Texas Reads>> archiveGlenn Dromgoole

8.2.15   Ranger captain’s short life was anything but boring

Ranger Captain Frank Jones was killed in 1893 on the Texas-Mexico border in a shootout with Mexican rustlers. He was thirty-seven.

Author Bob Alexander has penned a full-length biography (nearly 500 pages with notes) of Jones — Six-Shooters and Shifting Sands: The Wild West Life of Texas Ranger Captain Frank Jones (University of North Texas Press, $34.95 hardcover).

“Many well-read students, historians, and loyal aficionados of Texas Ranger lore know the name,” Alexander writes, “but not the man.”

Frank Jones joined the Rangers at age nineteen and served with the Frontier Battalion. “[His] law enforcing life was anything but boring,” the author says. “His biography is jam-packed with the hunts for dangerous desperadoes.”

Alexander is the author of several other Texas Ranger books from UNT Press: Riding Lucifer’s Line: Ranger Deaths along the Texas-Mexico Border; Rawhide Ranger, Ira Aten: Enforcing Law on the Texas Frontier; Bad Company and Burnt Powder: Justice and Injustice in the Old Southwest; and Winchester Warriors: Texas Rangers of Company D, 1874-1901.

Hungry dragon: Abilene author Penny Parker Klostermann’s first book, There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight, makes its national debut on Tuesday.

It’s rare for a first-time author — especially a children’s author — to land a deal with a major publisher like Random House. Not only that, but in a full-color trade magazine insert promoting its fall list of children’s books, Random House put Klostermann’s book on the cover.

The book, delightfully illustrated by Ben Mantle of London, tells the tale of one very hungry dragon who gobbles up almost everything in the kingdom. When he swallows a moat and begins to bloat, he roars, “I’ve had more than enough of this swallowing stuff.” But now what?

Klostermann, a retired teacher, has a second book with Random House scheduled to come out in 2017.

Cowboy poet: George Rhoades, a retired journalism professor from the University of Texas at Arlington, lives in Oklahoma now and has published two books of mostly cowboy poetry worthy of mention.

The first one, Along the Chisholm Trail and Other Poems, came out three years ago and won several awards and a lot of high praise from readers who appreciated his classic, upbeat approach to writing poems that have rhyme and rhythm.

Now he has produced a second volume, After the Chisholm, consisting of about a hundred poems dealing with cowboys, rural life, and other observations. One of my favorites is “The Last Newspaper,” about a future-day grandfather explaining to his grandson how newspapers informed people back in the day before everything became “short and quick and on a screen.”

Rhoades’s books, from OutskirtsPress.com, are $9.95 paperback and $5 e-book.

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Glenn Dromgoole is co-author of 101 Essential Texas Books.

Contact him at g.dromgoole@suddenlink.net.

>> Read his past Texas Reads columns in Lone Star Literary Life here.