Kings of Texas: The 150-Year Saga of an American Ranching Empire Hardcover – Dec 1 2002
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""is the right man for the task of chronicling this Jonesian expanse of archetypal Texana...a pleasure to read"". (Austin American-Statesman, January 19, 2003)
My mother grew up in Texas in the 1930s and recalls driving with her father for hours past seemingly endless miles of King Ranch Property. Covering 850,000 acres even today, a spread as big as the state of Rhode Island, the King Ranch has been an icon of Texas ranching culture since the 19th century. For six generations, descendants of founder Richard King ran the ranch and its various enterprises until Stephen Kleberg was voted out as ranch manager by the corporate board in 1998. The changing face of the King Ranch from family-run enterprise to corporate entity captures attention precisely because so many ranches and farms have already gone this rou te in the West, and here is the largest of them all following in their footsteps. Graham (literature, Univ. of Texas, Austin) has written several books on Texas life and culture. His latest is an easy-to-read popular narrative that complements another recent title of the King Ranch, John Cypher's Bob Kleberg and the King Ranch: A worldwide Sea of Grass& lt;/I> (1995) which is a amore scholarly look at this modern corporate empire. Highly recommended for Southwestern libraries, both public and academic. Charlie Cowling, SUNY at Brockport Lib. (Library Journal, March 1, 2003)
""A crisp history of the King Ranch... a good read about an era long gone.""--Boston Globe
"This book is about the King Ranch, but it is about much more than that. A compelling chronicle of war, peace, love, betrayal, birth and death in the region where the Texas-Mexico border blurs in the haze of the Wild Horse Desert, it is also an intriguing detective story with links to the present--and a first-rate read." —H.W. Brands, author THE AGE OF GOLD and the bestselling Pulitzer Prize finalist THE FIRST AMERICAN.
"KINGS OF TEXAS is a fresh and very welcome history of the great King Ranch. It's concise but thorough, crisply written, meticulous and very readable. It should find a wide audience." —Larry McMurtry, author of Sin Killer and the Pulitzer Prize winning Lonesome DoveSee all Product Description
Inside This Book(Learn More)
The Rincon de Santa Gertrudis, an old Spanish land grant, lies at the heart of King Ranch, for it was here, on these untenanted lands, that Capt.Richard King, in 1853, first laid claim to a dream of ownership that would make his nascent rancho the envy of the world. Read the first page
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
Top Customer Reviews
However, I did like this book. Its well-written and easy to read. One really gets a sense of what life was like in the late 1800's in South Texas. The later part of the book deals with the impending lawsuit against the King Ranch. Did Richard King swindle his partner's widow out of what was rightfully her's? (about 7,000 acres of prime real estate). The widow's descendants sure think so. Can they win their claim over the power King Ranch? This is a complicated question to answer but the author digs deep into the story. The only bad part is that the case has not yet been settled, so there is no resolution to the engaging battel for money and land.
If you like Texas or western history, you should read this book.
There are several books on the King ranch. Some were sponsored by the owners. This is an independant and recent book by an important Texas author.
I found the first 2/3's of the book to be really intriguing and well written. Somewhere about 1/2 way I felt the beginnings of the drumbeat on the Chapman lawsuit against the King ranch. The last part of the book details the lawsuit as it updates the ranches history to modern times. In doing so the book loses its riveting advenuresome focus.
The author did his best in describing the early South Texas conditions and the development of this great Texas accomplishment. I really liked the descriptions of the raids by the Texas Rangers among others.
A Mr. Chapman was an early partner with Richard King on one of the main pieces of this huge ranch. The issue was rooted in a verbal partnership contract on land ownership. Chapman moves away, appears to forget about the property, then dies. The heirs, various decades later, sue for a hunk of the now successful ranch. You would think they would have played a more active role in a huge piece of property... like paying property taxes, approving invoices, etc.
I kept waiting for the author to side with the Chapman's on the lawsuit but that didn't happen. But somehow I just felt a prejudice underneath the surface that the author sided with Chapman. But in the end, the author tried to present both sides of the story.Read more ›
However, this work by Don Graham, whose work I often read in "Texas Monthly Magazine", which centers more on Kleberg than on the later years and workings, is quite interesting. I couldn't put it down until the end. And after yakking it up to my husband, he finally indulged himself in the read. We both recommend it for anyone fascinated by the legends of this gigantic property and its landlords.
Most recent customer reviews
Graham begins his tale by informing the reader that he was denied access to the King Ranch's Archives. Read morePublished on April 9 2004
as a yankee, i didn't think i would be so fascinated by a texas history. what's sad is, we just don't have sprawling sagas like this up in new jersey.Published on Sept. 10 2003
Don Graham is a sharp thinker and a sort of curmudgeon for all seasons. He is therefore the ideal writer to tell the story of Texas's very own mini-Soviet empire, the Kleberg/King... Read morePublished on March 17 2003
Don Graham's KINGS OF TEXAS is a compelling account of the fabled King Ranch from its earliest days to a contemporary lawsuit that sums up the mythic and the real history of south... Read morePublished on Feb. 28 2003 by Elizabeth Rama
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