Red Sky Morning

The Epic True Story of Texas Ranger Company F

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Pub Date 28 Jun 2022 | Archive Date 12 Jul 2022

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The explosive and bloody true history of Texas Rangers Company F, made up of hard men who risked their lives to bring justice to a lawless frontier.

Between 1886 and 1888, Sergeant James Brooks, of Texas Ranger Company F, was engaged in three fatal gunfights, endured disfiguring bullet wounds, engaged in countless manhunts, was convicted of second-degree murder, and rattled Washington, D.C. with a request for a pardon from the US president. His story anchors the tale of Joe Pappalardo's Red Sky Morning, an epic saga of lawmen and criminals set in Texas during the waning years of the “Old West.”

Alongside Brooks are the Rangers of Company F, who range from a pious teetotaler to a cowboy fleeing retribution for killing a man. They are all led by Captain William Scott, who cut his teeth as a freelance undercover informant but was facing the end of his Ranger career. Company F hunted criminals across Texas and beyond, killing them as needed, and were confident they could bring anyone to “Ranger justice.” But Brooks’ men met their match in the Conner family, East Texas master hunters and jailbreakers who were wanted for their part in a bloody family feud.

The full story of Company F’s showdown with the Conner family is finally being told, with long dead voices being heard for the first time. This truly hidden history paints the grim picture of neighbors and relatives becoming snitches and bounty hunters, and a company of Texas Rangers who waded into the conflict only to find themselves over their heads – and in the fight of their lives.

The explosive and bloody true history of Texas Rangers Company F, made up of hard men who risked their lives to bring justice to a lawless frontier.

Between 1886 and 1888, Sergeant James Brooks, of...

Advance Praise

"Red Sky Morning tells the tale of a bloody family rivalry worthy of a Jason Isbell song. The sharply drawn narrative brings to life a rich and interwoven cast of pioneers, outlaws, and gunslinging Rangers as they prepare for a showdown in the piney woods of East Texas. Pappalardo has delivered a hard-scrabble story that pairs well with a glass of nice whiskey."

—Michael Mooney, New York Times bestselling author and Texas Monthly contributor

"Red Sky Morning tells the tale of a bloody family rivalry worthy of a Jason Isbell song. The sharply drawn narrative brings to life a rich and interwoven cast of pioneers, outlaws, and gunslinging...

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ISBN 9781250275240
PRICE $29.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 22 members

Featured Reviews

Red Sky Morning

A few years ago I visited the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame Museum in Waco TX and as a result piqued my interest in reading this book.
Many of the names in this book I remembered from my visit.
The book didn’t disappoint. Very well written and not afraid to show the dark side of the Rangers.
I thoroughly enjoyed this read and highly recommend it.

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Excellent and intriguing history, but the jumping around in the chronology can get confusing. Some more obvious pointers as to the time and the relation to the main action would be helpful. And the use of present tense adds to the confusion.

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Ah yes, those who never write, or the writing doesn't fit their own view of events they were not present for, so they trash it with bad reviews

This is a great read written about men in a time and in a context few have ever experienced.

Take your snowflakes off and just learn a thing or two

great book

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Thanks to the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, and to NetGalley for allowing me to read an advance copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review. This is the story of Texas Rangers Company F and their role in Texas history. Company F was formed after the Mexican War, Civil War and most of the Indian wars. Company F was created for one purpose, to chase robbers, killers, rustlers and fence cutters, and they did their job well. The primary focus is on two Rangers, James Brooks and Captain William Scott. It details Brooks involvement in a shooting in the Indian Territory and subsequent trial in Fort Smith, Arkansas. In even more detail it follows the long search for the feuding Connor family in Sabine county, Texas that involved a major shootout with the Rangers. In between it touches on the fight against fence cutters and the bitter fight in Texas between the small ranchers who favored an open range and the larger ranchers who supported fences. At times it reads like a genealogy book as the author goes into painful detail of every character’s family history and who begat who. And in the middle of the book he throws in a chapter on the modern idiocy of removing a Ranger statue by the woke crowd. That would have been better held until the end. On the positive side he does a wonderful job of bringing in historical detail on the old west. Following a remote shootout where several Rangers were badly injured he discussed field surgeries and roles of the local country doctors in great detail. I found that fascinating. There was also much interesting details about the famous court in Fort Smith and the fence cutting war. But continuing that genealogy bent rather than ending the book with the retirement of the Rangers and end of the company, he follows their post Ranger lives in painful detail until their deaths. That made the end drag and could have been shortened considerably. Overall it was an interesting book for anyone interested in Old West, Texas Ranger or Texas history.

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This is the most interesting history book I have ever read. There is so much information about these Rangers that you'd think that it was fictional. The references are extensive, and the accounts are from multiple points of view. It is a great read about a wild time in our country's past. The dangers that Ranger's faced on a regular basis are a testimony to their integrity and fortitude. Although so much has changed in this country over the years, some things still remain the same. I was impressed with the judicial system in place in that era, as well as the investigative methods used. So much research went into this book, and this resulted in a read that was informative and entertaining. I highly recommend this book.

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A truly interesting look at the Texas Rangers. The story was intriguing and really holds your interest. A great book for the western fan.

Thank you to #NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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nonfiction, law-enforcement, historical-figures, historical-places-events, historical-research, historical-setting, history-and-culture, Texas, criminal-acts, rough-justice****

The presentation was thoroughly spoiled by the in text listing of sources as opposed to a much less intrusive use of footnotes or endnotes. Can't fault the research, however. This is an examination of one troop and their campaign against one particular crime family but carries the characteristics of the Ranger's mentality and mode of operations. Historically excellent.
I requested and received a free e-book copy from St. Martin's Press via NetGalley. Thank you

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I love western stories and was so looking forward to this one. The author has a big story to tell, and he certainly did his research. The cons: It reads like a history book and I had to keep a log on paper to keep track of who, what, when, and where we were talking about. So many characters, so many different time frames and we even went back and forth a few times.
But other than those few distractive issues, as I said, this is a big story and I certainly learned a lot. I only can wish it would have been told in a more conducive story telling format. Western lovers, sit back, get ready to learn more than you ever expected. 4 stars is the best I could do since I didn’t care for the writing style.
I personally thank the publisher for the privilege to be offered this ARC from St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for my unbiased review – This one comes in with 4 stars.

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This was a great book that provides great snapshots and glimpses of Texas Ranger Company F as the men of this company traverse the Texas frontier. One feels they are riding alongside Brooks as he solved the crimes facing the state of Texas at that time. I thoroughly enjoyed the stories that came with this and was excited to see the great use of the primary source materials as well. I would highly recommend this book to American historians, law enforcement scholars, and Wild West buffs.

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I received an advance reading copy (arc) of the book from the publisher and in return for a fair review. I knew very little about the Texas Rangers when I was asked to read this book. It certainly sounded interesting and the unique topic piqued my curiosity. Unfortunately, the book just fell short for me. Center stage was the Connor family--a band of outlaws hiding in the Texas range and the lawmen who sought them during the late 1880s. Led by Sargent James Brooks, the lawmen themselves came from a wide background of non-drinkers to killers. They were feared as well as respected. Author Joe Pappalardo did not focus on the chase for the Connors, however. He was sidetracked by other cases and other criminals that all jumbled together. He also switched back and forth between time periods, which I found confusing. There were way too many characters that were hard to keep track of with way too many details that bogged down what should have been the story. For example, because one ranger happened to see Belle Starr, the author provided background on the female outlaw that had no bearing on the main story. While Author Pappalardo certainly did an abundance of research, the telling of the tale fell short for this reader.

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