The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003

488 Southwestern Historical Quarterly January
they deserve. Enthusiasts of Texas history have nevertheless enjoyed some skill-
fully treated diaries in the recent past, and A Pnvate in the Texas Rangers ranks
among the best. Morris joins such recent author-editors as Janet Nuegebauer
(Lambshead Legacy, Texas A&M, 1997) and Harwood Hinton (Afoot & Alone,
Book Club of Texas, 1995) for faithfully reconstructing the worlds in which
their diarists lived. Each shares a knack for breathing life into often-moribund
passages dealing with mundane observations and comments about the weather
and surroundings. Morris's ability to bring out of obscurity people and events fa-
miliar to the diarists, but otherwise lost to history, evinces the kind of research
that only the most diligent, experienced scholars can produce.
Sam Houston State Universzty TY CASHION
General George Crook and the Western Frontier. By Charles M. Robinson III. (Norman:
University of Oklahoma Press, 2ool. Pp. ix+386. Illustrations, preface, intro-
duction, notes, bibliography, index. ISBN 0-8061-3358-9. $39.95, cloth.)
It has remained a lasting curiosity that a man regarded as one of the most
skilled Indian fighters of the nineteenth century lacked a full-scale biography. Yet
studies of Gen. George Crook, an enigmatic yet omnipresent force in the
trans-Mississippi West, have been relegated to Crook's one aggrandized autobi-
ography, a handful of campaign narratives from soldiers under Crook's com-
mand, or Peter Aleshire's The Fox and the Whirlwznd: General George Crook and
Geronzmo, a fine work that unfortunately offers only cursory assessment of Crook's
significant activities away from Apache country. No longer. Veteran western histo-
rian Charles M. Robinson III, author of A Good Year to Dae: The Story of the Great
Sioux War and The Men Who Wear the Star: The Story of the Texas Rangers, returns to
the post-Civil War West with General George Crook and the Western Frontzer, a bal-
anced and comprehensive account of the era's paramount commander.
All of Crook's better known activities are well represented, including the gen-
eral's employment of Indian scouts during his campaigns, his pioneering use of
pack mules rather than wagons to provide mobility, and his preference for nego-
tiation over violence, an inclination that strongly influenced Crook's repeated
condemnations of federal Indian policy. Many less familiar elements of Crook's
personal and military affairs are also brought to light. Robinson explains how
Crook's experiences in the Indian Wars of the Pacific Northwest and during his
four years of service in the Civil War shaped his command style and personality.
Twice denied credit for his achievements by other officers, most notably Philip
Sheridan's reluctance to share credit for the victory at Cedar Creek in 1864,
Crook became obsessed with his own image. Insecurity and vanity forged in
Crook a steadfast dedication to self-promotion, the most obvious element of
which was the general's projected eccentricity, resplendent as he was with forked
beard, white sun helmet, canvas safari uniform, and his ever-present mule/steed,
Apache. Less obvious, Robinson reveals, was the inner turmoil that Crook's ob-
session created. During his campaigns in the West, Crook actively recruited
newspaper coverage of his activities, a fascination with media attention that led

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/. Accessed May 4, 2015.