Book Review: Forging the Star by David S. Turk
A bit of a disclaimer: I was contacted by the University of North Texas Press to review Forging the Star on my website before it comes out this month. I received a free review copy of the book, but did not let that cloud my judgement as I read. I have links to the University of North Texas Press website and the Amazon page (both places you can purchase the book for $29.95) below the review.
Forging the Star: The Official Modern History of the United States Marshals Service by David S. Turk is a fantastic read for anyone interested in American history. It’s well written, dedicated to facts, and structured to near-perfection.
When picking up this book, I initially thought it would be mostly discussing the U.S. Marshals role in social movements throughout American history; but I was delighted to realize that it goes much further than that. While each section of the book is specifically designed to organize the book chronologically throughout historical eras, each chapter is filled to the brim with impressing stories sporting plenty of primary resources linking to an expansive appendix and bibliography. So, whether you see history through individual stories or sociological breakthroughs, Forging the Star is a fantastic way to learn about the history of the United States Marshals.
From Clive W. Palmer’s organizational skills to Jimmy Hoffa’s federal trials and disappearance, my personal favorite stories in this book come from the chapters which go deep in detail in America’s era of social turmoil. But, in case you’re not so interested in desegregation and human rights, Forging the Star does an excellent job at covering most of modern history in the United States of America. Although the official story ends shortly after 9/11, around the time David Turk began writing the book, Forging the Star ends with an epilogue touching on Hurricane Katrina and other events which marked the decade afterwards.
Covering the racial integration in public schools within the deep south to the duties of U.S. Marshals in our newest era of terrorism, this book surely lives up to the title it sports on the front cover. Just about every question you could think of is answered, in brutal and intricate detail, in the book’s 384 main pages. David S. Turk brings the history of a more obscure aspect of American history to light, and does so in a way that is interesting, well researched, and even captivating from start to finish.
I would recommend this book for anyone interested in American history and the social constructs of police forces and militias. We are currently residing in an era of American history which will go down as the revival for civil rights, as shown through Black Lives Matter and the spread of divisions rippling through the effects of our society. It is important to understand where history resides, how laws work and are effected by the citizens that keep them afloat, and how the government agencies work when it comes to these movements.
Although the U.S. Marshals don’t necessarily sport the same amount of power that they did back when they were first institutionalized, Forging the Star is an excellent way to get educated on a subject that can be considered relevant and interesting to the minds of historians.
Forging the Star: The Official Modern History of the United States Marshals Service
University of North Texas Press: http://untpress.unt.edu/catalog/3713