Synopses & Reviews
Texas writer/historian Mike Cox explores the inception and rise of the famed Texas Rangers. Starting in 1821 with just a handful of men, the Rangers' first purpose was to keep settlers safe from the feared and gruesome Karankawa Indians, a cannibalistic tribe that wandered the Texas territory. As the influx of settlers grew, the attacks increased and it became clear that a much larger, better trained force was necessary. From their tumultuous beginning to their decades of fighting outlaws, Comanche, Mexican soldados and banditos, as well as Union soldiers, the Texas Rangers became one of the fiercest law enforcement groups in America. In a land as spread-out and sparsely populated as the west itself, the Rangers had unique law-enforcement responsibilities and challenges. The story of the Texas Rangers is as controversial as it is heroic. Often accused of vigilante-style racism and murder, they enforced the law with a heavy hand. But above all they were perhaps the defining force for the stabilization and the creation of Texas. From Stephen Austin in the early days through the Civil War, the first eighty years of the Texas Rangers is nothing less then phenomenal, and the efforts put forth in those days set the foundation for the Texas Rangers that keep Texas safe today.
"Formerly the stuff of dime-novel legend, Texas Rangers have since fallen into disrepute as vigilantes who were primarily occupied with murdering Native Americans and hunting escaped slaves. Texas journalist Cox retains much of the old admiration however, and has produced a thick compendium of gunfights, pursuits and general skullduggery that contains everything anyone would want to know about the Rangers, the 'mounted irregulars operating with government authority to meet an exigency.' That exigency was the Native American presence in the rich Mexican territory of Texas. Early local governments quickly recruited young men to secure the land for American colonists. The early Rangers had to provide their own horses and arms, but there was no shortage of pugnacious adventurers. There was always a shortage of money, however, and governments rarely financed more than a year of service. Only in 1874 did the state government set up a permanent force. Cox mines contemporary newspapers, letters and diaries to cobble together a journalistic account that-except for the occasional detour into politics (invariably about raising money for the Rangers)-consists overwhelmingly of sketches and human interest stories. Old West buffs will enjoy the steady stream of anecdotes, but readers looking for a thoughtful or critical history of law enforcement along the Texas frontier will be left unsatisfied." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Austin Statesman journalist Michael Cox explores the origin and rise of the famed Texas Rangers. Starting in 1821 with just a handful of men, the Rangers' first purpose was to keep settlers safe from the feared and gruesome Karankawa Indians, a cannibalistic tribe that wanderd the Texas territory. As the influx of settlers grew, the attacks increased, and it became clear that a larger, better trained force was necessary. Taking readers through the major social and political movements of the Texas territory and into its statehood, Cox shows how the Rangers were a defining force in the stabilization and the creation of Texas. From Stephen Austin in the early days through the Civil War, the first eighty years of the Texas Rangers were nothing less than phenomenal, and the efforts put forth in those days set the foundation for the Texas Rangers who keep Texas safe today.
About the Author
MIKE COX, an elected member of the Texas Institute of Letters, began his writing career as a Texas newspaper reporter, then spent fifteen years as spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, which includes the Texas Rangers. He is currently the Communications Manager with the Texas Department of Transportation.