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Vol. XVII, no. 2 TCU Library Newsletter, Web Edition March 2005


Photograph of Scott ZeschScott Zesch is the winner of the third TCU Texas Book Award for The Captured: A True Story of Abduction by Indians on the Texas Frontier. Presented by Friends of the TCU Library and TCU Press, the award recognizes the best book about Texas published during the previous two years. Zesch will be honored at the Friends annual banquet on April 13, when he will offer remarks and receive the $5,000 prize and a certificate.

The book is a fascinating historical account of nine Texas Hill children captured by the Apaches and Comanches between 1865 and 1871.

One of those chronicled is Adolph Korn, Zesch’s great-great-great uncle. It was a chance discovery of his grave that led to his obsession with the subject. Korn was 10 years old when on New Year’s Day 1870 he was kidnapped by the Apaches and lived with them for the next three years.

Cover of bookThe book was extensively researched in Washington, D.C., Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. In addition he interviewed several descendants of children who had grown up in tribes, elders and had access to family sources not previously available.

The Captured also touches upon problems of human interaction, assimilation. Zesch has commented that "It confirmed for me what I learned in the Peace Corps," "and that is that the best way to overcome stereotyped ideas about people of a different culture is actually to live among them and get to know them as individuals."

Spur-award winning author, Elmer Kelton has stated, "Most who survived the initial ordeal became Indian at heart and never quite reconciled to white society . . . The Captured vividly tells it like it was without yielding to myth or political correctness."

A native Texan, Zesch received degrees from Texas A&M University and Harvard Law School. He taught secondary education in Kenya as a member of the Peace Corps and in recent years served as election supervisor in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia. An editor for three years, he has been a freelance writer since 1993. He now divides his time between Art, TX (population 3) and New York City.

Judges were Fran Vick, emeritus director of the UNT Press; Ruth McAdams, chair of the English Department at Tarrant County College’s South campus who specializes in Texas Literature and James Lee, retired emeritus professor and former chair of English at the University of North Texas.

Honorable mentions were given to Henry Chappell for Blood Kin, Bob Cherry for Little Rain, Don Graham for The Kings of Texas and Philip Parisi for Texas Post Office Murals.

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