Forget the Alamo ~ by Burrough, Tomlinson, and Stanford

Yes!  Oh what a good book this one is!  I should have got the Kindle version along with the wonderfully well narrated Audible version to start with,  but I didn’t until it was almost too late and I was too deep into the book –  like I was on page 200 or so out of 344 pages of narrative.  But after getting the Kindle version I actually started over because the book is so well-written, informative, and entertaining I wanted to catch the footnotes and source notes and pictures (there are quite a few it turns out) and so on.  

Forget the Alamo: The Rise and Fall of an American Myth
By Bryan Burrough, Chris Tomlinson, and Jason Stanford
2021 / (416 pages)
Read by Fred Sanders 12h 15m
Rating: 10 / US history –
(Both read and listened )

It’s NOT a funny book in spite of the title and the cover and the introductory material. It’s the work of professional journalists and as such, an examination of the truth vs the myth(s) about the Alamo. But it’s also a historiography because the way the tale of the Alamo is told has differed since the days of its inception.  And the ways it is told now is different. It depends on many things in the teller’s point of view.  No doubt the way it will be told in the future will also differ. Why do the versions differ? What is the truth?  Read the book.

It’s probably better for those who aren’t really familiar with Texas history so it was perfect for me.

The three Texas-based authors present an Introduction and get on with the background to the Battle of the Alamo which was fought in 1836 at a mission in San Antonio, Texas, then a territory of Mexico. Settlers from the US slave states were relocating themselves.  Too bad – slavery under Mexican rule was also against the law. But the American newcomers did it anyway because they really needed the money to pay off their debts. And slaves were auctioned in front of the Spanish mission known as the Alamo.   

True enough, basically, that William Barret Travis and James Bowie died at the Alamo (Stephen Austin probably didn’t die at the scene), but that’s become almost all that’s known these days about the “heroes” thanks in part to Disney and John Wayne.  Austin, Bowie and Crockett were not heroes at the time. 

The book goes through the decades of Alamo neglect and mercenary purposes then closes on the ideas the white supremacists have brought to the table vs the rights of the Texans of other lineage who also fought in what has become a symbol of “fighting to the death for liberty.”  It’s actually been a racist struggle the whole time and both politics and entertainment have been part and parcel of it. It doesn’t seem to end.

And there have been so many fascinating “Texas-sized” characters over the almost two centuries since the actual battle, so the book covers a lot of territory in its 400+ pages.  Every word is worth it.

https://www.npr.org/2021/06/16/1006907140/forget-the-alamo-texas-history-bryan-burrough

https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/what-people-today–including-phil-collins–get-wrong-about-the-alamo/2021/06/24/950b4426-9095-11eb-a74e-1f4cf89fd948_story.html

https://www.hccommunityjournal.com/article_c7f2e53a-e3ef-11eb-8e87-1793966cc084.html

https://www.honestaustin.com/2021/07/17/texas-book-review-forget-the-alamo/

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