In this first volume of his fully illustrated history of the Texas Rangers, Thomas Knowles brings to life the genesis of the Lone Star's legendary lawmen. Discover their origins as the first defenders of the Alamo and as Stephen F. Austin's ideal of mounted volunteers, and track their service on the longest and deadliest frontier in the history of the American West. Along the way, meet some of the dedicated men who served with the early Rangers: Juan Seguin, Noah Smithwick, Jose Toribo Losoya, Samuel Walker, Benjamin and Henry McCulloch, Young Chief Flacco of the Lipan Apache, John S. "R.I.P." Ford, and the most revered of Ranger captains, Jack Hays.
Charged with the mission of operating beyond the boundaries of civilization with minimal support and no communication from higher authority, they lived and often died by the motto, "Order first, then law will follow."
They Rode for the Lone Star burns away the myths to expose the rich and detailed history of the Rangers' first decades of service, as their organization evolved to meet the demands of a young and turbulent Texas. The men who answered the Lone Star's call came from all walks of life and from diverse ethnic backgrounds-hopeful new immigrants from Europe, eager colonists from the young United States, proud Tejano vaqueros, fierce Native American horsemen-and studied combat and survival in the harsh, unforgiving school of the bloody border wars.
Usually outnumbered and often alone, they confronted the terrible challenges of the frontier with the skills and weapons they adapted to their needs. They learned to "ride like Mexicans, track like Indians, shoot like Tennesseans, and fight like the very Devil himself." They patrolled the uncharted fringes of the colonies, clashed with the armies of Santa Anna in the struggle for Texas independence, guarded the borders of the Republic, served as special forces for the United States in Mexico after annexation, and rode into combat under the Confederacy's banners against guerrillas, Indians, and invading Union troops.
The living legend of the Texas Rangers has inspired countless stories, novels and motion pictures, but few of the fictional accounts have done justice to the dramatic reality. With a historian's broad perspective and a novelist's imagery and characterization, Knowles renders a vivid and accurate depiction of the Rangers' deeds and development. The stories and larger-than-life personalities that fill the pages of They Rode for the Lone Star give ample proof of the Rangers' ability to spark the imaginations of those who love tales of Texas and the American West.
This revised trade paperback edition features an expanded "killed-in-action" list that takes into account new research and information gathered by the author since the original hardcover publication.
... praise for They Rode for the Lone Star ...
"The Rangers ... are more than myth or legend and tales of law and order in the Old West; they made history on America's longest-lasting and bloodiest frontier. They were born in desperate times out of brutal necessity. Their purpose was to defend civilization as they knew it from dangerous and savage enemies. The fact that the Texas Rangers were largely successful in this goal is the reason that today both the name and the organization survive."
- from the Foreword by T. R. Fehrenbach,
author of Lone Star: Texas and the Texans
"The Texas Rangers have long needed a narrator who is both a meticulous researcher and who understands the politics of the South. They have needed someone who can distinguish the real Ranger from his superhero image and his cartoon caricature. They have found him in Thomas Knowles and his voice in They Rode for the Lone Star."
- Don Coldsmith, author of the Spanish Bit saga,
Tallgrass, and South Wind
"Tom Knowles has always shown a fine talent and dedication to the real West. Here in They Rode for the Lone Star he moves to a high, very high plateau of accurate research and first-rate writing. A top-hand read for those who truly care. Read it now. Enjoy it forever."
- Max Evans, author of The Hi-Lo Country,
Bluefeather Fellini, and The Rounders
"Unlike many partisan writers who take sides, especially today's politically correct revisionists, Tom Knowles avoids making judgments but points up the reality that three completely different cultures came together in Texas, and conflict was inevitable."
- Elmer Kelton, seven-time Spur Award winner
and author of The Good Old Boys and
Lone Star Rising: The Texas Rangers Trilogy
"With his already proven skill for combining images and words, Thomas Knowles has now created a wonderful history of the Texas Rangers."
- Dee Brown, author of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee,
The American West, and Conspiracy of Knaves
"They Rode for the Lone Star is destined to be a great and dependable book and it is a book we have needed for a long time."
- Dale L. Walker, author of Legends and Lies: Great Mysteries of the American West
and The Boys of 98: Theodore Roosevelt and The Rough Riders
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