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Lone Star: A History Of Texas And The Texans

4.19  ·  Rating Details ·  466 Ratings  ·  57 Reviews
Here is an up-to-the-moment history of the Lone Star State, together with an insider's look at the people, politics, and events that have shaped Texas from the beginning right up to our days. Never before has the story been told with more vitality and immediacy. Fehrenbach re-creates the Texas saga from prehistory to the Spanish and French invasions to the heyday of the co ...more
Paperback, 792 pages
Published April 7th 2000 by Da Capo Press (first published 1968)
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Apr 26, 2016 Matt rated it really liked it
Like Michener's novels, T.R. Fehrenbach starts at the beginning. I mean the beginning. As in the Ice Age. This makes Lone Star a broad, ambitious history, but also saps its strength towards the end. Up to and through the Civil War, there is a lot of great detail, fascinating personages, and rollicking stories. Then we get to the last couple hundred pages dealing with Texas in the 20th century and we get broad strokes, no personalities, and vague racism. (The book was originally written in 1968, ...more
Apr 13, 2011 Derek rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It only took me about 4 1/2 months, but I finally finished this mammoth book. At 750+ pages, sometimes I felt like I was reading War and Peace, but it hardly ever lagged, and was persistently well-written and informative.

Having moved to Texas a few years ago, this book answered many questions that I once had about this state and its inhabitants. Questions such as:

• Where did all of these street and city names come from? (Austin, Houston, Travis, Lamar, San Jacinto, etc.)
• Why are we supposed to
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Mar 16, 2016 Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance rated it really liked it
Shelves: west, travel
Lone Star is seven hundred sixty-seven pages of fascinating stories about Texas. It’s all here---the original peoples, the Spanish explorers, the Mexican settlers, the American settlers, the wars, and Texas as part of Mexico, Texas as an independent nation, and Texas as part of the United States. As I read along, I kept thinking how much reading these stories explains a lot about the way Texas is now---the conflicts on the border today mirroring conflicts on the border many years ago, the desire ...more
Scott Martin
Aug 17, 2011 Scott Martin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read the 2000 version. I had this book on the shelf for a long time, but finally got around to reading it. Relearned a few things long forgotten from 7th grade history and picked up some new facts. For this book, you can tell it was written by someone from Texas and the South. The American Civil War is always referred to as the War Between the States. His focus centers on the land and the role of land in Texas. Fehrenbach doesn't take the approach that Texas is the greatest land on earth, nor do ...more
Ayne Ray
Mar 02, 2010 Ayne Ray rated it really liked it
It can be argued that Austin is to Texas what Lawrence is to Kansas (for all my Kansas brethren, you know what I mean), and I’ll admit that I had many stereotypical ideas about Texas before I moved to its capitol city. But I’ve found it to be a truly unique state with a fascinating history, and Texans have a rather singularly deep appreciation for the sense of place and identity the state stamps upon its citizens. So forget what you think you know, and take a look at Texas with a pair of fresh e ...more
Dac Crossley
Sep 08, 2011 Dac Crossley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lone Star is an excellent history of the state of Texas. Fehrenbach was born in San Benito - has to know what he is talking about! He has written a dozen or so historical works, and was head of the Texas History Commission (I forget the exact title of the organization).

I read this book on my iPad. This is the 1968 edition, revised in 2002. Wish he would revise it again - he must be in his mid-eighties. I will keep it on my iPad because I'm sure to refer to it from time to time.

If you're going to
Nov 15, 2015 James rated it really liked it
As big and brutal as the land it's about, 'Lone Star' is a comprehensive, poetic history. Ferenbach shows centuries of violence, opines why they were inevitable and why many of the greatest of Texans were the most violent. No one comes off well, from the First Nations to the assorted Europeans who either betrayed them, failed them, or fell in war with them.

Did I say 'brutal?'

This book is worth reading, but not quick. Don't let the dated racial terminology throw you off. Read, review think for y
Apr 19, 2007 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Texophiles
Yikes! Seriously in-depth history of Texas. It took me like a year to read through the mission period, alone. Still, once you've slogged your way through a bit, you realize exactly how amazing Texas is. Umm, sorry to thse of you who think Texas is less than amazing. Read this, and maybe it will change your mind.
Alex T.
Dec 25, 2016 Alex T. rated it it was amazing
Lone Star is a great history, and not just of Texas - it taught me much about American culture as well. What sets it apart is it's focus on the broader political and social situations outside the state. For instance, when discussing the Scotch-Irish, Fehrenbach does not merely say "The Scotch-Irish came to Texas" but explains how their pattern of migration suited their restless temperament (having hopped from the borderlands to Ireland to America and finally the frontier), what differentiated th ...more
Dec 29, 2012 Rachel rated it really liked it
With so many friends I've come to know living in the great state of Texas I wanted to learn a bit more. Of course no children's-sized version would do for this head-strong girl, I dove right in. I approached this book knowing I just wanted to learn some new things about Texas. In no way did I expect to remember all the information I'd read.

