Review of Time of the Rangers by Mike Cox
Review by K. K. Searle
Like the Alamo, the Texas Rangers are a cherished symbol of the Lone Star State recognized the world over. If you are a fan of the Texas Rangers, like we are, and want to read an excellent history of that world famous law enforcement organization, you can't go wrong with Mike Cox's new book, Time of the Rangers: From 1900 to Present.
In 2008, Mike Cox brought us the first of two books he's written about the Texas Rangers. His first book appropriately titled The Texas Rangers: Wearing the Cinco Peso, 1821 - 1900 presented the well researched and detailed history of the Texas Rangers from the time of its creation in Stephen F. Austin's colony prior to the Republic of Texas until 1900.
The first real in-depth history of the Texas Rangers was written by Dr. Walter Prescott Webb and published in 1935. Webb's classic was titled The Texas Rangers: A Century of Frontier Defense. As Mike Cox points out in his excellent new book, Webb had intended to update his 1935 classic in the 1960's, but died in an automobile accident before he got the chance. Cox's new book, Time of the Rangers: Texas Rangers: From 1900 to Present, does what Walter Prescott Webb never got the chance to do; complete the history of the Texas Rangers into the modern era.
This book is incredibly well researched. Cox is something of an insider having served for fifteen years as a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety. The Texas Rangers are part of the Texas Department of Public Safety. A ton of research went into this book. For the historical purist, Time of the Rangers has almost 100 pages of Notes and Bibliography. This book is destined to become the starting point for all future historians studying this period in Texas Ranger history.
But, if your not that into historical research, don't let this assessment put you off. As famed American historian David C. McCullough once put it, "No harm's done to history by making it something someone would want to read." Mike Cox has made Time of the Rangers something a whole lot of people will enjoy reading. He is a very interesting and entertaining writer. There is also a lot here for those who are looking for the heroic bigger than life Texas Rangers.
You might think that once the Rangers entered the 20th century that that might have been the end of the romance and adventure we have come to perceive about the Texas Rangers, but you would be wrong. The book begins with the Rangers still on horse back in 1900 and takes you to how they became one of the most modern and best trained law enforcement agencies in the world. From the rowdy oil field boom days to the killing of Bonnie and Clyde to the Carrasco prison escape attempt to the apprehension of rail-road killer, Rafael Resendez-Ramirez; the Texas Rangers have protected and are still protecting Texas and Texans from the bad guys. There is a whole lot of wonderful information in this book.
Another interesting aspect of Mike Cox's new book is that while he is relating the actual history of the Texas Rangers, he also reports how the public's perception of the Texas Rangers has been enhanced and romanticized even further by decades of different types of media including newspapers, books, magazines, radio shows, movies and television shows. A few familiar examples include The Lone Ranger; Walker, Texas Ranger and Lonesome Dove.
With his two books, Cox has become, without question, "the authority" with regard to the history of the Texas Rangers from its beginning to the present. Webb's book will always be popular for its heroic account of the early history of the Texas Rangers, but Cox's two books will be studied for their accuracy and balanced portrayal.
Christmas is coming. Get this one for yourself or the Texas history enthusiast in your family. You might also consider getting the first book, The Texas Rangers: Wearing the Cinco Peso, 1821-1900, so you will have the the most complete history of the Texas Rangers currently available.
Time of the Rangers: Texas Rangers: From 1900 to the Present is published by Forge, copyright 2009, and is available from Amazon.com.