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Salt Warriors

Buy on Amazon!Winner of the 2007 Robert A. Calvert Book Prize

Winner of a Southwest Book Award for 2008, Border Regional Library Association

Honorable Mention, 2009 Tejano Book Prize, Tejano Genealogy Society of Austin

Finalist for 2009 Wild West History Association Book Award

Published by Texas A&M University Press, 2008

“The author elegantly navigates the shaky alliances, the deep enmities, the hubris of some and the courage of others in the struggle over control and use of the salt lakes near El Paso. The Salt War ranks with the Lincoln County War in its drama and complexity, and in its evidence of a troubled American past with issues that reverberate into the 21st century. This is an authoritative and important work by a gifted scholar.”

Paula Mitchell Marks, author of To Die in the West

“No previous work on the Salt War has mined such a quarry of primary sources, explicated the political power plays (involving both Tejanos and Anglos) in the conflict with such clarity, interpreted the insurgency of those relying on the salt lakes so incisively, and chronicled the aftermath that the episode had on the common people of the El Paso Valley so skillfully. The book is destined to become the definitive treatment of the subject.”

Arnoldo De León, author of Mexican-Americans in Texas: A Brief History

“… an exceptionally well researched piece of scholarship that goes way beyond what has previously been written. It is obvious from the first page that Cool has made great efforts to uncover every piece of evidence that might in any way shed any new facts on his dramatic but bloody event.”

Jerry Thompson, author of Cortina: Civil War to the Bloody End

“The so-called El Paso Salt War of 1877 undoubtedly ranks among th least known conflicts of the late 19th century. Paul Cool’s account is a fascinating study of an insurgency, with a cast of characters including laborers, land barons, corrupt politicians, lawmen of questionable backgrounds, the national press, the Texas governor, the Texas Rangers, President Rutherford B. Hayes, and last but not least, the United States Army. Among the civilian participants in this tragic events were Anglos, Mexican-Americans, and Mexicans. Many of the soldiers were African Americans…. The author unravels the incredibly tangled web of villains, heroes, and the not-so-heroic…. Salt Warriors is a well-researched and competently written work, with photographs of many participants, maps, and an extensive and useful bibliography.

Lt. Col. G. Alan Knight, US Army (ret.), in the Journal of American’s Military Past

“A lively written account.”

Gary Clayton Anderson, author of The Conquest of Texas, in the Western Historical Quarterly.

“Salt Warriors is a welcome contribution to the literature on social conflict in Texas…. Making effective use of disparate and scattered sources, Cool provides a detailed narrative…. Salt Warriors gives readers both the essence and complexity of the political and social dimensions of this little known but significant West Texas rebellion.”

Manuel Callahan, authority on Zapatismo, in the Southwestern Historical Quarterly.

“Anyone who has waited for a long overdue assessment of the El Paso Salt War of 1877 need wait no more.”

Michael L. Collins, author of Texas Devils: Rangers and Regulars on the Lower Rio Grande, 1846-1861, in the East Texas Historical Journal

“Paul Cool’s terrific new book gives this fascinating episode thorough and long-overdue attention…. a tremendously gifted storyteller, making Salt Warriors hard to put down once the battle begins.”

Andrew R. Graybill, author of Policing the Great Plains: Rangers, Mounties, and the North American Frontier, 1875-1910, in the Journal of American History

“Cool’s examination is judicious and even-handed. [His] discussion of insurgent military leader Francisco “Chico” Barela is especially insightful. A former officer in the U.S. Army Reserve, Cool offers an informed description of the operational tactics utilized by Barela in his humiliating defeat of the Texas Rangers…. superbly researched and well-written….”

Patrick J. Kelly, author of Creating a National Home: Building the Veterans’ Welfare State: 1860-1900, in the Journal of Southern History

“Carefully researched and beautifully written.”

Leon C. Metz, author of Border: The U.S.-Mexico Line

“An exemplary model of scholarly research and historical writing of the sort that other researchers and writers would be well-advised to both learn from and aspire to… It also is chockfull of just the sort of eye-opening, enviable intellectual insight, penetrating factual analysis, and probing interpretive facility, the exercise of which any of us would give our eye-teeth–while thanking our lucky stars–to be capable of. Cool’s a serious and gifted historian. This book proves it.”

Bruce Olds, author of Bucking the Tiger

“…the Salt War’s history is expertly expressed in easily readable prose.”

Chuck Parsons, author of The Sutton-Taylor Feud: The Bloodiest Feud in Texas.

“Well-documented and chronologically well-organized, the narrative keeps who’s who and what’s what foremost in the reader’s mind.”

Clay Reynolds, Houston Chronicle

“fascinating and well-researched study”

Si Dunn, Dallas Morning News

“..undoubtedly, the last word on the subject.”

Nancy Hamilton, co-author of Legendary Watering Holes: The Saloons That Made Texas Famous