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Cult of Glory: The Bold and Brutal History of the Texas Rangers
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Penguin Publishing Group 2020
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"Swanson has done a crucial public service by exposing the barbarous side of the Rangers." —The New York Times Book ReviewA twenty-first century reckoning with the legendary Texas Rangers that does justice to their heroic moments while also documenting atrocities, brutality, oppression, and corruptionThe Texas Rangers came to life in 1823, when Texas was still part of Mexico. Nearly 200 years later, the Rangers are still going—one of the most famous of all law enforcement agencies. In Cult of Glory, Doug J. Swanson has written a sweeping account of the Rangers that chronicles their epic, daring escapades while showing how the white and propertied power structures of Texas used them as enforcers, protectors and officially sanctioned killers.Cult of Glory begins with the Rangers' emergence as conquerors of the wild and violent Texas frontier. They fought the fierce Comanches, chased outlaws, and served in the U.S. Army during the Mexican War. As Texas developed, the Rangers were called upon to catch rustlers, tame oil boomtowns, and patrol the perilous Texas-Mexico border. In the 1930s they began their transformation into a professionally trained police force. Countless movies, television shows, and pulp novels have celebrated the Rangers as Wild West supermen. In many cases, they deserve their plaudits. But often the truth has been obliterated. Swanson demonstrates how the Rangers and their supporters have operated a propaganda machine that turned agency disasters and misdeeds into fables of triumph, transformed murderous rampages—including the killing of scores of Mexican civilians—into valorous feats, and elevated scoundrels to sainthood. Cult of Glory sets the record straight.Beginning with the Texas Indian wars, Cult of Glory embraces the great, majestic arc of Lone Star history. It tells of border battles, range disputes, gunslingers, massacres, slavery, political intrigue, race riots, labor strife, and the dangerous lure of celebrity. And it reveals how legends of the American West—the real and the false—are truly made.
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
06/09/2020
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781101979884
ASIN:
B0818ZGD74
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Doug J. Swanson. (2020). Cult of Glory: The Bold and Brutal History of the Texas Rangers. Penguin Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Doug J. Swanson. 2020. Cult of Glory: The Bold and Brutal History of the Texas Rangers. Penguin Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Doug J. Swanson, Cult of Glory: The Bold and Brutal History of the Texas Rangers. Penguin Publishing Group, 2020.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Doug J. Swanson. Cult of Glory: The Bold and Brutal History of the Texas Rangers. Penguin Publishing Group, 2020. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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"Swanson has done a crucial public service by exposing the barbarous side of the Rangers." —The New York Times Book Review
A twenty-first century reckoning with the legendary Texas Rangers that does justice to their heroic moments while also documenting atrocities, brutality, oppression, and corruption

The Texas Rangers came to life in 1823, when Texas was still part of Mexico. Nearly 200 years later, the Rangers are still going—one of the most famous of all law enforcement agencies. In Cult of Glory, Doug J. Swanson has written a sweeping account of the Rangers that chronicles their epic, daring escapades while showing how the white and propertied power structures of Texas used them as enforcers, protectors and officially sanctioned killers.
Cult of Glory begins with the Rangers' emergence as conquerors of the wild and violent Texas frontier. They fought the fierce Comanches, chased outlaws, and served in the U.S. Army during the Mexican War. As Texas developed, the Rangers were called upon to catch rustlers, tame oil boomtowns, and patrol the perilous Texas-Mexico border. In the 1930s they began their transformation into a professionally trained police force.
Countless movies, television shows, and pulp novels have celebrated the Rangers as Wild West supermen. In many cases, they deserve their plaudits. But often the truth has been obliterated. Swanson demonstrates how the Rangers and their supporters have operated a propaganda machine that turned agency disasters and misdeeds into fables of triumph, transformed murderous rampages—including the killing of scores of Mexican civilians—into valorous feats, and elevated scoundrels to sainthood. Cult of Glory sets the record straight.
Beginning with the Texas Indian wars, Cult of Glory embraces the great, majestic arc of Lone Star history. It tells of border battles, range disputes, gunslingers, massacres, slavery, political intrigue, race riots, labor strife, and the dangerous lure of celebrity. And it reveals how legends of the American West—the real and the false—are truly made.
reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        May 1, 2020
        A comprehensive account of the Texas Rangers, perhaps the most storied police force in American history. There's Walker, Texas Ranger, and then there's The Lone Ranger, the latter recounting "a crime-fighting career that spanned almost ninety years." There are Lonesome Dove and many an oater. Celebrated in popular culture very nearly from the beginnings of the organization almost 200 years ago, the Texas Rangers have always been a small outfit with an oversized image. Even today, writes former Dallas Morning News reporter Swanson, now a journalist professor at the University of Pittsburgh, there are only some 160 Rangers on active duty in a state of 29 million people. In the force's early days, most of their work involved fighting the Natives, and the legacy of conflict between the group and non-Anglos is strong. The author points out that it was only in 1969 that an officer of Hispanic descent was admitted, and more than two decades would pass before an African American was allowed into the service. That legacy includes, in recent history, the use of the Rangers to break up a strike of Hispanic farmworkers, a cloud on a reputation already marked by episodes of violence. Still, as Swanson writes--after recounting tales ranging from Ranger incursions into Mexico to the successful hunt for outlaws Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker--the force is slightly more representative of Texas' population today, with about a quarter of its number representing ethnic minorities, and all now recruited from the state's highway patrol. "The perils have dwindled in the modern era--no one is pulling Comanche arrows from their foreheads anymore--but the job still carries risks," Swanson concludes. His narrative is a touch too long and sometimes repetitive but understandably so, given the big story he has to tell, expanding on, updating, and sometimes correcting works by writers such as Walter Prescott Webb and John Boessenecker. Revisionist history done well, if not likely to please Chuck Norris die-hards.

