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Men Who Wear the Star by Charles M. ROBINSON

Men Who Wear the Star (edition 2000)

by Charles M. ROBINSON

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783154,388 (3)1
Title:Men Who Wear the Star
Authors:Charles M. ROBINSON
Info:see notes for publisher info (2000), Edition: BOMC, Hardcover
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The Men Who Wear the Star: The Story of the Texas Rangers by Charles M. Robinson III



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Drawn out, somewhat boring...not much excitement in this book. Each chapter seemed to eventually just devolve into the same as the prior one...rangers go after Indians...Indians slaughter settlers...border war here...border war there...perhaps that's the way it was but it could have been told in a short story rather than a 400 page book. ( )
  highlander6022 | Mar 16, 2016 |
Now, I know what everyone is saying, “Oh no, not another book about Rangers.” But let me tell you, this is a book that has something going for it. Robinson has written a tale that captures the true feeling of the Rangers without becoming so enamored with them that he glosses over the less tasteful parts of their history. In the process, he also addresses eras of Ranger history not usually covered.

Robinson, who has written other books on Texas subjects, has crafted a fine, easily tackled book on the Rangers from the era when they were minutemen on horses to the days when they finally became a professional police agency. The book starts with the description of the first rangers (note the lower case ‘r’) of the empresario days. These settlers cum soldiers rode when called for little if any pay and about as much logistical support. This lack of money and supply seems to be as much of a hallmark of Ranger service as the Colt revolver of later years. Robinson’s tales of these days are well researched and heavily footnoted.

The book is hyped to include the Civil War and post-bellum eras of the Rangers, but I was disappointed with Robinson’s effort in this area. The Civil War era was especially sparse. It seems that nothing happened during those four years that was worth much telling. Perhaps this is because it was only four years, but maybe I was hoping for too much. The post-bellum era was better treated with various tales such as that of Dan Stuart’s Fistic Carnival (an early prize fight) which occurred near Judge Roy Bean’s saloon. The failings of the Rangers under Pa Ferguson and other cronyistic governors was also well treated.

One part of the book I particularly looked forward to was the treatment of the bad men in Texas in the late 1800s. The “Big Four,” as Robinson names them, included Sam Bass, John Wesley Hardin, John King Fisher, and Ben Thompson. After good discussions on Bass, Hardin, and Fisher and their demises, Robinson inexplicably simply notes Thompson’s death in passing. I was baffled and a bit disappointed.

However, the book as a whole was well written and definitely well-documented. ( )
  devilyack | Aug 22, 2008 |
As a casual read or an introduction to the complicated history and politics surrounding the Texas Rangers, this book is a good place to begin. It provides an excellent overview of the political and social climate which produced the Texas Rangers and gave them their reputation. The accounts are written in an entertaining manner with the casual reader in mind.

For those genuinely interested in the history of this law enforcment unit, however, or those who demand accurate scholarship this book fails utterly. Robinson often does not cite his resources in the text, though he does have a bibliography. It is nearly impossible to tell where the author's interpetations and opinions begin and the historical documentation ends. Much of the book is secondhand summary bordering on plagiarism. Those who have read the works of Prescott-Webb will readily recognize such passages.

Robinson also makes the mistake of attempting to apply a modern perspective to the social problems of the era. He is extremely critical of the actions of the frontier folk in general and the Texas Rangers in particular. Often his accounts leave out the reasons behind such actions and he fails to state that even actions which today would be considered extreme were in accordance with the times and the conditions found on the Texas frontier and elsewhere. It is important to note that modern ethics simply cannot be applied to these conditions. Robinson fails to note that just as he fails to note when he is interjecting his own opinion. ( )
  tygermoonfoxx | Oct 10, 2006 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 067945649X, Hardcover)

Predating the entry of Texas into the United States, the Texas Rangers came into being as a ragtag outfit of frontiersmen who battled a host of enemies, from Mexican soldiers to Comanche Indians to Anglo outlaws, and who were not often scrupulous about method--or the niceties of law. The Rangers were a controversial instrument of state justice throughout the 19th century, taming the frontier and borderlands with a hail of bullets and sometimes acting as little more than what historian Charles M. Robinson calls "officially sanctioned lynch mobs" with an unfortunate habit of singling out nonwhite Texans for punishment.

Even with their sometimes flawed conception of right and wrong, the Rangers earned widespread fame a century and more ago for conducting well-publicized campaigns against such desperadoes as Sam Bass, John Wesley Hardin, and John Selman. Less inclined to seek the spotlight today, the Texas Rangers still operate as an effective law-enforcement unit. In 1997, for example, they figured prominently in the surrender of self-styled "ambassador of the Republic of Texas" Richard McLaren. Robinson examines the checkered career of the Rangers, acknowledging the organization's darker moments while maintaining that the lawmen also did much to lessen violence in a markedly violent time and place. He approvingly cites a Ranger saying of long ago: "No man in the wrong can stand up against a fellow that's in the right and keeps on a-comin'." --Gregory McNamee

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:15 -0400)

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