Sea of Reads

Peripatetic, itinerant, eclectic musings about books, politics, history, language, culture, and anything else that interests me.

A Dark and Depressing History

The book I’m reading now will not be everyone’s cup of tea: It’s about the culture of violence in central Texas between 1836 and 1916. The purveyors of violence were white settlers; the victims were former slaves, Native Americans, and other whites (Northerners and former Unionists, plus almost anyone who was a stranger in the area and did anything to rub the locals the wrong way. Cattle and horse thieves were especially reviled.)

The title of the book is The Making of a Lynching Culture: Violence and Vigilantism in Central Texas 1836 – 1916. The author, William D. Carrigan, is (or was, in 2004) an assistant professor of history at Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey.

The book is interesting in what it has to say about the shifting patterns of violence — who the victims were likely to be at different points within the time range Carrigan covers, as well as the historical, geographical, and demographic factors that both lay behind the violence and helped create “narratives” that played into the reasons white residents of Central Texas  gave for beating, torturing, shooting, lynching, and terrorizing hundreds of blacks, native peoples, and white citizens.

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This entry was posted on August 2, 2009 by in Currently Reading.
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