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20ogBook Reviews127 through the era of the Republic, the Texas Rangers evolved through several stages of incubation. There is a contingent of early Texas historians who continue to debate exacdy when and where and who the "first" Texas Rangers may have been—some suggest 1823, 1836, or 1846 or even 1874; here Cox is refreshingly able to include all of them in the narrative without having to decide on one or the other as the "real" date. And it is forgivable for Cox to quote extensively from Wilbarger's old-fashioned Indian Depredations in Texas early on; Wilbarger's book is, after all, good storytelling if not the best of accurate, objective history (where Indians and Mexicans were considered the intruders). In 1874 the Texas legislature created what became known as the Frontier Battalion of the Texas Rangers. Its broader responsibilities necessitated a larger force of men who were well organized and vested with nearly unimpeachable authority to enforce the law as they saw fit. A budget leveled at a remarkable (for that period) $300,000 provided die material support for a more permanent agency than had existed heretofore. Cox enthralls the reader with a dashing narrative through late nineteenthcentury Texas expansion, as MajorJohn B. Jones—who still does not have a biography worthy of his exploits—and the Frontier Battalion alternately chased Comanche and crook across the twenty-eighth state of the Union. In the 1890s, the Rangers and their growing reputation were threatened with possible extinction , not from bandits and the American Indian, but from a sense of their having outlived their usefulness, and their being tied to a fading, though glorious, past. As the legislature seriously considered shutting down the law enforcement agency, the blossoming leadership of Adjutant Generals W. H. Mabry and Thomas Scurry, and Ranger Captains Rogers, Brooks, McDonald, and Hughes rescued the battalion from a near-certain demise, positioning it instead for yet another rebirth as the Ranger Force at the dawning of the twentieth century. Mike Cox spins a great yarn without succumbing to casual campfire chatter or the informal lingo that can often spoil a really good story, which this one is. Although he may not have blazed new ground with his Cinco Peso narrative, this version of the history of the Texas Rangers is eminently readable, nicely interwoven like that horsehair quirt, and worth having on an already crowded book shelf. Wharton CountyJunior CollegePaul N. Spellman Fugitive landscapes: The Forgotten History of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands. By Samuel Truett. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006. Pp. 272. Illustrations, maps, notes, bibliography, index. ISBN 9780300143317, $22.00 paper.) In this welcome addition to borderlands history, Samuel Truett examines the history of the Arizona-Sonora border between the United States and Mexico from the colonial period to the first two decades of the twentieth century. Drawing upon what German geographer Alexander von Humboldt described as a "fugitive landscape," Truett explains that his goal "is to understand how the best-laid plans of states, entrepreneurs, and corporations repeatedly ran aground 128Southwestern Historical QuarterlyJuly in fugitive landscapes of subaltern power" (9). Divided into three parts, Truett tells the history of this lost world in an attempt "to reconstitute the historical tissue that connects the U.S. and Mexican past" (9). Truett begins his narrative by introducing ethnographerJohn Russell Bartlett and his 1854 survey of the newly constituted border between the United States and Mexico. Bardett found a nearly empty wilderness dotted by the remnants of its Spanish colonial past. From here, Truett follows the repetitive historical pattern of the region. First, SpanishJesuits and military governors claimed the land away from the native peoples (Opata, Yaqui, and Apache) in the sixteenth century . Failing to maintain their tentative grasp on the region, the Spanish slowly faded away while native peoples and nature reclaimed the land. In part two, capital interests replace colonial endeavors as various capitalists and entrepreneurs infiltrated the Arizona-Sonora region shortly before and during the U.S. Civil War. Among these new dreamers were a Kentuckian, a German, Mexican laborers and merchants, and William E. Dodge Jr., who would establish the Phelps Dodge mining company in the area, the cornerstone of a growing...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1558-9560
Print ISSN
0038-478X
Pages
pp. 127-128
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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