The Llano Estacado—dubbed by author Paul H. Carlson as “heaven’s harsh tableland”—covers some 48,000 square miles of western Texas and eastern New Mexico. In this new survey of the region, the story begins during prehistoric times and with descendants of the Comanche, Apache, and other Native American tribal groups. Other groups have also left their marks on the area: Spanish explorers, Comancheros and other traders, European settlers, farmers and ranchers, artists, and even athletes. Carlson, a veteran historian, aims to review “the Llano’s historic contours from its earliest foundations to its energetic present,” and in doing so, he skillfully narrates the story of the region up to the present time of modern agribusiness and urbanization. Throughout the ten chronologically arranged chapters, concise sidebars support the narrative, highlighting important and interesting topics such as the enigmatic origins of the region’s name, fascinating geological and paleontological facts, the arrival of humans, the natural history of bison, colorful “characters” in the history of the region, and many others. The resulting broad synthesis captures the entirety of the Llano Estacado, summarizing and interpreting its natural and human history in a single, carefully researched and clearly written volume. Heaven’s Harsh Tableland: A New History of the Llano Estacado will provide a helpful, enjoyable, and authoritative guide to the history and development of this important region.
About the Author
PAUL H. CARLSON, emeritus professor of history at Texas Tech University and a member of the Texas Institute of Letters and the Philosophical Society of Texas, is a Fellow of the Texas State Historical Association and the West Texas Historical Association. He is the author or co-author of more than 20 books, including The Plains Indians and The Buffalo Soldier Tragedy of 1877. He lives in Ransom Canyon, cut deep into the Llano's eastern edge.
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