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Lone Star: A History of Texas and the Texans Hardcover – February, 2000
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Top Customer Reviews
The scope of the book is vast and it is almost too long and involved for an amateur like me with limited time. However the story is so compelling and even riveting that at times I could hardly put it down. It almost reads like a good novel.
The narrative overflows the strict confines of what might be considered "Texas History." The author ventures far afield in time, distance and circumstance to weave the various historical threads together into the drama of Texas. It is a work for those interested in American, Southern, Southwestern, Native American or Mexican History. It is a good reference.
The book was written some time ago (1968) and has been updated (2000). It is relatively free of sterile "correct" language which I think allows it to be wonderfully original and more credible. It is not a whitewash. The author is sometimes unapologetic and he can offend. He does criticize but also gives admiration, credit and praise where I did not expect it. This is a man who wants to get to the heart and soul of the matter. He knows these colorful people and their setting and through his perceptive narrative you interact with them, too. You can almost see and touch them. This is just dog-gone interesting stuff!
This book is a keeper. It has found a permanent spot on my shelf even if I move far away from Texas. I hope you get as much out of it as I did.
If you are politically correct, you will not like the historical accuracy of this book. The author clearly gives the Scotch-Irish (Anglo-Celts) their due for pushing the frontier westwards, settling Texas, and giving it its "Texas" tradition. One reviewer speaks of the absence of the Hispanic contribution, but it must be remembered that at the time of the Texas Revolution, Anglos outnumbered Mexicans ten to one in Texas. Indeed, the growth of Mexican population figures in Texas is a post World War II phenomenon, and the current ethnic composition is of recent vintage. The author is historically correct to limit his coverage of Mexicans in Texas to south of the Nueces, San Antonio, the Rio Grande valley and Ybarbo's group until after World War II. Had the Mexicans been able to defeat the Lipan Apaches and Comanches, the history would have been different.
Another reviewer pans the book due to the author's leaving out a reference to a diary's author and then proceeds to allege the meeting in question was fictional. Based on this single case, he relegates the entire book to fictional status. It seems to me that there must be something else at work here.
The author tells it like it was. Attitudes such as the Indians losing their land because they didn't develop it were normal in the time period involved, and the choice to fight for the Confederacy did revolve more around fighting with and for kin and neighbors rather than an abstract idea like states rights or anything else.Read more ›
Beginning with this part of the continent's emergence from pre-history, Fehrenbach introduces us to its earliest inhabitants. We travel with the peaceful Indians who migrated from Wyoming through Nebraska and New Mexico into Texas, afoot and gathering their food from wild plants. The "lowly gatherers", they were called, confined to the ground they could cover on foot, and little match for the fleet game that abounded on every hand.
But when they encountered horses brought in by the Spanish they became obsessed with horsemanship. Large numbers of horses were stolen in nighttime raids on Spanish remudas and the "gatherers" were transformed into the fiercest Indians on the North American continent: the Comanches.
With their new mobility they could appear from nowhere, strike the Spanish settlements and disappear into nowhere like the passing wind. Better horsemen have never lived, and horses have never been used as instruments of war with such expertness as they were used by the Comanches. The Spanish incursion was pushed back, and further back.
So when Stephen F. Austin applied to the Mexican authorities to settle eastern Texas he was seen as added defenses against the marauding Comanches. Houston was given huge grants of land and he brought in settlers. Spanish soldiers -- fighting for they knew not what -- were one thing. Men fighting the Comanches to protect their homesteads were something else, and they fought back blow for blow. So the Comanches were encouraged to occupy west Texas, leaving the settlers the eastern part of the land pretty much alone.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Well-organized, and his writing is often vivid. But too often he lapses into generalizations and speculations about what people thought or felt. Read morePublished 4 days ago by W. E. G. Holmes
Racial and societal biases aside, this was a pretty thorough history of Texans going way back to the beginning.Published 11 days ago by Nathan E Kartchner
...this writer, at some point, was payed by the word. Informative, but repetitive and redundant. Entertaining and educational. Did I say redundant?Published 18 days ago by JS Lurkin
The first 90% of this book comprises one of the most detailed and thorough histories of Texas from it's earliest days through annexation, the Civil War and its aftermath to the... Read morePublished 26 days ago by OldSoldierSix
Awesome book. I like the way its written. A good historical resource.Published 2 months ago by Roman S.
Outstanding research. Very professional. Often haughty and unnecessarily overly didactic language using complicated words which require regular use of a dictionary.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
This book gave insight into the development of our country. There were numerous points brought out I never considered. plenty of actionPublished 3 months ago by Doc Rishel
A must have reference book that reads like a novel. I just recently moved to TX and wanted to know why Texans are a breed onto their own. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Anna
EXCELLENT IN DEPTH HISTORICAL ACCOUNT OF THE STATE OF TEXAS.
VERY WELL RESEARCHED AND WORTH THE READ.
WOULD RECOMMEND FOR HISTORY BUFFS.