The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003

Book Reviews

way when the DRT placed the Alamo under her care. During the era of the
Texas Modern, furthermore, several films "invented" the Alamo as Texans came
to know it.
Flores cannot leave alone the legend of Davy Crockett whom writers in the
188os and early 190oos-looking for heroes in an era of rapid social change-
transformed into a Texas icon. Eyewitness accounts of his death, available at the
time of those writings, were overlooked or discarded. The populist Crockett
from Tennessee was forgotten in favor of the invented Davy who died on his feet
slaying Mexicans one by one.
A product of an interdisciplinary approach, Remembenng the Alamo is a mar-
velous piece of detective work that gives a credible explanation for the Alamo's
distinction as a "Master Symbol." Therein lies the book's significance: it offers a
new explanation for the Alamo's place in the Texas psyche. For Flores, the
Alamo of the popular imagination derives from a specific time period when
Texas society was rejecting the old for the modern, when the Texas past was be-
ing altered to meet the needs of the emergent nationalism of the late nine-
teenth and early twentieth centuries and when Texans were solidifying race
relations vis-i-vis people of color. It is a contribution to the historiography on
the Alamo that is certain to provoke constructive debate.
Angelo State Universzty Arnoldo De Le6n
Sam Houston. By James L. Haley. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2002.
Pp. ix+512. Illustrations, preface, acknowledgments, afterword, notes, bibli-
ography, index. ISBN 0-8061-3405-4. $39.95, cloth.)
"Since Houston's death," James L. Haley writes in his preface, "no fewer than
sixty biographies have appeared. Why yet another?" (p. xiii). Because, he an-
swers, early works on Houston were too partisan, later authors stood too much
in awe of him, the most recent generation of biographers failed to exploit newly
discovered Houston sources, and, above all, "he has survived scholarly scrutiny
with his mysteries intact" (p. xv). Elaborating on this fourth reason, Haley ex-
plains that his focus is on Houston's personality and character rather than his ca-
reer. "My search for the Raven," he writes, "is a personal one" (p. xvi).
Focusing on the personal, as Haley himself admits, results in a somewhat un-
even biography. Houston's relationships with family members, friends, and foes
are explored in detail, and readers are given considerable insight into the
Raven's personality and style. Haley capitalizes fully on the fact that his subject
did not know how to be dull. On the other hand, the historical context of Hous-
ton's career is generally thin. For example, explanations of why the treaty of
Texas annexation met defeat in the U.S. Senate in 1844 and what made the
Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 so controversial, matters that were of major signifi-
cance in Houston's career, lack the detail necessary for a clear understanding.
In addition to its focus on the personal, Haley's biography is especially notable
for the argument that modern academics have subjected Houston to "liberal

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/. Accessed January 30, 2015.