The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 96, July 1992 - April, 1993

Book Reviews

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ings of Mexican government for, in my favorite line in the book, "they wal-
lowed in freedom like hogs in mud" (p. 42).
The Alamo leaders are a particularly sorry lot. Travis is an inept bungler,
besotted with visions of glory out of Walter Scott and near-mad from mercury
treatments for his raging venereal disease. Jim Bowie was "spawned in shadow,
wary of light" a debauched creature "by nature crafty and acquisitive, he was a
man who saw the world as his bastard slave" (p. 28). Davy Crockett is a buf-
foonish failure, all media hype and no substance, who surrenders at the Alamo.
Or, as the author puts it, "David Crockett made a choice. The Go Ahead man
quit. He did more than quit. He lied. He dodged. He denied his role in the
fighting" (p. 258).
Some have condemned this book as a cynical attempt to court commercial
success through controversial writing. That is a disservice to the author, who is
clearly sincere in his vision. Long's book fits well into the so-called "new western
history," now all the rage in the halls of academe and the absolute darling of the
media. These historians, whose hallmark trait is a dark sense of negativism,
condemn what they interpret as the celebrationist tone of previous western his-
torians and seek to set the record straight on the many sins of our ancestors. It
can certainly be argued that the hagiographic tone of much Texas history is in
dire need of a corrective, but the rhetorical overkill employed by Jeff Long in
Duel of Eagles actually undercuts his ability to provide any sense of balance to
the historical record. His book, despite skilled prose and impressive research,
will not stand the test of time. It will remain an artifact of the "new western
history" and of a unique moment in American historiography. Readers inter-
ested in the saga of the Alamo must still turn to Walter Lord's flawed but
impressive 1961 book, A Time to Stand.
University of New Mexzco PAUL ANDREW HUTTON
Cold Anger: A Story of Faith and Power Politics. By Mary Beth Rogers. (Denton:
University of North Texas Press, 1990. Pp. iv+222. Introduction, pro-
logue, epilogue, notes, index. $14.95, paper.)
Cold Anger is an important book about the empowerment of working-class
communities in the 197os and 1980s through church-based social activism.
Such activism is certainly not new, but the conscious merger of community
organizing tactics with religious beliefs may be. The organizing approach
comes from Saul Alinsky and Alinsky's training institute, the Industrial Areas
Foundations (IAF). Its religious and theoretical belief system is eclectic: Catho-
lic Liberation Theology, Protestant Social Gospel, Jeffersonian democratic
ideals, the pedagogy of Paulo Freire, the psychology of self-empowerment, are
among the more important elements.
The book's sixteen chapters are structured around the political life of Ernie
Cortes, Jr., the lead IAF organizer who has earned recognition as one of
the most powerful individuals in Texas (and who has been featured on Bill
Moyers's "World of Ideas"). Cortes developed his political views in the business-

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 96, July 1992 - April, 1993. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101215/. Accessed December 20, 2014.