The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 82, July 1978 - April, 1979

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

cans at the Alamo in 1836. But Kilgore asserts that Crockett was either
captured or surrendered and taken with a few other prisoners to Santa
Anna, who had them instantly executed. Kilgore's version is not new, as
he acknowledges, but prior to 1955 the supporting evidence had "a
ring of folklore instead of history" (p. 35). In 1955, however, the diary
of Jose Enrique de la Pefia was published in Mexico, including his ob-
servations about the battle of the Alamo and its immediate aftermath.
De la Pefia corroborated the story about Crockett's execution, as do six
additional accounts by eye-witnesses, some of which have appeared only
recently.
The author makes skillful use of these sources. He knows which are
dubious and which are not; and he examines the internal evidence most
perceptively. The argument never exceeds its proof. Indeed, this brief
essay might be of value to novice graduate students as an excellent
example of the critical method. As for the question posed in the title,
this reviewer at least is pretty well convinced that Davy died not by
fighting but by execution, but how anyone might view that as a slur on
Crockett's courageous reputation-as some Texans, according to Kil-
gore, have done-defies comprehension.
New Mexico State University GENE BRACK
Liberty and Union. By David Herbert Donald. (Boston: Little, Brown
and Company, 1978. Pp. xii+318. Preface, illustrations, bibli-
ographical essay, index. $12.50.)
Professor Donald's latest book fully sustains his reputation for schol-
arly and stylistic excellence. Indeed, he writes so well that one might
devote an entire review to his style. Long ago he learned that presen-
tation is of tremendous importance, and himself mastered the art. He
gives the impression of truly caring about the reader, with the result
that clarity, succinctness, and aptness of phrase are as pervasive in these
pages as in the two splendid Sumner volumes. Young historians would
do well to take the Donald style as a model.
A reviewer is likewise tempted to select one substantive matter for
elaboration. A prime candidate: Reconstruction. Donald comments on
"the inadequacy of traditional accounts of the Reconstruction era as a
period of revolutionary change" (p. 175). In his judgment, this was not
so. Moreover, "Reconstruction was a national, not just a sectional,
process" (p. 213). "The American Compromise" is an expression he
finds as satisfactory as any to describe "a whole series of loose, informal,

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 82, July 1978 - April, 1979. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101206/. Accessed July 12, 2014.