Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Alamo Bookshelf 2: Alamo Anthology, Gentleman from the Cane & The Alamo: An Epic

ALAMO ANTHOLOGY edited by William R. Chemerka (2005)
Since 1986, The Alamo Journal, under the steady hand of Bill Chemerka, has been the leading edge of Alamo scholarship. I've been a subscriber for several years, but wish like heck I'd been getting it from the beginning. This volume collects 11 outstanding articles from the Journal, running the gamut from Crockett, Travis and Bowie to Santa Anna and the the Mexican Army. If I had my way, the mag's entire run would be collected in book form, but this is a great start.

DAVY CROCKETT, GENTLEMAN FROM THE CANE by James C Kelly and Frederick S. Voss (1986)
This book catalogs an exhibition that graced the National Portrait Gallery and the Tennessee Statue Museum in 1986, the 200th anniversary of Crockett's birth (Dang! I missed it.) Featured are such treasures as two of Davy's rifles, a bench he made for a courthouse, a gold watch he carried to Texas, and representations of six portraits done from life.

THE ALAMO, AN EPIC by Michael Lind (1997)
This is an amazing achievement. A truly epic poem, in the Iliad and Odyssey tradition, consisting of 858 7-line stanzas that cover the Alamo story in great and authentic detail. If Lind doesn't have something to say about every known defender, I hope I may be shot. I haven't read the whole thing, but those passages I've perused are nicely done. I suspect it would be best appreciated read aloud.


JerThom said...

As a Crockett specialist, which movie version do you find does the best representation of the Alamo? And which do you think portrays the spirit of the Alamo best?

Laurie Powers said...

I don't know if I could read an epic poem of that size, but it's definitely an achievement. Writing it AND reading it.

Richard Robinson said...

So specialized I don't even know what to say, other than gee, that's specialized stuff. Cap'n Bob would probably find this interesting, if he hasn't already read them all.

Oh, my reading for last year is up.

Evan Lewis said...

Tough question, JerThom! Not sure I have ready answers. The best film treatment of the Alamo I've seen was never filmed. I refer to the "novelization" of the most recent film by Frank Thompson. He based the book on an early version of the screenplay. When I finally saw the film, I was really disappointed, because it wasn't the same story. My initial reaction was that director John Lee Hancock should be shot. On reflection, I can see he probably did the best he could given the money restraints he was saddled with. And a decent film of the book as written by Thompson would likely be as long as the Lord of the Rings trilogy. But hey, the Alamo deserves it.

Much as I love The Iliad and The Odyssey, Laurie (I first read them when I was 10), I prefer the prose versions. Not sure I have the patience for this much poetry.

Appreciate your looking in, Rick. I'll try not to do more than two Alamo posts in a row, but this stuff is in me and it's got to come out.

Ray said...

An interesting collection of books there.
As for Alamo movies - the John Wayne version is supposedly accurate just takes a while to get to the actual battle. The modern version gives a sense of period but the battle for the Alamo seemed over and done with faster than the gunfight at the O K Corral.

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