The Captured: A True Story of Abduction by Indians on the Texas Frontier

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Overview

"On New Year's Day in 1870, ten-year-old Adolph Korn's life as the son of a poor German-speaking farmer ended, and his life as a Comanche began." "On that day, an Indian raiding party kidnapped the boy from his neighbor's pasture in the Texas Hill Country. With little hope of finding him alive and no resources - material or political - his loved ones eventually gave him up for dead." "However, Adolph survived his capture, and soon thrived in the rough, nomadic life of the Plains Indians. Within a year, he had become one of the Comanche's fiercest warriors." "For nearly three years, Adolph fought alongside his fellow Comanches against the encroaching white settlers, buffalo hunters, and U.S. soldiers who threatened their survival. Forcibly returned to his parents when the army "captured" him a second time, Korn held fast to his Native American ways and never found a place in white society. He spent his last years living alone in a cave, an eccentric oddity forgotten by his family." "That is, until Scott Zesch stumbled over his relative's barely marked grave in a neglected corner of an old cemetery in Mason, Texas. Determined to know more about his ancestor and understand how a timid farm boy like Adolph could have become so thoroughly Indianized in such a short time, Zesch tracked down surviving relatives, dug for primary sources in archives across the West, talked with Comanche elders, and expanded his search to include other child captives from the region, who also became some of the most Indianized whites in history." Set against a backdrop of intense political wrangling and bloody confrontations between the U.S. government and Native Americans, The Captured is a true account of what settlers considered a "fate worse than death" - and the dramatic, very personal story of Adolph Korn and eight other children abducted by Comanches and Apaches in the Texas Hill Country.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Inspired by nearly forgotten family stories of a German-Texan forbear taken by Apache raiders at age ten, traded to the Comanche, and unable to readjust when forcibly returned three years later, historical novelist Zesch (Alamo Heights) changes hats to write a history of forced captivities on the Texas frontier. Zesch's thorough research includes accounts from several different families, both Texan and Comanche, which reveal how particular children adjusted to the severe and abrupt changes in their family, cultural, and personal identities as they were captured by Indians and subsequently seized by the U.S. Army. His writing vilifies neither the pioneer settlers nor the Native Americans. This modern and much-needed addition to Southern Plains Indian captivity literature (e.g., Carl Coke Rister's Border Captives, 1940) expands the compass of the entire North American Indian captivity narrative genre to include the odyssey of "white Indian" readjustment to frontier settlement life. Highly recommended for high school, public, and academic libraries. Nathan E. Bender, Buffalo Bill Historical Ctr., Cody, WY Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Kidnappings, revenge raids, murders, and burials out on the lone prairie. Cross the dusty plains 100 miles or so north of San Antonio, and you'll arrive at the little town of Mason, Texas. "I was aware, even as an adolescent, that Mason and its closest neighbors-Llano, Fredericksburg, Junction, Menard, Brady, and San Saba-had once been much more lively and significant places than the complacent 'last picture show' towns they'd become by the 1970s," writes native son Zesch. Indeed they were: in the mid-19th century, Mason and environs were hotly contested battlegrounds between German immigrants, Mexicans, and roving groups of Indians, the last of whom cast a pall across the plains. "Death at the hands of Comanches or Apaches elevated ordinary dirt farmers to the status of martyrs in the quest for western expansion," he writes, doubtless small comfort to those settlers. For their part, the Indians seemingly took pleasure in terrorizing the region and occasionally perpetuating minor massacres, such as scalping and disemboweling a young woman: "The men had to identify her mainly by process of elimination, because some wild hogs had eaten out her intestines and torn most of the flesh from her face and thighs." These atrocities would then be repaid many times over. For complex reasons of trade and honor, the Indians also regularly kidnapped young whites, who grew up among them and became acculturated "timid farm boys"-and girls-"well on the way to becoming juvenile Indian warriors." Zesch recounts the tale of an ancestor who was just such a kidnapped boy, his great-great-great-uncle, Adolph Korn, who was eventually returned to civilization, so to speak. There, he and another former captiveattracted so much attention that their rescuer put them to work: "He handed Adolph an ax, indicating that he should sound the Comanche war whoop and start at the crowd. Adolph did so, and the townspeople scurried."A carefully written, well-researched contribution to Western history-and to a promising new genre: the anthropology of the stolen. Agent: Jim Hornfischer/Hornfischer Literary Management
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312317874
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 11/10/2004
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 5.78 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.31 (d)

Meet the Author

Scott Zesch grew up in Mason County, Texas and graduated from Texas A&M University and Harvard Law School. He is the author of the novel Alamo Heights, and he is the winner of the Western History Association's Ray Allen Billington Award. He divides his time between New York City and a ranch in Art, Texas (population 3).

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 16 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2006

    Most wonderful read!

    I have just completed reading this book by Scott Zesch and found it to be beautifully written. The book reads very smooth from beginning to end and is written with such compasion. I was so impressed with the author I checked to see what else he had written and was disappointed to know he only had one other book published. I would defintely recommend 'The Captured' to anyone who embraces the West.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 7, 2012

    Excellent Read

    I purchased both the paperback and the nook book. The paperback has additional pictures that help with the experience. The publisher did not digitize the additional images for the nook for whatever the reason.
    The story is excellent and well documented. I would recommend this for all students of American History and just a good read for others.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 11, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    I have just finished this book and did not want it to end. I thoroughly enjoyed it and knowing that it was so well researched. Now to find some other books like this. I am passing the book on to a friend.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2013

    Lots of missing pages

    Very good read except for the missing pages--about one per chapter, which ruins the continuity. Sloppy and careless on the part of production.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 8, 2012

    Yes Recommended

    Well written, documented, and interesting. Must read for American History Buffs!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2008

    Loved this book

    I was intrigued at first, then got so caught up that I can't wait to read more about the white captives or white indians! Very well researched and written and gives a good account of what the captives experienced with the Indians.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2005

    A complete account

    Though I had read specific accounts of some of these captives, I have never read any book which so expertly relates their individual stories while comparing and contrasting their experiences and attempting to give explanations for the resulting changes in the children. I was thoroughly impressed with the researching and the filtering through masses of materials to separate fact from legend. This very readable book allowed me to gain insights into not only the captives, but also the political movements of the time.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2013

    Best book I've read this year

    This book was very interesting and informative. It was hard to put down. Not only did the author cover life in the Indian camps, but also what life was like when they were returned to their families and how they ended their lives.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2013

    Couldn't put down

    Incredibly intriguing. Recommend!!!

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    Posted September 28, 2012

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    Posted July 9, 2011

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    Posted April 26, 2011

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    Posted July 19, 2012

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