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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992

Book Reviews
Texans zn Revolt: The Battle for San Antonzo, 1835. By Alwyn Barr. (Austin: Uni-
versity of Texas Press, 1990. Pp. x+94. Preface, index, bibliography, notes,
appendix, photos, maps. $18.95.)
For over a hundred and fifty years most Texans have felt a unique pride in
the Texas Revolution, but perhaps because of its great complexities, as well as
the many sensitivities, there are serious gaps in historical research that have al-
lowed unproductive myths and misunderstandings to prosper. For decades, we
have been taught to "Remember the Alamo," and in many cases, that is all we
have remembered. Few Americans know anything about the Battle of San Ja-
cinto, and fewer still have heard of an important battle in 1835 that set the stage
for the entire revolution and introduced the personalities who both started the
revolution and finished it.
Alwyn Barr of Texas Tech University has successfully retrieved the Battle for
San Antonio from relative obscurity and placed it in the mainstream of the his-
tory of the Texas Revolution. Based on meticulous research in resources on
both sides of the Rio Grande, Barr presents a balanced analysis based on his
unique qualifications as a Texas as well as a military historian. Mexican and U.S.
historians will appreciate the importance of his contribution to an area of re-
search that needs new approaches free from old assumptions. Hispanic Texans
who sided with the colonists against the centralist government in Mexico City
are given proper credit for their significant contribution, not only to this battle,
but to the entire revolution. It was, after all, their roles that diluted Mexican
accusations that the Texas Revolution was merely a successful American at-
tempt to steal Texas. In addition, the roles of free black Texans are given
prominence. As Barr correctly points out, the Texans's victory at San Antonio
in 1835 was their only major success until San Jacinto, and it set the pattern of
the campaign the following spring.
Throughout the text, and in a special appendix, Barr provides a careful
analysis of both armies, with a thoughtful explanation of the changing makeup
of the Texas army, as well as an intriguing account of why Sam Houston op-
posed the attack and how Austin lost command. In addition to Austin and
Houston, the names of Bowie, Travis, Fannin, Rusk, Wharton, Milam, and
Seguin all played roles in a drama shaped as much by ambitions as by military
tactics and political objectives.
This work is well written, carefully footnoted, with an excellent bibliography
and appropriate illustrations. It is essential reading for the beginning student

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed May 5, 2016.

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