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"Review: Forget the Alamo" Topic

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©1994-2023 Bill Armintrout
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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian31 Aug 2021 7:31 a.m. PST

As the ancient American struggle over how much truth to tell about the traditional oppression of minorities bubbles over, with arguments over everything from the teaching of critical race theory to the mention of anything gay in the presence of anyone under 18, this engaging new book about the history of the Alamo arrives at the perfect moment…

The Guardian: link

brave face31 Aug 2021 10:44 a.m. PST

Good find!

rmaker31 Aug 2021 11:21 a.m. PST

Consider the source.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP31 Aug 2021 12:17 p.m. PST

Forget this book.

Perris070731 Aug 2021 1:03 p.m. PST


CAPTAIN BEEFHEART31 Aug 2021 1:51 p.m. PST

nothing here to see folks, just move on.

rvandusen Supporting Member of TMP31 Aug 2021 4:23 p.m. PST

It is certainly true that part of the motivation for the Texian uprising was about slavery, but it is also true that Mexico in 1836 had its own racial and class caste system. History is complicated. Santa Ana was a foolish brute and not a person worth looking up to. He did not need to massacre the prisoners at Goliad, or at the Alamo for that matter, but did so anyway. The Texians showed great restraint when he was captured at San Jacinto. It might also be noted that Santa Ana executed more Mexicans during the various coups and revolutions he participated in than the settlers ever did in the southwest. I suggest one reads up on the Yucatan Caste War for a history that most are unfamiliar with.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP31 Aug 2021 4:50 p.m. PST

rvandeusen, yes. And it is hard to make the argument about slavery in light of Lorenzo de Zavala's role:

Lorenzo de Zavala

Born October 3, 1788
Tecoh, Yucatán, Viceroyalty of New Spain (now Mexico)
Died November 15, 1836 (aged 48)
Channelview, Republic of Texas (now U.S.)

Manuel Lorenzo Justiniano de Zavala y Sanchez (October 14, 1788 – November 15, 1836), known simply as Lorenzo de Zavala, was a Mexican and later Tejano physician, politician, diplomat and author.[1] Born in Yucatán under Spanish rule, he was closely involved in drafting the constitution for the First Federal Republic of Mexico in 1824 after Mexico won independence from Spain. Years later, through a remarkable series of events, he also helped in drafting a constitution for Mexico's rebellious enemy at the time, the Republic of Texas, to secure independence from Mexico in 1836.[2] Zavala was said to have had a keen intellect and was fluent in multiple languages.[3]

Zavala was one of the most prominent liberals in the era of the First Republic.[4] Since his youth, Zavala was an indefatigable believer in the principle of democratic representative government.[5] As a young man he founded several newspapers and wrote extensively, espousing democratic reforms — writings which led to his imprisonment by the Spanish crown. While imprisoned, he learned English and studied medicine; after his release, he practiced medicine for two years before entering politics.[1]

Over his career, he served in many different capacities including the Spanish Cortes (legislature) in Madrid representing Yucatán, and in Mexico's Senate.[3] He became Mexico's Minister of Finance and served as Ambassador to France and Governor of the State of Mexico.[1] In 1829, when the Mexican government was overthrown, Zavala was forced into exile and moved to the United States for two years. He wrote a book about U.S. political culture during this time and also traveled extensively in Europe. With his diplomatic experience and linguistic skills, Zavala was well received by foreign governments.[6]

After exile, he returned to Mexico and was appointed as Minister to France. While serving in Paris, Zavala saw that Mexican President Santa Anna was becoming a military-backed dictator, ignoring the Mexican Constitution that Zavala had helped write. Zavala resigned his position in protest and spoke out against Santa Anna.[7] After this schism, Zavala could not return home and fled to Texas, then a Mexican territory, where he owned land. He eventually became an advocate of Texas independence to the point of helping in the drafting of the Constitution of the Republic of Texas, personally designing its flag, and serving as Vice President.[8]

Some Mexicans consider Zavala a traitor for supporting Texas independence, while Texans consider him a founding father and state hero.[9] In modern-day Texas, both a county and a city are named in his honor, as well as many schools and public buildings including the Texas State Archives and Library Building in Austin.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP31 Aug 2021 5:04 p.m. PST

Simple geography probably ensured that most Anglo settlers in Texas would come from the south, and would want to bring slaves with them if they owned any. East Texas is part of the south and well suited to growing cotton. The Austins recruited their settlers in the south. Texas was part of the general westward migration from both slave states and free, and the two streams of people collided with resulting compromises (Missouri, 1820, then the Comp of 1850) and finally armed conflict in Kansas and then the Civil War. That was true within Texas, as well, as many German immigrants settled towns across Texas (e.g. New Braunfels, Fredericksburg, etc.) and opposed slavery and, in 1860, secession. But to say that the Texas Revolution was all or mostly about slavery is just not true. And people saying that should KNOW it is not true.

AussieAndy01 Sep 2021 12:04 a.m. PST

Even if you think that the book goes too far in one direction, is it not good to read things that come from perspectives other than your own and challenge some of the common historical views? Read what's out there and then make up your own mind is my motto.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP01 Sep 2021 5:20 a.m. PST

Yes, but that assumes you will read more than one book on a subject. Most people don't. Reading ONLY this book gives you a distorted picture.

Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP01 Sep 2021 10:17 a.m. PST

Well said doc.

SpuriousMilius01 Sep 2021 10:43 a.m. PST

One theory about this issue is that Sam Houston, a protege of Andrew Jackson, was an agent provacateur sent to encourage the Anglo Texans to break from Mexico & seek to join the U.S.

Personal logo The Virtual Armchair General Sponsoring Member of TMP01 Sep 2021 11:31 a.m. PST

Well said, Shagnasty!


robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP01 Sep 2021 2:32 p.m. PST

Bill, if you want people to take a book seriously, you'll have to stop linking to favorable reviews in The Guardian. It's the Völkischer Beobachter of the modern wacko left, and the mere fact that it is favorably reviewed by them makes the book suspect.

Bunkermeister Supporting Member of TMP01 Sep 2021 7:32 p.m. PST

There is not enough time in life to read all the good books so don't waste time on bad ones.

Mike Bunkermeister Creek
Bunker Talk blog

OSCS7402 Sep 2021 6:02 a.m. PST

Bunkermeister, +1 for me

Tom D103 Sep 2021 11:05 a.m. PST

Having gone to parochial grade and high school, I was exposed to the "Catholic" perspective that the Mexicans didn't allow slavery, while the presumably Protestant Anglos wanted it. Didn't stop me from rooting for John Wayne and Richard Widmark. And it nurtured a general skepticism for historical "revelations". Everything is there if you look hard enough.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP05 Sep 2021 5:02 a.m. PST

Heh. Yes. Though the ladies who saved the Alamo, Driscoll and deZavala, were both devout Catholics.



Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP10 Sep 2021 9:03 p.m. PST

Allow me to recomended…

Notes of the Mexican War, 1846-47-48: Comprising Incidents, Adventures and …


The Mexican War and Its Warriors: Comprising a Complete History of All the …



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