Trending
MOST READ
Best Hookah Bar

Best Hookah Bar

Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013
Beaches Be Trippin\': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Beaches Be Trippin': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Arts & Culture: Let’s face it, most of us Lone Stars view the Texas coast as a poor man’s Waikiki. Hell, maybe just a poor man’s Panama Beach — only to be used... By Callie Enlow 7/10/2013
Texas Law Leaves Abortion Out of Reach for Many Women

Texas Law Leaves Abortion Out of Reach for Many Women

News: Texas’ sweeping abortion law has already eliminated all abortion clinics south of San Antonio, and the last clinic west of the city... By Alexa Garcia-Ditta 8/27/2014
Best Karaoke Night

Best Karaoke Night

Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013
How Rebates Have the Texas Film Industry Playing Catch Up To its Neighbors

How Rebates Have the Texas Film Industry Playing Catch Up To its Neighbors

Screens: See if you can spot the common thread that is pulling at the seams of the Texas film industry. On NBC’s The Night Shift, a stock-written staff... By Matt Stieb 8/27/2014
Calendar

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

Texas Book Festival — San Antonio Edition

Interview with Glenn Frankel

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo


Perhaps we can never know the full truth of what happened, but how did Cynthia Ann Parker’s story begin, and how was it modified and embellished over the decades?

Well, the basic story is pretty simple. A nine-year-old girl is with her extended family, they’ve settled in central Eastern Texas on a fortified farm, and one day in May of 1836, a group of Kiowa and Comanches come along and attack. Five people are killed, including her father and her grandfather, and five young people are captured, including Cynthia Ann. She spends 24 years with the Comanche, she marries a Comanche, she has three Comanche children, and then one day in December 1860, another group of raiders come to the village she’s living in, only this time it’s the U.S. Cavalry and Texas Rangers. And the people around her, the dear ones, are killed again. She and her little daughter Prairie Flower, a baby, are captured. It seems like [the soldiers are] about to kill her—she looks like a Comanche woman—but then they notice she has blue eyes, and so they take her back to Camp Cooper [in present-day Throckmorton County]. They figure out along the way this must be Cynthia Ann Parker. She’s already sort of a known mythic figure in Texas history. They get in touch with her family, and she’s returned to them. The only problem is of course that she’s become a Comanche. She doesn’t want to be back with the Texans. She doesn’t want to be embraced in Christendom. She wants to be back with the Comanche family, with her sons, with her husband, with her village. And so it becomes a very tragic tale for the second time. She’s a traumatized victim of the Comanche-Texan wars.

And in the meantime, people have been looking for her.

Her uncle, James, who had been on the settlement, who escaped the attack, comes searching for her and the other four young people who’d been captured. And he manages over time to get the other four back, but he never gets Cynthia Ann back. He writes a narrative of his own account. And James is telling the story both to justify what he’s done and who he is. So immediately, right from the start with Cynthia Ann, you have people coming along, taking the basic story, embellishing it a bit, changing parts of it to fit their needs and their sensibility. In the same way, after this raid [where] the Texas Rangers and the Cavalry free her, people like “Sul” Ross, who was the Texas Ranger captain helping to lead that raid, described what happened, and his version of it changed over time. So everybody uses this basic simple tale and tells it the way they need to tell it, and gradually, it’s very hard to sort the fact from fiction. There are very few facts that really are reliable that we can count on. So my book becomes as much about the making of the myth, and how that happens over time, and how each generation comes along and re-tells this thing to fit their own needs and their own sensibility. And what started as a simple story becomes the basic Texas foundational myth.

Texas Book Festival — San Antonio Edition
  • The Texas Book Festival starts a chapter in San Antonio San Antonio sometimes gets knocked for not being literary, or even literate, enough for such a big city with such grand “creative class” ambitions. | 4/10/2013
  • Interview with Char Miller At War Over the Environment: Two Experts on the Politics of Parks and the Natural World with George Bristol and Char Miller | 4/10/2013
  • Interview with Lawrence Wright In his newest book, Going Clear, Austin-based journalist Lawrence Wright profiles Scientology, a new American religion that, while ubiquitous among the... | 4/10/2013
  • Interview with Glenn Frankel You know what they say, writing about filming is like painting about mixology, or something. By many accounts Pulitzer prize-winning Glenn Frankel has reversed... | 4/10/2013
  • Interview with Hipolito Acosta The Shadow Catcher: A U.S. Agent Infiltrates Mexico’s Deadly Crime Cartels | 4/10/2013
  • Interview with Ricardo Ainslie Ricardo Ainslie frequented Juárez during its most violent years, as war between the Sinaloa and Juárez cartels raged and soaked the city in blood. | 4/10/2013
  • Interview with Laurie Ann Guerrero Laurie Ann Guerrero’s collection Tongue in the Mouth of the Dying won the 2012 Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize and was published February 15 by University of... | 4/10/2013
  • Interview with Nan Cuba You Can’t Go Home Again: Fiction about Family Secrets with Nan Cuba and Andrew Porter | 4/10/2013
We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus