Frontier Crossroads
Fort Davis and the West
Texas History - Western History
6 x 9, 222 pp.
18 b&w photos., 2 maps., 3 tables.
Pub Date: 12/02/2005
Canseco-Keck History Series
Price:        $24.95

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Kate Broocks Bates Award for Historical Research. Presented March 1988.
T.R. Fehrenbach Book Award. Presented April 1988.
San Antonio Conservation Society Publications Award. March 1988.
American Association for State and Local History. Certificate of Commendation. Presented September 1989.

Frontier Crossroads

Fort Davis and the West

By Robert Wooster

The idea of the West conjures exciting images of tenacious men and women, huge expanses of unclaimed territory, and feelings of both adventure and lonesome isolation. Located astride communication lines linking San Antonio, El Paso, Presidio, and Chihuahua City, the United States Army’s post at Fort Davis commanded a strategic position at a military, cultural, and economic crossroads of nineteenth-century Texas. Using extensive research and careful scrutiny of long forgotten records, Robert Wooster brings his readers into the world of Fort Davis, a place of encounter, conquest, and community.
The fort here spawned a thriving civilian settlement and served as the economic nexus for regional development Frontier Crossroads schools its readers in the daily lives of soldiers, their dependents, and civilians at the fort and in the surrounding area. The resulting history of the intriguing blend of Hispanic, African American, Anglo, and European immigrants who came to Fort Davis is a benchmark volume that will serve as the standard to which other post histories will be compared.
The military garrisons of Fort Davis represented a rich mosaic of nineteenth-century American life. Each of the army’s four black regiments served there following the Civil War, and its garrisons engaged in many of the army’s grueling campaigns against Apache and Comanche Indians. Characters such as artist and officer Arthur T. Lee, William “Pecos Bill” Shafter, and Benjamin Grierson and his family come alive under Wooster’s pen. Frontier Crossroads will enrich its readers with its careful analysis of life on the frontier. This book will appeal to military and social historians, Texas history buffs, and those seeking a record of adventure.

ROBERT WOOSTER is the Joe Frantz Professor of History at Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi, where he teaches U.S., Civil War, military, and Texas history. His earlier works on the military and the U.S. frontier have won several awards. His <I>Nelson A. Miles and the Twilight of the Frontier Army<I> was a History Book Club selection.

What Readers Are Saying:

“Certainly no historian today knows more about Fort Davis than Robert Wooster. . . . all previous attempts to chronicle the history of the post pale in comparison to what Wooster has produced. Using a variety of impressive and often obscure primary and secondary sources, the study is thoroughly documented and scholarly impressive. Perhaps most notable is Wooster’s ability to ferret out relevant records at the National Archives and various other historical depositories. The end result is a study that both the academic and lay reader is certain to appreciate.”-Jerry Thompson, Texas A&M International University

"The history of individual forts in the American West has developed an extensive historiography. Robert Wooster adds to that body of historical work with his fine study of Fort Davis, Texas. . . a model for a historical monograph. . . Wooster goes beyond military matters to give readers insightful analysis about the interaction of Hispanics, Anglos, and African Americans." -New Mexico Historical Review

This is the best history written on a Texas fort and will be the benchmark standard by which to judge all the others. . . . Wooster masterfully integrates the local, regional, state and national, military, political, social, cultural, ethnic and economic aspects of the Fort Davis experience and tells an interesting story in the process. Within the context of the current historiography there is a number of pretty good Texas fort histories but with this publication Texas will at last have one truly worthy of national merit. It is more than just a fort history, it is a complicated tale of human interaction, of triumph and failure in an unforgiving environment and it is a model for all scholars of the frontier experience.”-Thomas T. Smith, author, The Old Army in Texas

“A fascinating chapter in U.S. military frontier history.”-Military Heritage

Frontier Crossroads will enrich its readers with its careful analysis of life on the frontier. This book will appeal to military and social historians, Texas history buffs, and those seeking a record of adventure.”-Texas Illustrated Magazine

“Although Wooster does an altogether admirable job of detailing the numerous patrols that the army launched against its swift striking foes and the dozens of nameless skirmishes that they fought, the principal value of this book lies in its contribution to the social history of the West..” -The Journal of Military History

“This is an excellent book. Wooster’s extensive research is complemented by his gift for using excerpts from primary sources to bring the story to life…Wooster moves past the exceptionalist view of the Anglo-American frontier experience and focuses on the fort’s history as 'a place of encounter, conquest, and community,' including information about various ethnic groups, women, and the communities that developed to support the fort. Historians of Texas, military historians, and the general readers alike will enjoy this book.”-Military History of the West

“Wooster’s scholarship has produced a work that will find a place on every bookshelf devoted to the history of the nineteenth-century American West.”-The Journal of American History

“It should serve as a model of how a good military history should be written…a masterful account of a post which served as a place of ‘encounter, conquest and community…Placing the post, its garrison, and the surrounding population into a larger historical context, he has crafted a work that serves as an example of what good military history ought to be.”-Southwestern Historical Quarterly


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