Since it first appeared in print twenty years ago, Ron C. Tyler's The Big Bend: A History of the Last Texas Frontier has become a classic. Not only does it tell the fascinating social and economic history of the region from the time of the Spanish explorers through its designation as a national park in the 1970s, but it also serves as an interesting background guide to this increasingly popular region.
Tyler covers four centuries of human society in the Big Bend in this award-winning book. Archaeological evidence of Indian inhabitants provides clues to their unwritten history in the Big Bend, but Spanish explorers recognized no living trace of them and simply called the land el despoblado, the uninhabited land.
In the centuries that followed, U.S. Army mapping and surveying teams entered the region. A colorful array of miners, ranchers, and even bandits sought freedom and livelihoods in the remote canyons of this region so deeply involved in the destinies of both Mexico and the United States. A full chapter is devoted to the creation of Big Bend National Park, which was finally dedicated in 1955, thanks in large part to the quiet but unrelenting efforts of a simple cowboy named Everett Ewing Townsend, who wanted to preserve what was left of the Texas wilderness.
Written in engaging narrative prose, The Big Bend might be considered the last word on the last Texas frontier. It would also be perfect reading material for a road trip to the most remote corner of the contiguous United States.
What Readers Are Saying:
" . . . a long-needed account of the human invasion of this rugged Texas desertland. . . . Reading The Big Bend will make those of an adventurous spirit want to see this last frontier and will make those acquainted with it want to return to its solitude and majestic, rugged beauty." --American West
" . . . a thoroughly researched and well-written history of the Big Bend region. It should satisfy both the specialist and the layman for the author intimately knows his complex subject, one which has frustrated some of the ablest historians of the Southwest." --Southwestern Historical Quarterly
“. . . Tyler’s engagingly written and solidly researched chronicle of man’s (it was largely a male world) struggle to conquer the haunting but unforgiving border country of West Texas offers something for everyone. . .” --Books of the Southwest
“. . . solidly documented history for a popular audience. . . .” --The Journal of Arizona History
“Several good books have been written about Big Bend over the years. The best overview remains Ron C. Tyler’s ‘The Big Bend: A History of the Last Texas Frontier.’ . . . reading Tyler’s book is the best place to begin developing an understanding of this vast area.” --Austin American-Statesman
“. . . Meticulously researched and beautifully illustrated, with a number of nicely reproduced woodcuts, . . . certain to remain the definitive study of this spectacular region of Texas.” --Journal of the West
Winner of the Texas State Historical Association's Coral H. Tullis Award for the most outstanding contribution to Texas History, 1975. " . . . a long-needed account of the human invasion of this rugged Texas desertland. . . . Reading The Big Bend will make those of an adventurous spirit want to see this last frontier and will make those acquainted with it want to return to its solitude and majestic, rugged beauty." --American West