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Forget the Alamo  By  cover art

Forget the Alamo

By: Bryan Burrough, Chris Tomlinson, Jason Stanford
Narrated by: Fred Sanders
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Publisher's summary

A New York Times best seller!

"Lively and absorbing...." (The New York Times Book Review)

"Engrossing." (Wall Street Journal)

"Entertaining and well-researched...." (Houston Chronicle)

Three noted Texan writers combine forces to tell the real story of the Alamo, dispelling the myths, exploring why they had their day for so long, and explaining why the ugly fight about its meaning is now coming to a head.

Every nation needs its creation myth, and since Texas was a nation before it was a state, it's no surprise that its myths bite deep. There's no piece of history more important to Texans than the Battle of the Alamo, when Davy Crockett and a band of rebels went down in a blaze of glory fighting for independence from Mexico, losing the battle but setting Texas up to win the war. However, that version of events, as Forget the Alamo definitively shows, owes more to fantasy than reality. Just as the site of the Alamo was left in ruins for decades, its story was forgotten and twisted over time, with the contributions of Tejanos - Texans of Mexican origin, who fought alongside the Anglo rebels - scrubbed from the record, and the origin of the conflict over Mexico's push to abolish slavery papered over. Forget the Alamo provocatively explains the true story of the battle against the backdrop of Texas's struggle for independence, then shows how the sausage of myth got made in the Jim Crow South of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. As uncomfortable as it may be to hear for some, celebrating the Alamo has long had an echo of celebrating whiteness.

In the past 40-some years, waves of revisionists have come at this topic, and at times have made real progress toward a more nuanced and inclusive story that doesn't alienate anyone. But we are not living in one of those times; the fight over the Alamo's meaning has become more pitched than ever in the past few years, even violent, as Texas's future begins to look more and more different from its past. It's the perfect time for a wise and generous-spirited book that shines the bright light of the truth into a place that's gotten awfully dark.

©2021 Bryan Burrough, Chris Tomlinson, Jason Stanford (P)2021 Penguin Audio
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic reviews

“Bryan Burrough, Chris Tomlinson, and Jason Stanford urge us to reconsider the Alamo, a symbol we’ve been taught to fiercely and uncritically remember...the book provides strong, provocative critiques of US imperialism and colonialism. The myth of the Alamo, as we know it, is a lie. It’s been a part of the lie students have learned in school, and animates the lies peddled by legislation like the 1836 Project and the critical race theory bill. But if you want to truly remember the past, you first have to forget it.” (Texas Observer)

“Lively and absorbing.... Much of the fun of the book derives from how deftly it strips that varnish off and demolishes the prevailing (White) racist shibboleths - in particular, what the authors call the Heroic Anglo Narrative of Texas history.” (New York Times Book Review)

“Lively, entertaining and well-researched.... The greatest surprise of Forget the Alamo is its clear-eyed explication of the ways politicians, educators, writers, filmmakers, and TV executives used the Alamo to serve whatever message they were promoting.” (Houston Chronicle)