The Texian Legacy Association
Book Reviews

I'm still working on the exact format of this page so bear with me. If you'd like to post a review, email me the name of the book, the review, number of stars you rate the book, your name and email address. For the time being, I'm limiting the books on this page to non-fiction books concerning Texas from, roughly 1830 to 1840. If there's enough interest, we can open it up to childrens books, early 19th century fashion books, books of fiction, ... etc.

Here is a page of book reviews by our friend Jeffrey Dane. He reviews 5 books and an artist and collector of Bowie knives, Joseph Musso. The books are:
The Alamo Almanac and Book of Lists by William R. Chemerka
The Alamo Story: From Early History to Current Conflicts by J.R. Edmondson
The Alamo - An Illustrated History by George Nelson
The Alamo - A Cultural History by Frank Thompson
An Illustrated History of Texas Forts by Rod Timanus
An interesting collection, each of which earned JEFFREY DANE

100 Days In Texas, The Alamo Letters
by Wallace Chariton, 1990, Wordware Publishing

One of my first and most prized books on the Alamo (before,during and after) the only bad thing about this book is that it's out of print. I found mine at a used book store.This book as the title states deals with the 100 days in Texas starting December 9, 1835 till March 17, 1836 when Sam Houston first wrote that the Alamo must be avenged. This book let's you know what was going on in diary entry and letters to their President, Council Hall, Santa Anna, General Cos, Travis, Bowie, leaders, Family and friends,etc. You will read how much Bowie charged the provisional government of Texas for him to use his own horse and who was wounded, killed or had their leg amputated in the battle for the Alamo in 1835. In my own personal opinion I can't say enough good things about this book it will be well worth the hunt. Bill Aycock

The Texian Iliad, A Military History Of The Texas Revolution
by Stephen L. Hardin, 1994, University of Texas Press

Here is a rare book indeed: a scholarly work at home in the research library that is also a well-written story to engage the reader. It covers military movements, battles, tactics and strategies, triumphs and failures; heroic actions and chivalrous acts; and the human frailties and blunders so often overlooked in the name of legend. It was a time of transitions; political, as the shift from Spanish rule to Mexican Republic to Federalist Mexico, and military, the shift from Napoleonic linear tactics and smoothbore muskets to open order riflemen as skirmishers. Of major benefit to the living historian are the glimpses into the motives of the common soldiers and soldados, whether "army or prison", career soldier, Constitutionalist, for Independence, or "jes' 'cause thar's a fight on". I learned a lot just from the first reading, and intend to read it several times more to reinforce what I have learned and pick up on what I missed the first go 'round. I heartily recommend it. George Rollow

Uniforms of the Alamo and the Texas Revolution and the Men who Wore Them
by Bruce Marshall, 2003, Schiffer Publishing (a Schiffer Military History Book)

This book flies in the face of popular understanding about several facets of the Texas Revolution. One of these is that Texian troops were all clad in frontier garb.Mr. Marshall's research revealed uniforms among the Texians from the Siege of Bejar to San Jacinto, and shows color prints of his paintings of these same uniforms: New Orleans Greys (Bejar, Alamo, Goliad/Coleto), Alabama Red Rovers (Goliad/Coleto), a possibile uniform for Col. W.B. Travis (did Texian uniforms arrive in Bejar before the battle? Such were ordered, and may have arrived), and many others. His plates also show Mexican uniforms of the period: lancers, sappers, Tres Villas, Matamoros, white fatigues, and more.
Another facet of popular history this book disputes is the leadership of Sam Houston. I will let the reader make up his own mind about this, as I am doing for myself. The data presented is definitely food for careful thought. George Rollow

A Line in the Sand : The Alamo in Blood and Memory
by James Stuart Olson, James N. Olson, Randy W. Roberts, New York / 2001

For those of you who are looking for an in-depth account of the Battle of the Alamo, this is not it. However, that doesn't keep this book from being a fine read. The book gives a very basic account of the Texas Revolution and the battle in 1836, but soon hits its stride with lesser known areas of the Alamo's history. The topics covered by the authors include Clara Driscoll's and Adina de Zavala's attempts to save the Alamo around the turn of the century, the story of the huge impact Disney's Davy Crockett series had on the Alamo and Texas culture in the mid-1950's and the many political agendas and controversies people have tried to further by using the Alamo legend. The book also gives a very concise and informative account of Santa Anna's campaign against the Mexican Federalists in Zacatecas in 1835. Students of the Texas Revolution often hear of the bloody and brutal suppression of the Zacatecans, but seldom are exposed to the details. After reading this, one can understand why Federalists like Mexia, de Zavala and many others fled to Texas in front of Santa Anna's army. Charlie Yates

Rx, take one cannon : the Gonzales come & take it cannon of October 1835.
by Jane Bradfield, 1981, Shiner, TX

This book is the transcendent documentation for all those who want to believe that the small signal cannon once owned Dr. Pat Wagner of shiner and now on display in the Gonzales Museum is the same cannon the Mexican Army tried to take from the Texian colonists in October of 1835. The attempted confiscation of the cannon precipitated an open rebellion with Mexico; the Texas Revolution and, ultimately, Texas' independence. The only problem is that I know of no serious Texas historian who believes the cannon in the museum and the cannon of the 1835 incident are the same piece of ordnance. I have never believed them to be the same and I believe anyone doing the slightest bit of reseach would come to the same conclusion. The "proofs" given in the book to support the idea that the two cannons are one and the same are so convoluted, illogical, poorly researched and unreasonable that rebuttal is all but impossible. This book may not be the worst book ever written about an aspect of Texas history, but it is certainly in the top two. I was lucky enough to be given this book by a friend of mine for my Texas Revolution book collection. I recommend every collector of Texana get one as an example of how very weird Texas History can get. Charlie Yates

The Indians of Texas, From Prehistoric to Modern Times
by W. W. Newcomb, Jr., 1961, University of Texas Press.

If you ever wanted to know about Texas Indians, from the notorious to the nearly forgotten, this is the reference book to use. Most of the sources for first hand information date to the Spanish colonial records or reports in the Republic period. How they lived, what they ate, their wars, their alliances, and in some cases the fate of their tribes, all recorded here in one place. The book is authoritative, accessible, and still in print after over 40 years. Michael Thompson

Commodore Moore and the Texas Navy
by Tom Henderson Wells, 1960, University of Texas Press.

There are newer books on the subject of the Texas Navy, and when I read them I will review them, but for the longest time this seemed to be the only popular book available. Taking over the struggling Texas Navy in 1839, after the death of its first leader, Commodore Charles Edward Hawkins, fighting President Houston at his back (the book is not complementary to Houston), and Mexico in front, Commodore Moore led the Texas Navy from 1839 to 1846. The navy’s finest hour was at the battle of Campeche in 1843, the first, last and only time in world history that sailing ships prevailed over steam powered ships in combat. This is the battle etched into the cylinders of early Colt revolvers (1851 Navy Colt). Good book, easy to read, a different perspective of the Republic years. This book is not as readily available as it once was. Michael Thompson

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