Winner of the TCU-Texas Book Award
On New Year's Day in 1870, ten-year-old Adolph Korn's life as the son of a poor German-speaking farmer ended, and his life as a Comanche began. On that day, an Indian raiding party kidnapped the boy from his neighbor's pasture in the Texas Hill Country. With little hope of finding him alive and no resources—material or political—his loved ones had to eventually give him up for dead.
However, Adolph survived his capture, and soon thrived amid the rough, nomadic life of the Plains Indians. Within a year, Korn had become one of the Comanche's fiercest warriors. For nearly three years, he fought with his fellow Comanches against the encroaching white settlers, buffalo hunters, and U.S. soldiers who threatened their survival. But Korn was forcibly returned to his parents when the army "captured" him for a second time—after which, unsurprisingly, Korn held fast to his Native American ways and never found a place in white society. He spent his last years living alone in a cave, an eccentric oddity forgotten by his family.
That is, until Scott Zesch—a distant descendant of Korn's—stumbled over his relative's barely marked grave in a neglected corner of an old cemetery in Mason, Texas. Determined to know more about his ancestor—and to understand how a timid farm boy like Adolph could have become so thoroughly 'Indianized' in such a short time—Zesch tracked down surviving relatives, dug for primary sources in archives across the West, talked with Comanche elders, and expanded his search to include other child captives from the region, who also became some of the most Indianized whites in history.
Set against a rich historical backdrop of intense political wrangling and bloody confrontations between the U.S. government and Native Americans, The Captured is a vital work of Western historical scholarship as well as a true account of what settlers considered a 'fate worse than death'—an important study that details the dramatic lives of Adolph Korn and eight other children abducted by Comanches and Apaches in the Texas Hill Country.