I actually enjoyed this book, despite my sometimes grumbling about how long it was taking me (ended up being 7 months!) or something about the history I didn'
Oct 25, 2009 Graham rated it it was amazing
If you are new to Texas, or maybe not so new (it's been 15 years since moving to Austin from Chicago), this book can rid you of a great deal of naivete. Some things every Texan really should know:

Where and when did Native Americans begin using horses?
Empressarios such as Stephen F. Austin, who were they and what was their purpose?
What European country (other than Spain) had/has a dominant cultural influence in San Antonio and the Hill Country?
What popular sentiments caused Texas to secede from
Texas is a subject near and dear to my heart, as it is my chosen home. After decades of living and working in the high tech HQ, we chose to come to Texas when the Valley changed dramatically. We have been here a long time, and love everything about it, so when I saw this book, I jumped at the chance to read it. It was more than I hoped for.

Believe it, or not, it starts with the migration over the landbridge from Africa to North America. That was a lot earlier than I expected, but I kept reading.
Harvey Smith
Dec 23, 2014 Harvey Smith rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this comprehensive historical perspective of Texas, and the Texans. It started with ancient times when Amerinds came to settle the area, and ended with modern times.

Texas is a state unlike any other perhaps. They have a history of their own, one born of actively living on an unfriendly Indian frontier for generations.

Lots of informative explanations of how Mexicans migrated to the state, and didn't assimilate. That explains why today many Mexicans who have lived in Texas fo
Glen Robinson
Sep 07, 2013 Glen Robinson rated it it was amazing
I bought this book because after emigrating to Texas 15 years ago, I thought it was time to find out more about the state's history. I have always been fascinated with its early years and especially the settler's relationship with the Comanches. The book is hefty--almost 800 pages--and covers a lot, but doesn't cover everything. It didn't mention the hurricane that destroyed Galveston in 1900, and says nothing about Kennedy's assassination in Dallas. It does--to my joy--talk about the Battle of ...more
Feb 27, 2016 Ann rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, texas
Lone Star is a densely detailed history of Texas up to the late 20th century. Fehrenbach begins with native peoples before the arrival of the Spanish. He spends most of the book in the 19th century circling back and forth among national and state concerns and realities connecting well how majority attitudes and politics developed in the state in often striking juxtaposition to the nation. His presentation of the 20th century is sketchy with only broad strokes but perhaps he was too close to this ...more
Mark Myers
Jul 16, 2014 Mark Myers rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, texas
Very good survey history of Texas. Surveys usually tend to be dry and due to their broad nature only give a superficial history at best. Fehrenbach does a good job of keeping it interesting by delving into specific stories at points to highlight an era. He does tend to gloss over major events, the Alamo, San Jacinto, etc. in favor of "previous writers have given good coverage" or "much has been written previously" but that's the nature of a survey. All in all a good general book about Texas hist ...more
Jun 28, 2013 Michiel rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Texans or future residents of the state
Recommended to Michiel by: Book Lust
Shelves: non-fiction, texas
I'm giving this 4 stars because it's a readable history of a huge subject. However, smaller bits are done better in other books.

Where Fehrenbach shines is in the parts about the Indians. He knows his stuff and presents it well. He makes me want to dig deeper. Where things got laggy was during the Civil War, and the blow-by-blow of border wars with Mexico.

One thing about Fehrenbach, he is Texan and is unapologetic of putting things forward from a Texan's perspective. His book gave me a new perspe
Laura Finger
Jul 13, 2013 Laura Finger rated it really liked it
I was really spoiled when it came to learning Texas history. Unlike most people, I first encountered Texas history by reading original documents in Houston, Galveston and Austin. Now that I'm a Texile, I've started looking at secondary sources.

I have a graduate degree in History, and I take any scholar's work with a grain of salt. This is a great addition to Texas history.

