Spirit of the Alamo

If you're an Alamo fan—and even if you aren't—you'll find these fifteen titles worth your while.


The Alamo: An Epic Told From Both Sides (2002), by Jack Jackson. This Austin-based author contributed raunchy comics to underground newspapers in the sixties. Today his pen-and-ink style—though still occasionally violent or risque—is also polished and appealing. Since Jackson is a historian and cartographer as well as a writer, his graphic novels deliver academic accuracy along with visual appeal. Check out his other Texas mega-comics, including the classic Comanche Moon, the story of Indian captive Cynthia Ann Parker and her son, chief Quanah Parker.

Alamo Movies (1991), by Frank Thompson. There’s only one thing wrong with this delightful compendium of Alamo movies: It’s out of print. But it’s well worth searching for. Thompson, a Hollywood screenwriter who has penned several other Alamo works, lists everything from the first film, a ten-minute moving picture in 1911, to a made-for- TV movie seventy-five years later starring a then-unknown Alec Baldwin. Thompson also includes lists of documentaries, lost films, movies with Alamo cameos, and more. To the publishers of Texas and throughout the world: Reprint this, with all dispatch.

The Alamo Reader: A Study in History (2003), edited by Todd Hansen. This is the book of the moment for Alamophiles, not only because of its immense size and scope, but also because Hansen, a University of Texas alum, is a dark horse among Serious Alamo Guys. The Reader divides its 837 pages into five marathon-length chapters, with each neatly organized around a general source of information on the mission-fort: the people inside it, the Mexicans and their allies, the residents of San Antonio and vicinity, and so on. This approach is a refreshing change from the usual chronological method, and Hansen provides apt, succinct annotations to boot.

Alamo Traces: New Evidence and New Conclusions (2003), by Thomas Ricks Lindley. An impeccably researched book, Alamo Traces was fifteen years in the making. Lindley haunted libraries around the state and consulted thousands of sources. Much of it is likely too esoteric for the average Sunday-afternoon scholar, but the chapter on Sam Houston and the material on the de la Pena diary are worth a careful perusal.

Blood of Noble Men: The Alamo Siege and Battle (1999), Alan C. Huffines. Huffines is a revisionist and one of the two main consultants on the new Alamo movie starring Billy Bob Thornton and Dennis Quaid, so you know he’s not going to take the “Give ‘em what-fer, Davy” route. The title alone lets you know his book is far from a cold, dry tome, and because Huffines is a non-academic historian, he doesn’t let his prose bog down in pedantic mega-minutiae.

Eyewitness to the Alamo (1996), Bill Groneman. Eyewitness is an effecting and highly traditional view of the siege and fall of the Alamo. Like Huffines, Groneman is a self-trained Alamologist, but unlike him, the former New York City fire captain is a staunch supporter of the romantic to-the-death view. The author became famous

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