A biography of a typical martial adventurer of the early nineteenth-century United States. Through adventurism, romanticism, masculine studies, and other cultural lenses, this work illustrates how historical moments (US expansion, Civil War, and Reconstruction) influenced the life of one individual and how he expressed and derived personal meaning from the social and cultural currents of his time. Lane fought in the Texas Revolution, participated in the U.S.-Mexican War and the U.S. occupation of Mexico, sought gold in California and Arizona, fought for the South during the Civil War, assisted in the white "redemption" of his home county, and moderately succeeded at business and local politics.
Fronteras (download pdf) "Bryan is not content to offer a straightforward narrative of Lane's career. Rather, he seeks to shed light on the culture of American masculinity in which Lane operated. To that end, the author dwells upon topics that might not garner much attention in a less ambitious study, such as Lane's psychological need for recognition, his views on race, his attitude toward women . . . , as well as how he dealt with the absence of adventure in his declining years"--Sam W. Haynes
Western Historical Quarterly (download pdf) "[F]inally, we have a biography of a man who in many ways epitomized much of what was good and bad in the ordinary American frontiersman . . . . The Lane whom Bryan reveals to us is not necessarily admirable . . . . Lane's primary motivation is little more than a quest for adventure and excitement which, Bryan points out, played more of a role in national development than most modern Americans realize"--Charles M. Robinson III
East Texas Historical Journal (download pdf) "Bryan uses the latest arguments about gender and masculinity to portray Lane as a man who preferred danger to safety and manly camaraderie over the domesticity of marriage"--Charles Waite