Only slightly newer than a brush-scarred Winchester Model 1895 with a rusty barrel, the concept of “One Ranger, One Riot” sure doesn’t hold when it comes to books about the Texas Rangers.
In little more than a year, eight non-fiction books dealing with individual Rangers or general Ranger history have been published. For serious collectors, genealogy buffs or those who simply enjoy reading about the Rangers from the days of the Wild West to modern times, here’s a round up of the latest additions to the Ranger bibliography:
Lawmen on the
This well-researched book shows that law enforcement tends to run in families, particularly the Jones family of
One of the “four great captains” as proclaimed by former Adjutant General W.W. Sterling, Brooks transitioned from brush country Ranger commander to legislator to judge of the
Unbridled Cowboy: Joseph B. Fussell, edited by E.R. Fussell. (
For Ranger history aficionados, this is a book best not judged by its title. Texan Joe Fussell ran away from home as a teenager and made his living primarily as a cowpuncher before becoming a career railroad man. In between, sometime after 1903, he worked for Capt. W.J. McDonald as an undercover Ranger to ferret out cattle rustlers.
Though not a Ranger when he did it, he rode alone into
Having been invited to read this book before publication, I was asked to write a blurb for it. I happily did and will repeat what I said: “This is one of the most compelling memoirs I have ever read. Portions of the book, particularly [Fussell’s] sanguinary trip to Old Mexico, read like something from a Larry McMurtry novel.”
Captain Ransom, Texas Ranger: An American Hero, 1874-1918 by Pat Goodrich. (
Law on the Last Frontier: Texas Ranger Arthur Hill by S.E. Spinks. (
Hill became a Ranger in 1947 when Col. Homer Garrison headed the Department of Public Safety and served until he retired in 1974. With the exception of a brief stint as sergeant of Company B in
I got to know Hill when I worked as a reporter for the San Angelo Standard-Times in the 1960s. One day in 1968 my editor dispatched me to Eldorado to cover an outbreak of oilfield vandalism connected to a labor dispute. When I got there, I found Hill and Ranger A.Y. Allee Jr., who worked out of Ozona. When I jokingly asked Allee why it took two Rangers for just one oilfield “riot,” he said, “Arthur’s here for the riot, I’m here to keep my eye on you.”
While that’s one incident not included in Spinks’ book, just about every other aspect of Hill’s long career is covered in this well-done biography.
One Ranger Returns by Joaquin Jackson with James L. Haley. (
Finally, two general histories of the Rangers have been published:
Lone Star Lawmen: The Second Century of the
This is the second volume of former National Park Service historian Utley’s scholarly, no-punches-pulled history of the Rangers. In this volume, he takes the Ranger story to the turn of the 21st century. Like its predecessor, the book is well-researched. He calls it as he sees it.
I won’t stoop to review my own book, but I’m not above plugging it. Let’s just say it’s gotten good reviews from readers more objective than the author. I’m putting the final touches on the second volume, which will carry the history of the Rangers through the creation of the new Company G along the lower