Frontier Crossroads: Fort Davis and the West

Overview

The idea of the West conjures exciting images of tenacious men and women, huge expanses of unclaimed territory, and feelings of both adventure and lonesome isolation. Located astride communication lines linking San Antonio, El Paso, Presidio, and Chihuahua City, the United States Army’s post at Fort Davis commanded a strategic position at a military, cultural, and economic crossroads of nineteenth-century Texas. Using extensive research and careful scrutiny of long forgotten records, Robert Wooster brings his ...

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Overview

The idea of the West conjures exciting images of tenacious men and women, huge expanses of unclaimed territory, and feelings of both adventure and lonesome isolation. Located astride communication lines linking San Antonio, El Paso, Presidio, and Chihuahua City, the United States Army’s post at Fort Davis commanded a strategic position at a military, cultural, and economic crossroads of nineteenth-century Texas. Using extensive research and careful scrutiny of long forgotten records, Robert Wooster brings his readers into the world of Fort Davis, a place of encounter, conquest, and community.
   
The fort here spawned a thriving civilian settlement and served as the economic nexus for regional development Frontier Crossroads schools its readers in the daily lives of soldiers, their dependents, and civilians at the fort and in the surrounding area. The resulting history of the intriguing blend of Hispanic, African American, Anglo, and European immigrants who came to Fort Davis is a benchmark volume that will serve as the standard to which other post histories will be compared.
   
The military garrisons of Fort Davis represented a rich mosaic of nineteenth-century American life. Each of the army’s four black regiments served there following the Civil War, and its garrisons engaged in many of the army’s grueling campaigns against Apache and Comanche Indians. Characters such as artist and officer Arthur T. Lee, William “Pecos Bill” Shafter, and Benjamin Grierson and his family come alive under Wooster’s pen. Frontier Crossroads will enrich its readers with its careful analysis of life on the frontier. This book will appeal to military and social historians, Texas history buffs, and those seeking a record of adventure.

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Editorial Reviews

New Mexico Historical Reveiw
"Wooster goes beyond military matters to give readers insightful analysis about the interaction of Hispanics, Anglos, and African Americans." -New Mexico Historical Review
Jerry Thompson
"Certainly no historian today knows more about Fort Davis than Robert Wooster. . . . all previous attempts to chronicle the history of the post pale in comparison to what Wooster has produced. Using a variety of impressive and often obscure primary and secondary sources, the study is thoroughly documented and scholarly impressive. Perhaps most notable is Wooster’s ability to ferret out relevant records at the National Archives and various other historical depositories. The end result is a study that both the academic and lay reader is certain to appreciate."-Jerry Thompson, Texas A&M International University
New Mexico Historical Reveiw

"Wooster goes beyond military matters to give readers insightful analysis about the interaction of Hispanics, Anglos, and African Americans." -New Mexico Historical Review

Military History
...a model microhistory of a frontier outpost and its environs in the west Texas desert...Although Wooster does an altogether admirable job of detailing the numerous patrols that the army launched against its swift striking foes and the dozens of nameless skirmishes that they fought, the principal value of this book lies in its contributions to the social history of the West, recreating through exhaustive research and in elegant style, the life of a frontier community and the day to day routine of the officers and men of the fort and of the civilians--brown, black, and white--who found protection in its shadow and employment in its many enterprises.
Texas Illustrated Magazine
"Frontier Crossroads will enrich its readers with its careful analysis of life on the frontier. This book will appeal to military and social historians, Texas history buffs, and those seeking a record of adventure."
Southwestern Historical Quarterly
. . . should serve as a model of how good military history should be written. . . . a masterful account of a post which served as a place of 'encounter, conquest, and community'.
Military History of the West
This is an excellent book. Wooster's extensive research is complemented by his gift for using excerpts from primary sources to bring the story to life...Wooster moves past the exceptionalist view of the Anglo-American frontier experience and focuses on the fort's history as 'a place of encounter, conquest, and community,' including information abou various ethnic groups, women, and the communities that developed to support the fort. Historians of Texas, military historians, and general readers alike will enjoy this book.
Western Historical Quarterly

Frontier Crossroads is a gem of a book, fully deserving attention from scholars working most every dimension of the history of the American West.

The Journal of Southern History

Wooster, with Frontier Crossroads, has advanced western military history.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781585444755
  • Publisher: Texas A&M University Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2006
  • Series: Canseco-Keck History Series , #7
  • Pages: 222
  • Sales rank: 1,421,749
  • Product dimensions: 9.50 (w) x 6.40 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

ROBERT WOOSTER is the Joe Frantz Professor of History at Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi, where he teaches U.S., Civil War, military, and Texas history. His earlier works on the military and the U.S. frontier have won several awards. His Nelson A. Miles and the Twilight of the Frontier Army was a History Book Club selection.

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