof the oldest military practices in recordedrnhistory, it was long a crucial aspect ofrnwar in both the West and the East.rnAmong the illustrations William H. McNeillrnoffers is a picture of the Stele of thernVultures, a stone carving from the thirdrnmillennium B.C. which depicts Eannatumrnof Lagash leading rows of troops in arnsiege of the citv of Umma. Althoughrnsuch tactics grew popular in ancientrnAlesopotamia and Sumer, and Greekrnand Roman armies later adopted them,rnthey eventually fell into disuse thanks tornthe advent of archery-, which made it unwisernfor soldiers to form tight groups. Arndifferent kind of close-order drill caughtrnon in the 16th century, thanks to thernDutch general Maurice of Orange. LikernCarl J. Richard in The Founders and thernClassics, McNeill shows us how far therninfluence of classical authors transcendedrntheir time and place. Inspired by thernwritings of Aelianus and Vegetius, Mauricerntrained his riflemen to load, aim,rnand fire their guns in unison, and hisrnpikemen to .swing their halberds accordingrnto a rhythm. Such tactics were unfamiliar,rnbut lengthy training “made thernnecessary motions almost automatic andrnless likely to be disrupted bv stress of battle.”rnUnder Maurice’s command, formationsrnof Dutch arquebusiers and pikemenrn—fired by the passions arising fromrnprolonged rhythmic motion—won victoriesrnover seasoned Spanish forces whornhad defeated the French in Italy. ThernSpanisli themselves adopted close-orderrndrill after suffering a defeat at Roeroi inrn1643 at the hands of French officers whornhad studied Maurice’s tactics. WhenrnMaurice’s orders were recorded by therntalented engraver Jacob de Gheyn, whornproduced a book containing, on eachrnpage, a simple command and a correspondingrnpicture, Maurice’s methodsrnbecame famous all over Europe, andrnsoon Russian, Italian, and German officersrnwere training their men in closeorderrndrill. Using tactics akin to Maurice’s,rnChinese armies succeeded in subduingrnthe nomads of the East Asianrnsteppe, thereby “ma [king] China what itrnis today, the wodd’s only surviving imperialrnstate.” Why were these simple tacticsrnso effective whcre’er they were applied?rnAmong the psehologieal uses ofrn”keeping together in time,” McNeillrnsa}’S, was to whip up furies that made itrneasier to do difficult and risky things, likernengaging enem’ troops. (In a chapter onrnreligious sects, McNeill points to the usernof mass dances to achieve a state of euphoria.)rnMcNeill does not claim to offerrna thorough history of mass rhythmicrnmovement, but only a treatise aimed atrninspiring others to study this phenomenon.rn—Michael WashburnrnIS THEROCKFORDrnINSTITUTE IN YOUR WILL?rnPerhaps a better question is:rnDo YOU HAVE ArnCURRENT WILL?rnIf not, the laws of your particularrnstate will determinernwhat is to be done with yourrnestate upon your death. In addition,rnunless there is proper planning,rnfederal estate taxes canrnclaim up to 55% of your property.rnIf you would like to discussrnelements of your estate planning,rnplease write or call:rn(815)964-58nrnLEGACY PROGRAMrnTHE ROCKFORD INSTITUTErn934 NORTH MAIN STREETrnROCKFORD. IL 61103rnSEPTEMBER 1996/29rnrnrn