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The Men Who Wear the Star: The Story of the Texas Rangers Hardcover – March 21, 2000


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1st edition (March 21, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067945649X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679456490
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.5 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #368,684 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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

From Publishers Weekly

Fans of the old TV series The Lone Ranger and the current Walker, Texas Ranger (starring Chuck Norris) will love this history. Robinson (Bad Hand; A Good Year to Die) starts the tale in 1823, when the Mexican government allowed American settlers in Texas to form companies of border rangers to protect themselves from Indian raids. The Republic of Texas continued with the ranger companies and even formed entire regiments of them to serve alongside the American army during the Mexican War. The rangers continued to assist the American regular army in the later 1840s and '50s by patrolling both the frontier with Mexico and the northern and western settlements, keeping watch for marauding Indians. Rangers fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War, then spent the remainder of the 19th century patrolling the Mexican border, fighting Indians (the last battle occurred in 1881) and running down criminals. After their horse-riding days were over, the rangers adapted and became part of the state's Department of Public Safety. Today, more than 100 men and women continue the proud tradition of their service. Robinson has written an engaging book that covers the Texas Rangers' major highlights, including their finest moments and their great officers--men like Jack Hays, John Ford and Leander H. McNelly. The author also delves into embarrassments, such as the Rangers' participation in the 1877 "Salt War." This fast-paced book sheds new light on an organization many have heard of but fewer know well. Maps and illus. not seen by PW.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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This book tells you stories and gives you some great background.
AngelLesa
Probably one of the best researched, and best written account of both Texas and Texas Ranger history.
Reagan Lynch
I learned much about the state's history in general in reading this book.
Efrem Sepulveda

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By timmyleecook@yahoo.com on April 27, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Robinson has provided the definitive history of the Texas Rangers. Careful to tell his story against the backdrop of concurrent historical events, this book is lucid, informative and an excellent read.While he makes no apologies, Mr. Robinson describes in detail the alleged excesses of the Rangers while consistently lumping the atrocities of the Indians into the category of "depredations". The settlers who were on the receiving end of these depredations might not use such a ten-dollar word.The Rangers were no missionaries according to Mr. Robinson, but the rough justice they meted out was often the only assurance our Texas ancestors had that they would not be murdered in their beds, or worse. Mr. Robinson does point out the viciousness of the Tonkawa Indians ( Ranger allies) with a chilling description of the practice of impaling young children upon broken tree branches. THE MEN WHO WEAR THE STAR is a mandatory addition to the library of any historian of the nineteenth century Texas frontier.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By John J. BAIN on July 12, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Spend the night up to your neck in a river, sleep on the desert floor, grapple with Commanche warriors; all for the sake of the Lone Star State. Ride with the right group and you're a hero, but look out. This account is real life adventure put into easily readable chapters that will leave you glad the author has written other works.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Keith on June 11, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Being a native Texan I thought I had heard and read all there was with regards to the Texas Rangers, This book proved me wrong but delightfully so. An excellent book if you want the history of Texas as well as history of the Rangers. The detail with which Mr Robinson writes covers the ground they rode as well as their undying love of Texas and their duty.Although I did wish for some articles to be more detailed, it was hopefully due more to the loss of records then any intentional overlook by the author. Excellent reading, hard to put down.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Darryl L. Walker on May 6, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Robinson captures all the important characters and events in this short, easy-to-read, well balanced book of the Texas Rangers. The book is actually a series of short stories about the most notorious and memorable men who made the Texas Rangers legendary not only for their fortitude and bravery, but also for their ruthlessness and sometimes lawlessness. The book is very objective and does not attempt to portray the Rangers as gods. Nevertheless, the Rangers were a unique band of men who often sacrificed their lives to protect the ordinary citizen living in remote areas of Texas. The real Texas Rangers and their actual accomplishments are far more amazing than the myth that continues to surround these extraordinary men to this day.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Morseburg on October 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
Although I have Walter Prescott Webb's classic work on the Texas Rangers, which was written decades ago, I was happy to see that there is a new history of the fabled frontier law enforcement unit had come out. The Texas Rangers were founded even before Texas independence in order to protect settlers from attacks from Comanche, Kiowa and Apache Indians, outlaws of more familiar origin, miscellaneous miscreants and eventually, after Texas joined the United States, cross-border Mexican bandits. While many of the early Ranger units were little more than sanctioned vigilantes who often conflated their law enforcement role with what can be described as extra-judicial enforcement of the law, they were tasked with an extremely difficult task - keeping Texans safe in a violent time. The Indians, who lived a hardscrabble existence on the windswept Texas plains, were resentful of intrusion of the white settlers and ranchers on their land and so more than five decades of raids ensued. Other works like the seminal "Trail Drivers of Texas" are full of stories of Texans who were killed by small war parties as the settlers pushed their way farther north and west. While Robinson does not attempt to whitewash the racism, brutality and ruthlessness of the early Texas Rangers, he puts their behavior into the proper context of the era in which they lived. His book is a narrative of short stories that illustrates live among the poorly paid Rangers and vividly portrays the heroism and endurance that was necessary to pursue outlaws and Indians across a barren and treacherous landscape. Robinson has augmented early accounts with further research that sheds light on the Rangers during the Civil War and the Reconstruction Period that followed.Read more ›
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin G. Gardner on April 24, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Fastidiously researched, well-documented, and equally well-written, this book is probably the final word, not only on the Texas Rangers, but on certain epochs of Texas history. This is the book that we`ve been waiting for - the kind that evokes the human side of the Rangers without destroying their larger-than-life reputation, and one that makes them live up to their sins without minimizing their heroism. This combines equal parts fact and testosterone to make for a satisfying read that, although it does drag occasionally, quite makes up for it with a steady stream of colorful events and individuals on every page.
- Benjamin Gene Gardner
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Reagan Lynch on December 14, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Probably one of the best researched, and best written account of both Texas and Texas Ranger history.
I originally got the book for my own interest, but soon decided to use it as a primary resource for a major research paper.
Robinson even tells the part of The Alamo story that almost all high school Texas History teachers leave out.
This book should be one of the textbooks students should use for Texas History.
You can feel the power of Jack Hayes, the heat of the Texas desert, you fear for the men at The Alamo, and you feel like your riding along side the Rangers against the Indians.
This book is required reading for any Texan who wants to know more about the history of the state and many of its legends.
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