A valuable addition to the library of Texana.



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 none too 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.

Pub Date: March 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-19-515444-4

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2007

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Thus the second most costly war in American history, whose “outcome seemed little short of a miracle.” A sterling account.


A master storyteller’s character-driven account of a storied year in the American Revolution.

Against world systems, economic determinist and other external-cause schools of historical thought, McCullough (John Adams, 2001, etc.) has an old-fashioned fondness for the great- (and not-so-great) man tradition, which may not have much explanatory power but almost always yields better-written books. McCullough opens with a courteous nod to the customary villain in the story of American independence, George III, who turns out to be a pleasant and artistically inclined fellow who relied on poor advice; his Westmoreland, for instance, was a British general named Grant who boasted that with 5,000 soldiers he “could march from one end of the American continent to the other.” Other British officers agitated for peace, even as George wondered why Americans would not understand that to be a British subject was to be free by definition. Against these men stood arrayed a rebel army that was, at the least, unimpressive; McCullough observes that New Englanders, for instance, considered washing clothes to be women’s work and so wore filthy clothes until they rotted, with the result that Burgoyne and company had a point in thinking the Continentals a bunch of ragamuffins. The Americans’ military fortunes were none too good for much of 1776, the year of the Declaration; at the slowly unfolding battle for control over New York, George Washington was moved to despair at the sight of sometimes drunk soldiers running from the enemy and of their officers “who, instead of attending to their duty, had stood gazing like bumpkins” at the spectacle. For a man such as Washington, to be a laughingstock was the supreme insult, but the British were driven by other motives than to irritate the general—not least of them reluctance to give up a rich, fertile and beautiful land that, McCullough notes, was providing the world’s highest standard of living in 1776.

Thus the second most costly war in American history, whose “outcome seemed little short of a miracle.” A sterling account.

Pub Date: June 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-7432-2671-2

Page Count: 656

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2005

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