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A Creole Community on the Louisiana-Texas Frontier
Strategically located at the western edge of the Atlantic World, the French post of Natchitoches thrived during the eighteenth century as a trade hub between the well-supplied settlers and the isolated Spaniards and Indians of Texas. Its critical economic and diplomatic role made it the most important community on the Louisiana-Texas frontier during the colonial era. Despite the community’s critical role under French and then Spanish rule, Colonial Natchitoches is the first thorough study of its society and economy. Founded in 1714, four years before New Orleans, Natchitoches developed a creole (American-born of French descent) society that dominated the Louisiana-Texas frontier. H. Sophie Burton and F. Todd Smith carefully demonstrate not only the persistence of this creole dominance but also how it was maintained. They examine, as well, the other ethnic cultures present in the town and relations with Indians in the surrounding area. Through statistical analyses of birth and baptismal records, census figures, and appropriate French and Spanish archives, Burton and Smith reach surprising conclusions about the nature of society and commerce in colonial Natchitoches.
Dorothy Hood, 1918-2000
Through one man’s career, Colt Terry, Green Beret portrays the birth and development of America’s most elite fighting unit. The 10th Special Forces Group was the first of the Green Beret units. Its five hundred men, all Airborne and mostly Rangers, received extensive training in everything from specialized weapons to uncommon languages. Their primary mission was to train and lead indigenous guerillas operating in enemy territory. Second Lieutenant Colt Terry, who had joined the 82nd Airborne in 1947, had already done this in Korea. As a volunteer in the 10th SFG, he carried on his service, working with the Montagnards in Vietnam and The Khmer in Cambodia. He fought at Pleiku, Duc Co, and Plei Me, and he ferried supplies and weapons on elephants into Cambodia. From his enlistment as a buck private in 1945 to his retirement as a lieutenant colonel in 1970, Terry served five tours in combat, trained guerrillas, and earned two combat infantry badges, a Purple Heart, and two Bronze Stars. His experiences contributed to Special Forces’ expertise in ambushes and killing techniques. Even as an officer, Terry never shied away from going deep into the jungle in search of the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army. He personally organized a successful effort to save hundreds of men in one of Special Forces’ most critical A-team camps. As one of the original Green Berets, Terry helped set the standards by which these units have become known. Anyone who has ever wondered what the Green Berets were like during their first two decades will appreciate the riveting action and close-up detail of Terry’s true-life story . This is the story of Curtis “Colt” Terry, one of the original Green Berets. The information for this story came primarily from Colt’s personal recollections documented in taped interviews. Many facts were confirmed with fellow paratroopers, military historians, and Special Forces NCOs and officers who served with him. Colt gave the interviews to leave a record of his experiences. After hearing Colt’s story, the author felt that other people should know this man.
Before the Reservation
Once called the Lords of the Plains, the Comanches were long portrayed as loose bands of marauding raiders who capitalized on the Spanish introduction of horses to raise their people out of primitive poverty through bison hunting and fierce warfare. More recent studies of the Comanches have focused on adaptation and persistence in Comanche lifestyles and on Comanche political organization and language-based alliances. In Comanche Society: Before the Reservation, Gerald Betty develops an exciting and sophisticated perspective on the driving force of Comanche life: kinship. Betty details the kinship patterns that underlay all social organization and social behavior among the Comanches and uses the insights gained to explain the way Comanches lived and the way they interacted with the Europeans who recorded their encounters. Rather than a narrative history of the Comanches, this account presents analyses of the formation of clans and the way they functioned across wide areas to produce cooperation and alliances; of hierarchy based in family and generational relationships; and of ancestor worship and related religious ceremonies as the basis for social solidarity. The author then considers a number of aspects of Comanche life—pastoralism, migration and nomadism, economics and trade, warfare and violence—and how these developed along kinship lines. In considering how and why Comanches adopted the Spanish horse pastoralism, Betty demonstrates clearly that pastoralism was an expression of indigenous culture, not the cause of it. He describes in detail the Comanche horse culture as it was observed by the Spaniards and the Indian adaptation of Iberian practices. In this context, he looks at the kinship basis of inheritance practices, which, he argues, undergirded private ownership of livestock. Drawing on obscure details buried in Spanish accounts of their time in the lands that became known as Comanchería, Betty provides an interpretive gaze into the culture of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Comanches that offers new organizing principles for the information that had been gathered previously. This is cutting-edge history, drawing not only on original research in extensive primary documents but also on theoretical perspectives from other disciplines.