I read it as an e-book, which turned out to be really stupid decision on my part. The long blocks of texts are difficult to
Feb 25, 2008 Megan rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
I wish I could give this book 3.5 stars. It was not mediocre, so I couldn't give it three stars. For a 700 page history book it keeps you engaged, but being history it sometimes is hard to get through. I feel like I know more about Texas history now (which was my goal) and have a better sense of some of the attitudes me and my compadres have there that seem foreign to people in other parts of the country. I don't agree with all the things the writer says, but overall I'm glad to have read this b ...more
Tom McKone
Oct 12, 2010 Tom McKone rated it it was amazing
Very enjoyable book on Texas.
Almost finished.
If you want to know how history and culture effects the milieu of the people around you and why things are the way they are then this is a very good read. It is a good read on its own.
I guess I have always taken being a Texan for granted but now I want a stetson, a pair of black boots and a Colt 45. Since I am afraid of horses I guess I'll just look the simpleton I am walking down the streets of Oxford meting out justice as I see fit.
Oct 04, 2015 Vanjr rated it it was ok
Shelves: history
Reading this book is like listening to your favorite football team or baseball team's radio broadcast. If you are not bothered by the "homer" perspective of the broadcaster it is great. A little more objective perspective may be nice if you are not a fan of that team.
TR Fehrenbach is a Texas homer. So if you have lived your whole life in Texas and love the state like it if heaven on earth you will love this book.
Nov 08, 2014 Petesea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must read for every Texan! This is a very detailed history of the great state of Texas with wonderful stories about its founding and preservation. The narrative can be circular and redundant at times though I appreciated the fact that I had to use a dictionary to look up many new words. Like most history books, I wish that they included more maps so one can get a feel for where the geography that is being discussed is.
Terry Tucker
Nov 13, 2015 Terry Tucker rated it really liked it
I read the original, and then just recently read the updated version. The book is a Tome. The ancient history is a bit boring, but once it moves into the era of Spanish Exploration it starts to move along.

This book is a most comprehensive history of Texas and Texans. It is filled with a lot of insight. He details the emergence of the republic, its consequent involvement in the Civil War, its readmission to the Union and destroys myths along the way.

Wicked Incognito Now
Jun 28, 2012 Wicked Incognito Now marked it as dnf-meh-i-m-just-not-that-into-you  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I started reading this to beef up on my Texas history knowledge because I was moving to Texas and about to take the social studies teacher certification test. However, we are no longer moving to Texas, so I don't feel an immediate need to know all about Texas history.

This is well-written though, and I will probably revisit it in the future when I'm more in the mood for some Texas history non-fiction.
Aug 03, 2013 Mary rated it really liked it
Finally finished this wonderful book. Imbed the way he told us how the people felt and thought about how they were treated, their misfortunes and the land they conquered. As a fifth generation Texan, I think he is pretty "spot on".

Sometimes it was hard to make it through all the political stuff.
Ann Holland
Aug 30, 2015 Ann Holland rated it it was amazing
Caveat: I did not finish this book. Not because of the book, but because I ran out of time. It's quite a tome at over 700 pages, but is a wonderful survey of the history of Texas. It is well-written and full of information about the early history of Texas, in particular. Could serve as a textbook. Highly recommended to those interested in American history, and especially the history of Texas.
Well-organized, and his writing is often vivid. But too often he lapses into generalizations and speculations about what people thought or felt. He loves Texas legends a bit too much for my taste, and his attitude toward minorities is condescending. Still, as a survey of Texas history, this book is valuable.
Aug 18, 2014 Michael rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
I have lived in Texas most of my life and finally this book explained it to me. Fehrenbach not only tells the history of Texas but explains the character of Texas and Texans. This book should be the textbook in public school Texas History classes. He is partial to Texans being one himself, but he is very thorough and even-handed. An excellent book.
Jim Barrett
Very detailed and often engaging. However, as the author got into the 20th Century, he used too many sweeping generalizations of what Texans were and how they felt. I also would have liked a little more on the development of the big cities. That aside, it gave me what I, as a recent transplant to Texas, was looking for - a good history of the state.
John Hill
Dec 05, 2014 John Hill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this to be a really enjoyable read on the history of Texas. Fehrenbach does a good job of painting very broad strokes of Texas history while simultaneously being able to zero in on specific moments. I particularly enjoyed the chapters on the pre-historic nature of Texas as this was an area of Texas history I was relatively unfamiliar with.
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Theodore Reed Fehrenbach, Jr. was an American historian, columnist, and the former head of the Texas Historical Commission (1987-1991). He graduated from Princeton University in 1947, and had published more than twenty books, including the best seller Lone Star: A History of Texas and Texans and This Kind of War, about the Korean War.

Although he served as a U.S. Army officer during the Korean War,
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“Texas was where the action was. It became a lodestar, pulling an enormous number of the men—Sam Houston, Davy Crockett, James Bowie, and others—who were already in some way legends on the old frontier. As one historian wrote, Texas seemed to cast some sort of spell, to make men who were cold, pragmatic, and opportunist in the main, want to go and die.” 1 likes
“Travis no longer expected rescue. He wrote, apparently, to stir his countrymen into action, that the country might be saved:   . . . I shall have to fight the enemy on his own terms. I will . . . do the best I can . . . the victory will cost the enemy so dear, that it will be worse for him than defeat. I hope your honorable body will hasten reinforcements. . . . Our supply of ammunition is limited. . . . God and Texas. Victory or Death.” 0 likes
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