Thursday, January 14, 2010

Alamo Bookshelf 4: Texans in Revolt, After the Alamo & James Bowie, The Life of a Bravo

TEXANS IN REVOLT - Alwyn Barr (1990)
The Alamo battle of 1836 is so famous it overshadows the battle of 1835, known as the Battle of San Antonio, when Texians fought street-by-street through the town, ousted a force of Mexican soldiers from the Alamo and sent them packing. The embarrassed Mexican commander, General Cos, was Santa Anna’s brother-in-law, which went a long way towards motivating Santa Anna to lead his army north to crush the upstart rebels. Also covers the Battle of Conception, where Jim Bowie was in co-command.

AFTER THE ALAMO - Robert Scott (2000)
After reading the book above and finding what happened before the Alamo, you’ll be ready for the rest of the story. Among other stories, this tells of Col. James Walker Fannin and the 300-odd men in the mission of Goliad (90 miles from the Alamo) who retreated, surrendered and were foully executed by one of Santa Anna's generals. The happy ending winds up at the Battle of San Jacinto (pictured on cover), where Sam Houston’s rag-tag army whips the Mexicans, captures Santa Anna and wins independence for Texas.

JAMES BOWIE, THE LIFE OF A BRAVO -  C. L. Douglas (1944)
Hard facts about Big Jim Bowie are hard to come by, and this was the first attempt at a biography. Much of the book is admittedly based on legends, but is plenty danged entertaining anyway. Far as I know, this is the first and only edition of this book. 65 years later, there has still been only one other adult Bowie biography, and the only really authoritative book on his life is technically a juvenile.

Peruse earlier books on the Alamo Bookshelf HERE.


Richard Prosch said...

I've never been to the Alamo, but would like to visit one day. My grandparents were there a few times and said it was smaller than they'd expected.

Evan Lewis said...

Most folks say that, because there's so little of it left - just the chapel, a few rooms of the convent/barracks and a few scraps of wall. The city should raze a few city blocks and rebuild the entire compound as it was.

Fred Blosser said...

Evan re a Bowie biography, William Davis' THREE ROADS TO THE ALAMO tracks Crockett, Bowie, and Travis. Although it isn't a solo Bowie bio, Davis' research seems pretty thorough. In fiction, Paul Wellman's THE IRON MISTRESS still makes pretty good reading. Last time I visited the Alamo (2008), there was a nice display on the history of the Bowie knife.

Evan Lewis said...

Thanks for stopping by, Fred!
You're right, Davis's research is great. The bones I have to pick with him lie in how he uses it, as I'll address in a future episode of this series. And it's possible some of the fiction in The Iron Mistress has worked its way into history books. Didn't see the knife display on my last trip (2006?). Hope it's still there when I return.