Lone Star Lawmen: The Second Century of the Texas Rangers

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Hailed as "a rip-snortin', six-guns-blazin' saga of good guys and bad guys who were sometimes one and the same," Robert M. Utley's Lone Star Justice captured the colorful first century of Texas Ranger history. Now, in the eagerly anticipated conclusion, Lone Star Lawmen, Utley once again chronicles the daring exploits of the Rangers, this time as they bring justice to the twentieth-century West.
Based on unprecedented access to Ranger archives, this fast-paced narrative stretches from the days of the Mexican Revolution (where atrocities against Mexican Americans marked the nadir of Ranger history) to the Branch Davidian saga near Waco and the recent bloody standoff with "Republic of Texas" militia. Readers will find in these pages one hundred years of high adventure. Utley follows the Rangers as they pursue bank robbers, bootleggers, moonshiners, and "horsebackers" (smugglers who used mule trains to bring liquor across the border). We see these fearless lawmen taming oil boomtowns, springing the ambush of Bonnie and Clyde, facing down angry lynch mobs, and tracking the "Phantom Killer" of Texarkana. Utley also highlights the gradual evolution of this celebrated force, revealing that while West Texas Rangers still occasionally ride the range on horseback and crack down on smugglers and rustlers, East Texas Rangers—who work mostly in big cities—now ride in high-powered cars and contend with kidnappers, forgers, and other urban criminals. But East or West, today's Rangers have become sophisticated professionals, backed by crime labs and forensic science.
Written by one of the most respected Western historians alive, here is the definitive account of the Texas Rangers, a vivid portrait of these legendary peace officers and their role in a changing West.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Robert Utley's Lone Star Justice set the standard for histories of the early Texas Rangers. In Lone Star Lawmen, which has just arrived in paperback, he offers what promises to be the most influential (and controversial) account of the second century of this legendary law enforcement agency. Utley's fast-paced narrative shows that the transformation of the Rangers from horseback-riding frontiersmen to 20th-century professionals hasn't made them or their mission any less exciting. Unlike some previous historians, Utley doesn't hesitate to temper his stories of Ranger heroism with sound critical judgment about their exploits; as in the previous volume, he offers cogent discussions of individual incidents (including, in this case, the still hotly debated Branch Davidian siege.) One great read.
From the Publisher
"Perhaps the most common question arising after the publication of Robert Utley's Lone Star Justice in 2002 was whether the promised second volume would match the first for compelling stories of lone Rangers battling Indians and outlaws on the Texas frontier...The answer, happily, is that Mr. Utley has risen to the occasion...this well-researched study adds enormously to Texas history and offers a reasonably objective treatment of one of the most unique and controversial organizations Texas ever produced."—Dallas Morning News

"What's most astounding is his singular ability to blend deep research with a mind-boggling grasp of secondary source materials. Then, like an alchemist, he uses his gift for old-fashioned storytelling to write beautifully rendered narratives... Honest, pragmatic and usually right, Utley's action-packed newest effort, 'Lone Star: The Second Century of the Texas Rangers,'belongs on all readers' Western Americana bookshelves, next to the best efforts of Webb, Dobie and Prescott."—Austin American-Statesman

"In this follow-up to Lone Star Justice, Utley tells how the Texas Rangers entered the 20th century as an effective if idiosyncratic law enforcement outfit and entered the 21st century as the investigative arm of the Texas Department of Public Safety. In a dry style, Utley describes the Rangers various commanders, troopers and exploits."—Publishers Weekly

"In Lone Star Lawmen our pre-eminent historian of the American West has presented a thorough and vividly written assessment of this great, often controversial, assemblage of Texas lawmen."—Roundup Magazine

"This book is a winner. Robert Utley's Lone Star Justice and Lone Star Lawmen are the best books ever written about the Texas Rangers. His brilliant account makes the story of the Rangers central to an understanding of Texas history, and his talent for vivid storytelling enthralls us to the very end."—Howard R. Lamar, Sterling Professor Emeritus of History, Yale University

"Utley rounds out his history of the Texas Rangers with a brisk account of their high points and their lows, their heroes and their villains, during the Twentieth Century. Exploring both the darkness and the sunshine, his well-rounded book is certain to create controversy among both supporters and detractors of the Rangers."—Elmer Kelton, author of Texas Vendetta and The Buckskin Line

"No one has done more to illuminate the real American Western experience and separate it from fictionalizing and folklore than Robert Utley. Lone Star Lawmen completes his landmark history of the Texas Rangers, from the last days of the outlaws to the modern challenges of patrolling an international border. Throughout Utley is cogent, authoritative, and unfailingly interesting, a Lone Star Historian at his best."—William C. Davis, author of Three Roads to the Alamo

"Lively with stories of crime and punishment, victory and disappointment. It is sure to be controversial...naming names and claling them as he sees them: the good, the bad, the modest, the flamboyant, and the incompetent."—Montana: The Magazine of Western History

