This 2nd book in TSHA’s (Texas State Historical Association) Fred Rider Cotten Popular History Series (list of the series here) starts on December 4, 1835, with Ben Milam challenging the Texas rag tag army to attack the Mexican army under General Cos that was entrenched in San Antonio. The Texans pushed the Mexican army across the San Antonio River, leading Cos to negotiate terms to leave Texas forever.
But obviously that is not the end of the story. Ben Proctor’s concise but thorough history describes the build up, the battle and the aftermath. As with the other books in this series, the included black and white images and references are superb.
The Texas revolutionaries, appealing to words and ideas that inspired Americans, spread the word of Mexican oppression, causing a flood of volunteers from all parts of the young country. Proctor gives a good background on this, including a brief bio of Jim Bowie, sent to destroy the Alamo but partnering with Col. James Neill in declaring “we would rather die in these ditches than give them to the enemy.”
The arrival of William Barret Travis on February 3 and Davy Crockett on February 8 completed the legendary triumvirate. Proctor describes each, including the rivalry between Travis and Bowie, resolved ultimately through Bowie’s ongoing illness. He then moves to describe Santa Anna, bent on making a statement after Cos’ defeat. The description of Santa Anna’s army, including Mayan conscripts who did not speak Spanish, and the harsh march from Mexico to San Antonio, is particularly well written.
The commanders of the Alamo were surprised at the size of Santa Anna’s force, and set several legendary requests for aid. But, after many days of siege, cannon fire and nightly bugle calls, on March 6 the fort was breached, it’s defenders killed.
The Battle of the Alamo has 9 excellent black and white images, and is 40 pages in the print edition. This review is of the Kindle edition.
We’ve been working with the good folks at the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), publishers of the Texas Almanac, to convert an excellent series of 19 popular history books. This series, the Fred Rider Cotten Popular History series, features books about different places and events in Texas’ rich history. Each book is well documented and footnoted, with great pictures. They range between 40 to 144 pages, and they are extremely affordable on the Kindle at $4.99 each. They are also available in bundles (cleverly named “Cotten Bales”, get it?) of like topics.
The series chronicles:
A more detailed list is in the table below. I’ll post reviews of each one (look for titles with underlines) and links to the Kindle versions via the covers (clickable) in the table below as they become available for Kindle.
|COVER||Title||Author||Year Published||Pgs Print Edition|
|The Old Stone Fort||McDonald, Archie||1971||48|
|The Battle of the Alamo"||Proctor, Ben H.||1986||40|
|The Battle of San Jacinto||Harfertepe, Kenneth||1989||64|
|A History of the French Legation in Texas",||Pohl, James W.||1989||56|
|A History of Aston Villa||Harfertepe, Kenneth||1991||68|
|The McFaddin-Ward House||Foy, Jessica and Linsley, Judith Walker||1992||72|
|The Samuel May Williams Home||Henson, Margaret Swett||1992||52|
|Remember Goliad||Roell, Craig H.||1994||100|
|Fort Davis||Wooster, Robert||1994||58|
|Austin: A History of the Capital City||Humphrey, David C.||1997||84|
|Dallas: A History of "Big D"||Hazel, Michael V.||1997||80|
|Fort Lancaster||Francell, Lawrence J.||1996||76|
|Civil War Texas||Wooster, Ralph A.||1999||88|
|McKinney Falls||Henson, Margaret Swett||1999||64|
|Galveston: A History and Guide||McComb, David G.||2000||68|
|",||war-by-charles-m-robinson-iii/\"">Texas and the Mexican War||Robinson, Charles M. III||2004||117|
|Fort Worth: A Texas Original||Selcer, Richard F||2004||144|
|Fort Concho||Matthews, James T.||2005||100|
|Sacred Memories||McMichael, Kelly||2009||128|
|Galveston History Series||combines Galveston, Ashton Villa and Samuel May Williams Home eBooks||2010|
|Austin History Series||combines Austin, French Legation and McKinney Falls eBooks||2010|
|Battles of the Texas Revolution Series||combines The Battle of San Jacinto, Battle of the Alamo, and Remember Goliad eBooks||2010|
|Texas Cities History Series||combines Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth and Galveston eBooks||2011|
San Antonio, where I went to high school and college, sits atop the Edwards Aquifer, the underground water source for most of the surrounding area. Though we never went into drought conditions, water rationing was common and still is today, with car washing and yard watering monitored and banned during tight water times.
Water from Stone describes a land reclamation project in Blanco County, which provides a path for land and water reclamation for not only the Texas Hill Country but other areas of the world as well. The story of the force behind this effort, J. David Bamberger, co-founder of Church’s Fried Chicken (also a San Antonio hometown product!) is intertwined with a description of the Selah Ranch where the reclamation project has been put into action over many years and several thousand acres.
The ranch sits on several thousand acres in Blanco County, west of Austin and north of San Antonio. Described multiple times in the book as the worst parcel of land in Texas, the book contains (more…)