In Sleuthing the Alamo, historian James E. Crisp draws back the curtain on years of mythmaking to reveal some surprising truths about the Texas Revolution--truths often obscured by both racism and "political correctness," as history has been hijacked by combatants in the culture wars of the past two centuries.
Beginning with a very personal prologue recalling both the pride and the prejudices that he encountered in the Texas of his youth, Crisp traces his path to the discovery of documents distorted, censored, and ignored--documents which reveal long-silenced voices from the Texan past. In each of four chapters focusing on specific documentary "finds," Crisp uncovers the clues that led to these archival discoveries. Along the way, the cast of characters expands to include: a prominent historian who tried to walk away from his first book; an unlikely teenaged "speechwriter" for General Sam Houston; three eyewitnesses to the death of Davy Crockett at the Alamo; a desperate inmate of Mexico City's Inquisition Prison, whose scribbled memoir of the war in Texas is now listed in the Guiness Book of World Records; and the stealthy slasher of the most famous historical painting in Texas. In his afterword, Crisp explores the evidence behind the mythic "Yellow Rose of Texas" and examines some of the powerful forces at work in silencing the very voices from the past that we most need to hear today.
Here then is an engaging first-person account of historical detective work, illuminating the methods of the serious historian--and the motives of those who prefer glorious myth to unflattering truth.
About the Author
James E. Crisp is Associate Professor and Assistant Head in the Department of History at North Carolina State University.
Table of Contents
Chronology: Major Events of the Texas Revolution, Autumn 1835-Spring 1836
Pride and Prejudice: A Personal Prologue
1. Sam Houston's Speechwriters
2. With Santa Anna in Texas
3. Looking for Davy
4. The Paintbrush and the Knife
Afterword: The Silence of the Yellow Rose
Recommendations for Further Reading
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Sleuthing the Alamo based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
I picked up this book on a impulse. It was sitting on the sale table at a Barnes and Noble. This is one of the books that you CANNOT judge by its cover! The cover of Onderdonk's Fall of the Alamo along with the title really mask what this book is all about. As you can judge by my library, I am an avid reader of Texana. This book goes way beyond just Texas history - It is the author's very personal journey for historical truth. Written in an intimate first person voice it tells the author's journey through Texas history. From the author's realization of his own cultural biases toward race and the resultant impact on his view of Texas history Mr. Crisp leads us on a fantastic journey of discovery. . James Crisp was a key player in the Pena Diary dialogs / debates of the 90s. He shows how historical truth is often right in front of us - but can be lost in translation. Crisp's Spanish translation skills shine here.If you read and enjoyed Alamo Traces - this is the prefect update / sequel to that book. I highly recommend it!
A penetrating look inside historians and their craft.
Very interesting read!