Monday, June 22, 2020

Book News: Violence in the Hill Country

It seems like it's been weeks since a new upcoming title of interest has popped up on my radar. As surely every regular reader knows by now, any book related to Civil War-era events west of the Mississippi grabs my attention. Nicholas Keefauver Roland's Violence in the Hill Country: The Texas Frontier in the Civil War Era (University of Texas Press, Feb 2021) will join a recent spate of titles melding Civil War history with western borderlands studies. From the description: "The nineteenth-century Texas Hill Country functioned as a kind of borderland within the larger borderland of Texas itself, a vast and fluid area where the slaveholding South and the nominally free-labor West collided. And as in many borderlands, it was a place marked by violence, as one set of peoples, states, and systems eventually triumphed over others."

Seeing Roland's title, two other books on the topic of Texas frontier violence during the Civil War immediately came to mind. Gregory Michno's The Settlers' War: The Struggle for the Texas Frontier in the 1860s (Caxton, 2011) emphasizes the general ineffectiveness of U.S., Confederate, and Texas state military and paramilitary forces in protecting isolated settlers from Apache, Kiowa, and Comanche raiders. The best scholarly book on the topic of western Texas border security during the Civil War is still David Paul Smith's Frontier Defense in the Civil War: Texas' Rangers and Rebels (Texas A&M Univ. Press, 1992). Roland's upcoming book will have a different emphasis on the theme of borderland violence. It aims to "trace the role of violence in the region from the eve of the Civil War, through the crisis of secession and the Indian wars, and into the Reconstruction period, ultimately showing how patterns of violence both defined and revealed the priorities of white settlers in the Hill Country--most importantly, the advancement of market integration and state-building in the broader Southwest."


  1. Hi Drew--thanks for this. The audio version is just coming out also. And yes, it has been a year. We have a plethora of ECW titles backed up. If anyone of your readers knows how to use Adobe Photoshop and can grayscale images and would like to do it in exchange for some books, we would be more than happy to have them join the team. :)

    1. Yes, I see a whole bunch in the pipeline. BTW, you added this comment to the wrong post!


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