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Kings of Texas: The 150-Year Saga of an American Ranching Empire Hardcover – Dec 1 2002


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (Dec 1 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471394513
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471394518
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 17.5 x 22.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 590 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #777,452 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents


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First Sentence
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
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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Hardcover
I bought this tome for my spouse and it sat around the house, unread, until I picked it up myself. I was surprised that this slim volume could explain so much about the founding of the King Ranch and the controversy surrounding its ownership. I was especially interested in the property rights of the missing character, a military cohort and investor of King's whose heirs later sued the King heirs for their ancestor's part of the ranch. All unsuccessfully, of course.
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.
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Format: Hardcover
Graham begins his tale by informing the reader that he was denied access to the King Ranch's Archives. This immediately sets the tone for the rest of his book as he views the King Ranch through a bitter lens. He spends much of his time writing on the history of the area around the Ranch. He intersperses the document with his personal pronouns and anecdotes of his own experiences. This all culminates in the Big Trials of the King Ranch. This is where his bias against the King Ranch shines. He is clearly opposed to the King Ranch. Foregoing an impartial view of events his prose begins to be colored by his frustrations. This book does give some history of Southern Texas, so it rates a 3 out of 5.
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Format: Hardcover
I took one star away because I dont think the title tells you what the book is about. Most (9 of 14 chapters) of the book is about Richard King, the founder, and the history that took place in South Texas. Only one chapter is devoted to the men who ran the ranch after King. Robert Kleberg, who really made the ranch so wealthy is given little treatment.
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.
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By A Customer on Sept. 10 2003
Format: Hardcover
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.
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Format: Hardcover
The King Ranch is on of the U.S.'s largest working ranches. Its development is a big story in Texas. Its owner, Richard King, migrated to Texas before the Civil War. The ranch was so big, it could swallow up those little states up North with no sweat. Today, the ranch is much bigger as it is international in scope.
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.
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