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Lone Star: A History of Texas and the Texans

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  692 ratings  ·  78 reviews
T.R. Fehrenbach is a native Texan, military historian and the author of several important books about the region, but none as significant as this work, arguably the best single volume about Texas ever published. His account of America's most turbulent state offers a view that only an insider could capture. From the native tribes who lived there to the Spanish and French so ...more
Kindle Edition
Published April 1st 2014 by Open Road Media (first published 1968)
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Average rating 4.22  · 
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 ·  692 ratings  ·  78 reviews

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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, but updated in ...more
Dec 21, 2010 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.)
Jul 15, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Book Challenge Category: A Book With More Than 800 Pages

I love Texas. I love the land and the people. But, it is also important to face the uncomfortable parts of our history-- honestly and forthrightly. But this book is not one to do this.

I love the descriptions and personalizations of Austin and Houston. And the level of detail in this book gives so much more context than my Texas History books in school. But, I have no patience for sympathy towards slavery, demonization of Native
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Sep 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel, west, texas
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
Alexander Debkaliuk
Sep 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
Enjoyed the book thoroughly. Great way to quench my sudden thirst for Texas history and general interest in US history.

Author brings together global and local perspectives, tackles the complete history of the region, down to late 20th century; small details of day-to-day lives, high-level impact on US (incl. Americas, world) history and politics, describes the spirit, mind and thinking of Texans, all in a well balanced (to my taste) mix of 'interesting' and 'comprehensive'.
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, non-fiction
Learn the fascinating history of Texas.
Scott Martin
Aug 17, 2011 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
Feb 21, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dac Crossley
Sep 08, 2011 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.
Michael Holm
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.
Apr 19, 2007 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.
Jun 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Overall this is a solid history of Texas, written by one of the major Texas historians, and certainly worthwhile for anyone interested in the subject. It is highly readable, but I found that I could go back and forth from it, read lots of things at the same time.
The history I will endorse, but what is interesting to write about is his take on Texans, and Anglo-Americans, vis a vis American Indians, Mexicans and Latinos, and African-Americans. He has one line that utterly struck me - "The t
Jo Stafford
I did not find Lone Star an easy book to read. This had nothing to do with its length and everything to do with Fehrenbach's frequent editorializing and his attitudes towards Native Americans, African Americans, and Mexicans. I understand that Texas is unique but I tired of reading that there was so much about the state and its frontier conditions that Easterners did not comprehend.

Fehrenbach's racial terminology leaves a lot to be desired. I kept reminding myself that the book was f
Chris M
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Dated but THE history of Texas to 1969

While the authors racial terminology and attitudes can at times sound off or objectionable to the modern ear, his history is excellent an deeply researched. The author’s the prose is profound and melodies, and the scope of the book gives just enough detail to give the reader a good sense of the profoundly unique place that is Texas and the men and women who from its prehistory made it.
Aug 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is about a lot more than Texas. Fehrenbach tells a history of colonization in North America from about 1500 onward. The emphasis on Texas is interesting because it was a boundary area where Spanish, Anglo-Celtic, and Amerind cultures fought it out (not being a history buff, this book gave me a much better understanding of terms like Amerind and Anglo-Celtic). All the races had strengths, made mistakes, and had the great courage required to live on a frontier. All the people lived in an ...more
Houston B
Texas, Our Texas! all hail the mighty State!
Texas, Our Texas! so wonderful so great!

While I am aware Texas isn't perfect, I'm very thankful to call it home and to be a 7th Generation Texan. While James Power wasn't the most influential Texan, I'm proud to call him family.

Very interesting history of my unique state.
C Settles
Dec 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent history of Texas. Should be a required reading for any student of Texas history. Particularly interesting were the sections on the early settling of Texas, the Texas Rangers and Texas involvement in the Civil War.
Lots of good history about Texas, but a lot of racism as well. Lots of referring to black people as "negroes" and by the n-word as well as referring to Native Americans as "barbarians" and saying that black people in Texas were "racist". Otherwise, a good historical overview of Texas.
Pat Rolston
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the definitive history of Texas done in a manner befitting the expansive time and terrain. TR writes in entertaining and colorful fashion putting over 50,000 years in context. The history of not only Texas, but also the nation is much enhanced as a result of this magisterial work.
Charles Hall III
Apr 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Comprehensive. From pre-human to nearly current, Fehrenbach covers Texas completely. This is a good book, and written with clear affinity for the Texas mystique and ethos; a must read for any Texan.
David Freeman
Dec 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a native Texan this book has reinforced and challenged many of my beliefs, thoughts and understanding of the history of my home.
Jul 08, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 stars for content. But this was a challenging read.
Tracie Sneed
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this one while living in San Antonio. Great Read
Kenneth Leitch
Nov 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Good history of Texas

This is a good history of Texas. Consider reading it, especially if you grew up in the Lone Star State.
Mark Greathouse
May 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Superb history of Texas
Bryan Alkire
Feb 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent history of Texas
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 his
Jul 20, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, nonfiction, texas
So, this is an incredibly thorough history, and I felt I learned a while lot about Texas history that I never knew. It's an educational and engrossing read. When it sticks to the facts of history, it's very enlightening and fun. It's when the author editorializes at length that things get a little sticky.

The author, writing in the time he was (1968), clearly has a certain perspective on events that clashed with mine. He obviously romanticizes the "frontier" (and the accompanying impe
Jan 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 caus
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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 Wa
“As a construct, history is too often revised to match contemporary views. It has been said that each generation must rewrite history in order to understand it. The opposite is true. Moderns revise history to make it palatable, not to understand it. Those who edit “history” to popular taste each decade will never understand the past—neither the horrors nor glories of which the human race is equally capable—and for that reason, they will fail to understand themselves.” 2 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.” 1 likes
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