The Texas Rangers, Volume One: Wearing the Cinco Peso 1821-1900 by Mike Cox, New York, Forge, 2008, 492pp; finished 4/9/9; rated 10.

Ever since I was a kid I have had a fascination with the Texas Rangers (the law enforcers, not the baseball team). Mike Cox does a wonderful job recounting the story of their establishment by Stephen F. Austin, their role in the Texas republic, and later in the state of Texas. He details, with many well researched and fast paced stories, their role as Indian fighters, quasi-military frontier protectors, and shows how later they morphed into a law enforcement arm of the government who spent most of their time trying to keep the peace (particularly “out west”) and corral the criminals who were making mischief in the developing state.

The book is thoroughly documented and does a splendid job of combining the details of politics and history with many tales of hair-raising shoot outs, battles and bravado. The second volume is slated to be released in August this year (which will cover 1900 to the present), and I am looking forward to reading it too. If you’re interested in Texas history, this is a keeper.


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