Across the Pacific on the USS Tate
The first authoritative history of any of the more than 350 attack transports or attack cargo ships of World War II, Combat Loaded: Across the Pacific on the USS Tate contains gripping combat narratives alongside the sometimes heartwarming, sometimes tragic details of daily life on board the ships of Transport Squadron 17 during the waning days of World War II. Author Thomas E. Crew interviewed over fifty veterans of the Tate, including all her surviving officers. Crew weaves a rich tapestry of voices, combining it with extensive analysis of the Tate’s daily action reports and ship’s logs, accented by lively letters of the period from private collections—including previously unpublished accounts of the last days of famed war correspondent Ernie Pyle. Crew also presents a rare unit-level perspective of joint operations involving the infantry fighting ashore and the navy transports that sustained them with their vital combat cargo. The resulting richly illustrated work presents perhaps the most comprehensive account to date of the experiences and courageous contributions of those who served on amphibious transports during World War II.
The Eighth U.S. Army on the Eve of the Korean War
In the decades since the “forgotten war” in Korea, conventional wisdom has held that the Eighth Army consisted largely of poorly trained, undisciplined troops who fled in terror from the onslaught of the Communist forces. Now, military historian Thomas E. Hanson argues that the generalizations historians and fellow soldiers have used regarding these troops do little justice to the tens of thousands of soldiers who worked to make themselves and their army ready for war. In Hanson's careful study of combat preparedness in the Eighth Army from 1949 to the outbreak of hostilities in 1950, he concedes that the U.S. soldiers sent to Korea suffered gaps in their professional preparation, from missing and broken equipment to unevenly trained leaders at every level of command. But after a year of progressive, focused, and developmental collective training—based largely on the lessons of combat in World War II—these soldiers expected to defeat the Communist enemy. By recognizing the constraints under which the Eighth Army operated, Hanson asserts that scholars and soldiers will be able to discard what Douglas Macarthur called the "pernicious myth" of the Eighth Army's professional, physical, and moral ineffectiveness.
The Life and Times of Major General Henry C. Merriam, 1862-1901
During his thirty-eight-year career as a military officer, Henry Clay Merriam received the Medal of Honor for his service in the Civil War, rose to prominence in the Western army, and exerted significant influence on the American West by establishing military posts, protecting rail lines, and maintaining an uneasy peace between settlers and Indians. Historian Jack Stokes Ballard’s new study of Merriam’s life and career sheds light on the experience of the western fort builders, whose impact on the US westward expansion, though less dramatic, was just as lasting as that of Indian fighters such as Custer and Sheridan. Further, Merriam’s lengthy period in command of black troops offers a study in leadership and important understandings about the conditions under which African Americans served on the Western frontier. During the course of his service, Merriam crisscrossed the country, from Brownsville, Texas, to the Pacific Northwest and Vancouver Barracks, serving in eastern Washington, California, and Denver. Drawing extensively on the many letters and records associated with Merriam’s long army career, Ballard presents his service in a wide range of settings, many of which have become the stuff of Western history: from conflict with Mexican revolutionaries on the Rio Grande to the miners’ riots in Coeur d’Alene. Ballard’s careful research provides a vivid picture of the military’s role in the westward expansion.
A Comprehensive Manual
Landowners and managers, municipalities, the logging and livestock industries, and conservation professionals all increasingly recognize that setting prescribed fires may reduce the devastating effects of wildfire, control invasive brush and weeds, improve livestock range and health, maintain wildlife habitat, control parasites, manage forest lands, remove hazardous fuel in the wildland-urban interface, and create residential buffer zones. In this practical and helpful manual, John R. Weir, who has conducted more than 720 burns in four states, offers a step-by-step guide to the systematic application of burning to meet specific land management needs and goals.
Building the Hunley and Other Secret Weapons of the Civil War