The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 98, July 1994 - April, 1995

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

phase project; the next phase, also funded by the Roberts Foundation, is a
reprinting of Chamberlain's "My Confessions" from the illuminated manuscript
at West Point. With the completion of this second volume, the long-forgotten
Chamberlain will at last be fully available.
This exceptionally well-researched and superbly produced volume is a major
scholarly contribution to knowledge of the Mexican War and Chamberlain's rep-
resentation of it. The images alone will be invaluable to those seeking a more in-
depth knowledge of the war and one of its most colorful characters. Goetzmann
and the Texas State Historical Association are to be commended for making this
long-lost work once again available to scholars and the public in such a hand-
some format. Sam Chamberlain's Mexican War is a major achievement, and will be
a welcome addition to any library of western history and western American art.
Arizona State University J. GRAY SWEENEY
James Bowze, Texas Fighting Man. By Clifford Hopewell. (Austin: Eakin Press,
1994. Pp. 188. Bibliography, index, photographs. ISBN 0-89015-881-9.
$18.95.)
Despite all that has been written about the Alamo defenders, the life of James
Bowie remains shrouded in legend. Admitting at the outset of this brief biogra-
phy that the famed Texan is one of his heroes, Clifford Hopewell makes little ef-
fort to separate the man from the myths that surround him. As a result, the
character portrait that emerges is highly romanticized. Much of the book is de-
voted to Bowie's affrays with various desperadoes and ne'er-do-wells, all of whom
presumably got what was coming to them, for while Hopewell allows that Bowie
may have had a bad temper, for the most part "he fought for principle and jus-
tice" (p. 81). Hopewell describes Bowie as a "complex" individual, but in this
glowing tribute Bowie is anything but multidimensional. The very model of
chivalry and courage, Bowie is a champion of those in distress, a defender of fe-
male virtue, a doting husband, and an all-around man's man. If the slave trader,
fortune hunter, land speculator, and adventurer had an unsavory side, it is not
to be found in these pages.
Hopewell's research relies heavily on secondary sources, many of which are of
dubious veracity or have long since been superceded by more recent scholar-
ship. He used some primary materials, but his unorthodox citations will not
make the task of future researchers any easier. The author's lone bibliographic
entry under the heading "Microfilm Records" is described cryptically as "Roll
No. 158." Written in a pedestrian, often clumsy, style, the book deals with such
topics as the James Long expedition, the Coahuila legislature's 1835 land give-
away, and even the Texas Revolution in a cursory manner, providing little more
than a superficial treatment of Bowie's role in these events. Factual errors
abound: Bowie was not, for example, living in the United States when he resided
in Missouri in 1802, the Louisiana Purchase treaty having yet to be signed.
Hopewell dwells at length on the origins of the famed knife that bears the
Bowie name, as well as the alleged provenance of several Bowie knives still in ex-

January

500

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 98, July 1994 - April, 1995. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101216/. Accessed December 27, 2014.