The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004

Book Reviews

tain about the distance to the coast and further away from Santisteban, the Pacif-
ic decision is less puzzling.
Compared to every other aspect of the Narrative, the argument over the route
is something of a weakness, though Adorno and Pautz rather lightly dismiss oth-
er interpretations and make their case with great confidence. It is no surprise
that their attitude in this matter has irritated some scholars who, like Krieger,
have devoted many years to close study of individual sites and landscapes in
search of the route. Hester airs his own irritation in the afterword to Krieger's
book, assailing Adorno and Pautz with insider-speak concerning the where-
abouts of pecans and prickly pears. The route is important and understanding
the route means coping with minutia. For those who have the patience,
Krieger's book is an excellent starting point. But the new translation by Adorno
and Pautz is for everyone, however you feel about pecans and prickly pears.
Harvard University Brian DeLay
The Alamo Reader: A Study zn Hzstory. Edited by Todd Hansen. (Mechanicsburg,
Penn.: Stackpole Books, 2003. Pp. xxv+837. Preface, illustrations, maps, af-
terword, acknowledgments, bibliography, index. ISBN o-8117-0060-7.
$36.95, cloth.)
Editor Todd Hansen declares that his book The Alamo Reader: A Study in Histo-
ry is "as complete a compilation as possible of primary, secondary, and subse-
quent sources on the actual events of the siege and fall of the Alamo" (p. ix).
Well, it may be the thickest book ever published about the Shrine of Texas Lib-
erty, but it is by no means the final word on the subject. Hansen has missed, or
chosen not to include, many other Alamo sources-especially archival docu-
ments in Texan and Mexican depositories that other, more exhaustive re-
searchers have discovered and recently introduced into the scholarly literature.
This is a constantly evolving process that editors must stay on top of, lest their
work be obsolete by the time it is printed.
Hansen breaks his documents down into five categories, with an easy-to-use
numbering system. He starts with sources "Inside the Alamo," followed by those
in the "Mexican Camp," those in the "Vicinity," a catchall "Other" primary
sources, and ends with "Later" sources (the weakest section). He is a great ad-
mirer of Amelia Williams and uses the unpublished "Introductory Background"
from her 1931 dissertation as his own Introduction, called "Context of the Texas
Revolution." Several other Williams sections appear in Hansen's book (with a
tribute to her at the end), despite the fact that Alamo scholarship has moved far
beyond her pioneering work and some legitimate criticisms of her methods have
been raised by scholars of good repute in the past several decades. This is partic-
ularly true relative to her list of Alamo martyrs, which the Daughters of the Re-
public of Texas to this day holds as gospel truth and modifies only with the
greatest reluctance.
I must say that it is convenient to have all these sources under one cover, and
Hansen provides an intelligent commentary on each grouping of documents.
He addresses the reliability of the accounts and discusses contrary views. The
controversy over the Pefia narrative, for example, is mentioned in some detail.

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101224/. Accessed December 20, 2014.