Cult of Glory: The Bold and Brutal History of the Texas Rangers

Doug J. Swanson. Viking, $28 (480) ISBN 978-1-101-97986-0
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. (June)
Reviewed on : 04/30/2020
Release date: 06/09/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Book - 1 pages - 978-1-101-97988-4
Compact Disc - 978-0-14-752313-6
Paperback - 480 pages - 978-1-101-97987-7
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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