In the Loop
A Political and Economic History of San Antonio
A highly accessible history of San Antonio’s economic and political development
In the Loop: A Political and Economic History of San Antonio is the culmination of urban historian David Johnson’s extensive research into the development of Texas’s oldest city. Beginning with San Antonio’s formation more than three hundred years ago, Johnson lays out the factors that drove the largely uneven infrastructure and unplanned distribution of resources and analyzes the demographics that transformed the city from a frontier settlement into a diverse and complex modern metropolis.
Following the shift from military interests to more diverse industries and punctuated by evocative descriptions and historical quotations, In the Loop reveals how city mayors balanced constituents’ push for amenities with the pull of business interests such as tourism and the military. Deep dives into city archives fuel the story and round out portraits of Samuel Maverick, Henry B. Gonzales, Lila Cockrell, and other political figures.
Johnson explores the interplay of business interests, economic attractiveness, and political goals that spurred San Antonio’s historic tenacity and continuing growth and highlights individual agendas that influenced the city's development. He focuses on the crucial link between development and booster coalitions, outlining how politicians and business owners work side by side, although not necessarily together, to shape the future of any metropolitan area, including geographical disparities. Three photo sections illustrate the tangible results of boosterism’s impact on San Antonio’s public and private spaces.
In the Loop recounts each stage of San Antonio’s economic development with logic and care, building a rich story to contextualize our understanding of the city's current state and our notions of how an American city can form.
“No one knows the history of modern San Antonio better than David Johnson. In the Loop perfectly reflects his deep knowledge of and engagement with the Alamo City—it’s a tour de force!”
— Char Miller, author of Deep in the Heart of Texas: Land and Life in South Texas
“San Antonio finally has a thoroughly researched volume on the evolution of the city’s basic political and economic structure across three centuries. This eminently authoritative book will stand as a foundational not-to-be ignored work on San Antonio.”
— Lewis F. Fisher, author of Maverick: The American Name That Became a Legend