        COPYRIGHT(2020) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        May 18, 2020
        Journalist Swanson (Blood Aces) traces the history of the Texas Rangers from 1823 to the present day in this exhaustive, myth-busting exposé. Originating in a 10-man volunteer squad raised to protect the first American settlers in the Mexican territory of Texas, the Rangers, according to Swanson, “functioned as executioners” whose “job was to seize and hold Texas for the white man.” He documents clashes with Cherokees and Comanches, and claims that early-20th-century Rangers slaughtered innocent Mexicans and Tejanos and enforced school segregation. In the 1980s, Swanson writes, shoddy investigative methods and a hunger to enhance their reputation led the Rangers to accept—and widely promote—convicted killer Henry Lee Lucas’s false confessions to more than 200 murders across America. Though some contemporary Rangers, including Brandon Bess, who helped to crack a 31-year-old East Texas murder case in 2019 and carries a pistol engraved by state prisoners, embody the agency’s traditional image, Swanson points out that others have been tasked with such inconsequential matters as a three-month investigation into a missing mini-fridge. With copious research and a flair for the melodramatic, Swanson reveals that this famed law enforcement agency’s greatest achievement may be in public relations. This boldly revisionist account takes no prisoners. Agent: David Patterson, Stuart Krichevsky Literary Agency.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        Starred review from June 1, 2020

        The heroic history of the Texas Rangers has, in popular memory at least, gone largely unchallenged. Investigative journalist Swanson (Blood Acres) uncovers the mythmaking that provided three centuries of adventure stories, from dime novels to the 1990s TV series Walker, Texas Ranger. Swanson's detailed account, the bulk of which focuses on the 19th century, unmasks underlying, often racially motivated violence and criminality. From the years of the Republic of Texas through the Mexican-American War, the early Rangers operated as a paramilitary organization with little consequence or oversight. An exemplary story in Swanson's deconstruction is that of Leander McNelly, who massacred dozens of Mexicans over suspected theft of Texan cows. Evidence suggests the mass killing accomplished little but to repatriate wandering cattle. Decades later, Napoleon Augustus Jennings found his fortune transforming McNelly's massacre into a heroic narrative. Swanson is adept at holding readers' interest in a sweeping narrative, all the while allowing a nuanced understanding of these myths. The book loses some momentum in the final chapters in telling 20th-century history; by then the myths were ingrained in public imagination. VERDICT In an era in which some desire a return to a perceived greatness, books like this remind us greatness is often reliant on the selective memory of storytellers.--Bart Everts, Rutgers Univ.-Camden Lib., NJ

        Copyright 2020 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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shortDescription
A twenty-first century reckoning with the legendary Texas Rangers that does justice to their heroic moments while also documenting atrocities, brutality, oppression, and corruption
The Texas Rangers came to life in 1823, when Texas was still part of Mexico. Nearly 200 years later, the Rangers are still going—one of the most famous of all law enforcement agencies. In Cult of Glory, Doug J. Swanson has written a sweeping account of the Rangers that chronicles their epic, daring escapades while showing how the white and propertied power structures of Texas used them as enforcers, protectors and officially sanctioned killers.
Cult of Glory begins with the Rangers' emergence as conquerors of the wild and violent Texas frontier. They fought the fierce Comanches, chased outlaws, and served in the U.S. Army during the Mexican War. As Texas developed, the Rangers were called upon to catch rustlers, tame oil boomtowns, and patrol the perilous...
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