One Ranger

One Ranger: A Memoir
H. Joaquin Jackson with David Marion Wilkinson
University of Texas Press, 2005

“Joaquin Jackson’s frank and colorful account of his long career as a modern-day Texas Ranger thrills like an action novel, yet the stories are true, sometimes funny, sometimes tragic, but always gripping. I could hardly put the book down…The writing is superb.”
Elmer Kelton, voted the Greatest Western Novelist of the Twentieth Century by the Western Writers of America and award-winning author of The Time It Never Rained and The Good Old Boys

The Audio version of One Ranger: A Memoir can be found here.
Critical Praise for One Ranger: A Memoir

“As a memoir, ONE RANGER (UT Press) is all over the map, but, oh, the places you’ll go in this collection of anecdotes from retired Texas Ranger H. JOAQUIN JACKSON, with DAVID MARION WILKINSON. Jackson serves as a folksy but savvy tour guide to a career that stretched from 1966 to 1993 and from a prison riot shoot-out at Carrizo Springs to a horrific homicide in Big Bend’s Colorado Canyon, with countless stops in between. Jackson painstakingly argues that he’s simply telling “one ranger’s” story from his personal perspective. But the writing smacks of the truths that are hard-won from a lifetime of dealing out justice-sometimes on horseback, like the Lone Ranger used to do-in a lonesome terrain where your word is only as good as the gun and the reputation that back it up.”
Mike Shea, Texas Monthly

“[The Authors] chronicle an exciting lifetime forged from a Depression-era upbringing with an abusive father and an alcoholic mother through years of stake-outs and investigations while trying to raise a family. Through these times Jackson stoically endures the disappointment of trusted comrades going to the other side of the law, along with his own guilt by association, and now finally presents his side. He minces no words in recounting the circumstances that put his first son in prison for life on a murder charge—something that, despite his Texas tough-guy persona, must have been excruciating to write…Moreover, it is a story of a man and his character—a character that puts duty, honor, honesty, and integrity above all else. Jackson did not lead a perfect life—none of us have—but he covered his ground and isn’t afraid to tell his story, warts and all.”
Dave Campbell, Editor-in-Chief, Shooting Times (Sept. 2005)

“Texas Ranger memoirs are about as rare as a prison inmate willing to admit his guilt. Good ones are even scarcer. But H. Joaquin Jackson and David Marion Wilkinson’s One Ranger [is] as finely crafted as a Ranger’s hand-tooled leather gun belt…Jackson…broke the Ranger mold by reaching out to the Mexican-American community in South Texas, even helping a convicted goat thief named Johnny Rodriguez make it to the big time in the music world…[Jackson] had handled a lot of high profile cases before his 1993 retirement, from helping to calm racial unrest in Crystal City in 1972 to assisting the CIA in training Afghan Mujahedeen to fight the Soviet Army. And he tells those stories compellingly in his memoir, a book that reads more like a novel than an autobiography…Jackson also has a fine sense of humor…but [his] pleasant demeanor could fall apart like a cheap suit when someone crossed him or the laws of the state.”
The Austin American-Statesman (Sunday Book Section, April 3, 2005)

“…a biography that reads like a novel…a good example of what the Texas Rangers are, Jackson’s adventures and exploits reveal a time and place in Texas history likely not to be seen again. A man with deep compassion for human beings, an intolerance for injustice, and a great respect for the law, Jackson appears in this book to be larger than life…In compelling and often lyrical prose, Jackson and Wilkinson spin a true tale that could make memorable fiction. A better collaboration would be hard to imagine…An irresistible book for lovers of Texas history, this is an even better read for anyone wondering how humans reach beyond boundaries, handle risks, and give back to the world.
Persimmon Hill (spring 2005)

“The very image of a tall, rugged Texas Ranger, Joaquin Jackson has graced the cover of Texas Monthly and been a friend to Hollywood notables like Tommy Lee Jones and Nick Nolte. He’s even had movie roles for himself. But for 27 years Jackson didn’t just play the role of a Texas Ranger; he lived it. And now in a candid autobiography written with Spur Award winner David Marion Wilkinson, he tells about it.”
The Houston Chronicle (“Zest” Entertainment Insert, May 8, 2005)

One Ranger is more than just another Texas Ranger book…it’s rich in history, events, and people. Joaquin Jackson’s life and career encompassed compassion, humility, unrelenting toughness, shootouts, movie sets, and gut-wrenching personal tragedy…Jackson presents his life in frank, laconic, colorful language marked by a wry wit. This approach quickly engages and holds the reader…”
San Antonio Express-News (Feb. 27, 2005)

“This is an engrossing book and once you start turning pages, you will not be able to stop. If somebody doesn’t turn this story into a motion picture, that would be a crime. Jackson is the kind of American lawman we wish all lawmen were like. Reach the final page, and you will want to stand up and cheer.”
Dave Workman, Senior Editor The New Gun Week (June 10, 2005)

“…Never self-serving, Jackson chronicles his career in vignettes while praising many colleagues…this remains a powerful, moving narrative and is expertly arranged. One Ranger is as fascinating as the memoirs of the 19th century Rangers James Gillett and George Durham, and the histories of Frederick Wilkins and Walter Prescott Webb—and equally as important.”
True West Magazine (May 2005) *included excerpt of “For Love and Horses”

“Joaquin Jackson spent some 27 years as a Texas Ranger. Those years involved murders, manhunts, jailbreaks, work with various movie actors, and the discovery of country music singer Johnny Rodriguez. Jackson tells all this and more in his great book, One Ranger: A Memoir.”
Shooting Times (July 2005)

“[One Ranger] is the most vivid account of Texas living in Texas words that I’ve ever seen. The account of the murder in the rafting trip down the canyon was chilling. His oldest son’s fate was almost too hurtful to read.”
George Cowan, Ph.D., Winner of the Enrico Fermi Award and founder of the Santa Fe Institute

“This is a fine book, a good read, and a needed glimpse of an aspect of twentieth-century Rangering hitherto neglected.”
Robert M. Utley, Author of A Century of Frontier Defense Texas Ranger Dispatch (Summer 2005)

Read an excerpt from One Ranger: A Memoir

Watch an interview with Joaquin Jackson conducted by Evan Smith of Texas Monthly