Heaven's Harsh Tableland: A New History of the Llano Estacado (American Wests, sponsored by West Texas A&M University) (Hardcover)

Heaven's Harsh Tableland: A New History of the Llano Estacado (American Wests, sponsored by West Texas A&M University) By Paul H. Carlson Cover Image
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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.

Praise For…

"Paul Carlson’s, Heaven’s Harsh Tableland: A New History of the Llano Estacdo, is destined to become an award-winning study for the Texas A&M Press, because of its broad appeal to scholars and general readers alike.  Reminiscent of Fernand Bradell’s style of the longue durée, the wonderful narrative opens in deep geological time and terminates in 2022.  The author masterfully places within an historical context, important land-man environmental, structural, political, and cultural interactions, through the various eras of human habitation and settlement.  Carlson portrays the geographical and cultural ‘place,’ called by early adventurers El Llano Estacado, as only the best living scholar of the region can.”—Monte L. Monroe, Texas State Historian, Texas Tech University Southwest Collection
— Monte L. Monroe

“Through a more than five-decade career as a writer, researcher, and professor, Paul Carlson has deftly chronicled and interpreted the American West and Texas in a myriad of diverse works. In his latest work, Heaven’s Harsh Tableland he has produced perhaps his most unique offering yet. His clever narrative about the Llano Estacado provides a place and its people with a ‘voice.’ He ably chronicles the broad history of the people, from the earliest Native inhabitants, through intrepid Spanish explorers, all the way to the current modern urbanites. He examines those who have inhabited and transformed the Llano into a skillful study of how people and place both influence and shape a land. The result, as he demonstrates, is one of the most distinctive regions of the United States Carlson’s work will no doubt become the seminal work on the vast highland plain.”—M. Scott Sosebee, executive director, East Texas Historical Association
— M. Scott Sosebee

“This book is a must-read for present, past and future residents of the Llano Estacado.  Comprehensive in its coverage of the region’s prehistoric and historic eras from its creation to the present,  Heaven’s Harsh Tableland tells the story of mankind’s struggles, success, and failures on the Llano without the near myth-like romance as told by some of its early historians.  Paul Carlson also gives us excellent accounts of early European exploration of the region, of its long occupation by Native Americans, and of the conflict which ended their tenure—the Red River War.  And, his account of the urbanization of the region in the past one hundred years is unparalleled.  Without a doubt, this book is the definitive history of the unique Llano Estacado.”—David J. Murrah, author of The Rise and Fall of the Lazy S Ranch.
— David J. Murrah

Product Details
ISBN: 9781648431548
ISBN-10: 1648431542
Publisher: Texas A&M University Press
Publication Date: September 27th, 2023
Pages: 408
Language: English
Series: American Wests, sponsored by West Texas A&M University