The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 90, July 1986 - April, 1987

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

hands, including a foreword, an introduction, four chapters (the heart
of the book), notes, a selected bibliography, an exhibition checklist, and
numerous illustrations. The result is an odd sort of book, one that spe-
cialists will find both useful and, at times, incomplete if not frustrating.
Three of the chapters are by Susan Prendergast Schoelwer, and the
first one, "Search for the Alamo," is much the best. Here she traces the
long and tangled story of how the Alamo was preserved from those
whom Governor Oscar B. Colquitt labeled as "commercial vandals"
(p. 51). She also gives a good account of the various roles played by the
Catholic church, the army, and the contending factions led by Adina
de Zavala and Clara Driscoll in the evolving of the Alamo from mission
to army granary to Anglo shrine.
Schoelwer provides valuable information and illustrations concern-
ing the various changes wrought in the profile of the chapel (it was the
army, for example, that added the famous and compelling arch and
constructed the windows from which, in many popular accounts, the
Alamo defenders are seen pouring fire upon the Mexican troops). She
demonstrates above all how the Alamo was shaped as an historical ar-
tifact and how, far from being a static image frozen in time, the actual
physical properties of the old mission have undergone change, revi-
sion, and interpretation according to the needs of the moment.
Tom W. Glaser's "'Victory or Death"' is a useful recounting of the
events preceding the battle and the battle itself. Especially effective is
his attempt to explain Santa Anna's motives and to provide a believable
military context for explaining the battle, including such salient details
as the physical condition of the Mexican army-poor indeed-the
strengths and limitations of their muskets as compared with the long
rifles of the defenders, the advantages of bayonets for close-in fighting,
and the like.
Most of the rest of the book, which deals with "myth" and various
artistic conceptions of the battle-in movies, comic books, and paint-
ings chiefly-seems rushed, unfocused, and repetitious. The illustra-
tions, though, will make the book a valuable item for most libraries.
University of Texas at Austin DON GRAHAM
Zachary Taylor: Soldier, Planter, Statesman of the Old Southwest. By K. Jack
Bauer. (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1985.
Pp. xxiv+348. Acknowledgments, preface, illustrations, notes,
maps, table, essay on sources, index. $9.95.)
Zachary Taylor never voted. "I did not vote for General Taylor," he
reportedly told a stranger after winning the presidency in 1848, "and
my family, especially the old lady, is strongly opposed to his election"


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 90, July 1986 - April, 1987. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed November 25, 2015.