The Men Who Wear the Star: The Story of the Texas Rangers

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9780679456490: The Men Who Wear the Star: The Story of the Texas Rangers
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In 1935, Walter Prescott Webb first told about them in his classic The Texas Rangers, but not until now do we have a modern retelling of this storied organization, based on new material and written with the encouragement of the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame.

Most narratives of this colorful story, even Webb's, leave out several important eras in the history of the Rangers--the Civil War years, for instance, simply don't exist, and there is little acknowledgment of the Reconstruction period, from 1866 to 1874. In addition, though these previous chronicles concerned themselves primarily with the Rangers since their formal organization in 1835, the earlier years, when the "Ranging" defense force was established by Stephen Austin, are significant and exciting. And while most stories about the Texas Rangers treat them uncritically and uniformly as heroes, this was not always the case, to say the least.

The Texas Ranger captured the imagination of the American public like no other individual. Here is his colorful story, told anew, by the highly praised author of A Good Year to Die.

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Predating the entry of Texas into the United States, the Texas Rangers came into being as a ragtag outfit of frontiersmen who battled a host of enemies, from Mexican soldiers to Comanche Indians to Anglo outlaws, and who were not often scrupulous about method--or the niceties of law. The Rangers were a controversial instrument of state justice throughout the 19th century, taming the frontier and borderlands with a hail of bullets and sometimes acting as little more than what historian Charles M. Robinson calls "officially sanctioned lynch mobs" with an unfortunate habit of singling out nonwhite Texans for punishment.

Even with their sometimes flawed conception of right and wrong, the Rangers earned widespread fame a century and more ago for conducting well-publicized campaigns against such desperadoes as Sam Bass, John Wesley Hardin, and John Selman. Less inclined to seek the spotlight today, the Texas Rangers still operate as an effective law-enforcement unit. In 1997, for example, they figured prominently in the surrender of self-styled "ambassador of the Republic of Texas" Richard McLaren. Robinson examines the checkered career of the Rangers, acknowledging the organization's darker moments while maintaining that the lawmen also did much to lessen violence in a markedly violent time and place. He approvingly cites a Ranger saying of long ago: "No man in the wrong can stand up against a fellow that's in the right and keeps on a-comin'." --Gregory McNamee

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Praise for A Good Year to Die

"[Told] with scrupulous fairness to both sides...Histories of the Indian wars formerly described events from the government's point of view only, and Mr. Robinson's use of Indian accounts to portray life inside the Sioux government's camp is part of a welcome trend to write a more complete and balanced history."


--The New York Times

"A provocative analysis of the Plains War of 1876 by an established scholar in the field...making sophisticated use of Native American accounts."

--Publishers Weekly

"A record of mutual intolerance, rage, fear, deceit, good intentions and perfectly human blundering. Charles Robinson has done his homework as well as the field work....A book of permanent value to Western history fanatics."
--Los Angeles Times Book Review

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9780375757488: The Men Who Wear the Star: The Story of the Texas Rangers (Modern Library Paperbacks)

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ISBN 10:  0375757481 ISBN 13:  9780375757488
Publisher: Modern Library, 2001
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