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Other titles in the Grover E. Murray Studies in the American Southwest series:
Myth, Memory, and Massacre: The Pease River Capture of Cynthia Ann Parker (Grover E. Murray Studies in the American Southwest)by Paul Howard Carlson
Synopses & Reviews
In December 1860, along a creek in northwest Texas, a group of U.S. Cavalry under Sgt. John Spangler and Texas Rangers led by Sul Ross raided a Comanche hunting camp, killed several Indians, and took three prisoners. One was the woman they would identify as Cynthia Ann Parker, taken captive from her white family as a child a quarter century before. The reports of these events had implications far and near. For Ross, they helped make a political career. For Parker, they separated her permanently and fatally from her Comanche husband and two of her children. For Texas, they became the stuff of history and legend. In reexamining the historical accounts of the and#8220;Battle of Pease River,and#8221; especially those claimed to be eyewitness reports, Paul H. Carlson and Tom Crum expose errors, falsifications, and mysteries that have contributed to a skewed understanding of the facts. For political and racist reasons, they argue, the massacre was labeled a battle. Firsthand testimony was fabricated; diaries were altered; the official Ranger report went missing from the state adjutant generaland#8217;s office. Historians, as a result, have unwittingly used fiction as the basis for 150 years of analysis. Carlson and Crumand#8217;s careful historiographical reconsideration seeks not only to set the record straight but to deal with concepts of myth, folklore, and memory, both individual and collective. Myth, Memory, and Massacre peels away assumptions surrounding one of the most infamous episodes in Texas history, even while it adds new dimensions to the question of what constitutes reliable knowledge.
Book News Annotation:
In 1860, a group of US Cavalry and Texas Rangers raided a Comanche hunting camp in northwest Texas. One of the prisoners they took was a woman later identified as Cynthia Ann Parker, a 34-year-old white woman who had been taken captive by the Indians as a child and had lived as a member of the tribe for most of her life. The battle was also a decisive one in the career of Sul Ross, a 22-year-old Texas Ranger captain who later became a Texas senator, governor, and president of what is now called Texas A&M University. Carlson (professor emeritus, history, Texas Tech University) and Crum, past president of the West Texas Historical Association, argue that the historic "battle" was actually a massacre of mainly women and children and show that firsthand reports of the incident were altered to bolster the reputations of Ross and others for political reasons. Analyzing the questionable diaries, missing official reports, and later accounts by Cynthia Ann Parker's grown children, the authors reveal the facts of the incident and explain how it became a part of Texas folklore. B&w historical photos are included. An appendix offers a chronology of eyewitness accounts. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
In reexamining historical accounts of the 1860 and#8220;Battle of Pease River,and#8221; when the white woman Cynthia Ann Parker was retaken from her Indian captors, Paul H. Carlson and Tom Crum expose errors, falsifications, and mysteries that have contributed to a skewed understanding of the facts. For political and racist reasons, they argue, a altered; the official Ranger report went missing from the state adjutant generaland#8217;s office. Historians, as a result, have unwittingly used fiction as the basis for 150 years of analysis. Myth, Memory, and Massacre peels away assumptions surrounding one of the most infamous episodes in Texas history, even while it adds new dimensions to the question of what constitutes reliable knowledge.
About the Author
Paul H. Carlson is professor emeritus of history at Texas Tech University. A fellow of both the Texas State Historical Association and the West Texas Historical Association, he has published numerous books and articles, earned several research and writing honors, and received six university teaching awards. In 2006 he was elected to membership in the Philosophical Society of Texas. He and his wife, Ellen, live in Lubbock, Texas.Tom Crum lives with his wife, Mary, in Hood County, Texas. A retired state district judge and a past president of the West Texas Historical Association, he has published several articles and book chapters. Currently he serves on the boards of directors for both the East and West Texas Historical Associations, as counselor for the Texas Folklore Society, and as a member of the Advisory Council for the Center for Big Bend Studies.
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History and Social Science » Americana » Captivity Tales