Publishers Weekly
In this follow-up to Lone Star Justice, Utley tells how the Texas Rangers entered the 20th century as an effective if idiosyncratic law enforcement outfit and entered the 21st century as the investigative arm of the Texas Department of Public Safety. In a dry style, Utley describes the Rangers' various commanders, troopers and exploits. Through the first third of the 20th century, the Rangers operated in an extralegal fashion-their existence was at the whim of whoever occupied the governor's mansion in Austin. It wasn't until 1935 that the Rangers were made official and brought into the newly formed DPS. Utley is far too enamored of the Rangers for his book's good. While his precise if plodding prose doesn't hype the Rangers' exploits, and he acknowledges a "dark period" early in the 20th century when weak leaders failed to control their men, he treads so lightly on so many issues-prisoner treatment (brutal), racial integration (belated) and especially gender equality (a glaring problem Utley chalks up to "the lack of female applicants")-that it is hard to see this as the definitive account it aspires to be. 30 b&w illus. (Mar.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A continuation of the author's Lone Star Justice (2001), bringing the tale of the renowned-and sometimes infamous-Texas Rangers to the present. Founded to battle Comanches and other Indians on the open range, the unit that ranks among the world's best-known police detachments became not very particular about its targets along about the time of the Mexican Revolution, when this sequel gathers steam. The decade of the revolution (1910-20) is, writes Utley, "the blackest period in the history of the Texas Rangers"; so vigorous were the special agents in keeping the border under Anglo control that police murders of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans were common. One Army scout reported, for instance, finding the bodies of ten Mexicans hanging alongside a road, each with a bullet in the forehead, which one former Ranger called the brand of the unit in a process known along the borderlands as "evaporation." Utley condemns the Rangers of the time for undermining rather than upholding the law, proceeding to a period in which the governor commissioned Rangers to "carry a gun and arrest law-breakers, such as editors, executives, and bankers" who dared oppose his enlightened rule. In time, conditions changed, giving credence to the thought that good politics make for good police. Usually few in number, the Rangers dwindled into the Depression, when constant bank robberies gave them new opportunities to fan their six-shooters. In the modern era, they had to adjust to conditions, admitting women into the unit (none too successfully); attending to strange confrontations with the Branch Davidians (more successfully than did federal authorities) and right-wing militias; and recruiting minority officers nonetoo enthusiastically. On that note, it is something of an irony, given the Rangers' Latino-hating tendencies of old, that Utley considers the best of the best Rangers to have been one Manuel Gonzaullas, whom he deems an "exemplary leader."A valuable addition to the library of Texana.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195154443
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 2/28/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 1,394,178
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 6.40 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert M. Utley is one of the leading historians of the American West. A former chief historian of the National Park Service, he is a founding member and former president of the Western Historical Association, and the author of sixteen books on the American West, including the best-selling The Lance and the Shield: The Life of Sitting Bull. He lives in Georgetown, Texas, with his wife Melody Webb, also a historian.

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Table of Contents

Preface     ix
Prologue     1
The Border, 1910-1915     8
The "Bandit War," 1915     26
The Big Bend, 1913-1919     48
Austin, 1918-1919     68
Pat Neff's "Battles of Peace," 1921-1925     85
Ma and Pa Ferguson, 1925-1927     109
Dan Moody, 1927-1931     119
Ross and Bill Sterling, 1931-1933     142
Return of the Fergusons, 1933-1935     152
The Department of Public Safety, 1935     166
DPS Birth Pangs, 1935-1938     179
Homer Garrison, 1938-1968     192
Gambling ... and Other Distractions     216
Latino Uprising     235
Change, 1965-1985     254
Highs and Lows, 1970s     265
Highs and Lows, 1980s     282
Highs and Lows, 1990s     303
A Summing-Up     329
Abbreviations     342
Notes     344
Sources     381
Index     391
Texas     xvi
The Upper Border in 1915     36
The Lower Border in 1915     37
Oil Boomtowns, 1920-1933     89
Texas Rangers Field Organization 2000     305
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2009

    Texas Lawmen History

    The references are of great detail, most book do not have the detail that
    Robert Utley presents. It gave me a sence of truth in these cases, because
    others have written on the same cases and leave you woundering.

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  • Posted February 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer


    Much to the pleasure of Texans and history buffs acclaimed historian Robert Utley returns with his sequel to Lone Star Justice (2002) thus bringing the saga of the Texas Rangers to the present day. Many have been introduced to the Rangers via television with such programs as Walker or Texas Ranger, yet it is left to Utley to deliver the most telling and intriguing story of all. We read, 'One Riot, One Ranger. A single Ranger could quell an incipient riot. Rangers and Texans alike reveled in the image of the stalwart, fearless lawman facing down an angry mob. On occasion it came close enough to happening to provide at least an inspiration for the slogan.' Yes, the Rangers were and are, for many, men of mythic stature. Utley debunks some myths while perpetuating others. History is at its most fascinating as the Rangers enter the twentieth century leaving their beloved horses behind and chasing criminals in motorized vehicles. They're no longer after rustlers but set their sights on modern criminals and the utilization of contemporary methods, such as forensic science. With Lone Star Lawmen readers view the Mexican Revolution (a dark point in Ranger history) and visit towns made rich and lawless by oil. The dramatic capture of Bonnie and Clyde is retold, as well as the Branch Davidian tragedy near Waco. Prodigiously researched Lone Star Lawmen is one more valuable addition to Texas history. - Gail Cooke

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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