Texas Surgeon: an Autobiography Page: x
This book is part of the collection entitled: Rescuing Texas History, 2010 and was provided to The Portal to Texas History by the University of Texas Health Science Center Libraries .
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medical career, fresh out of school and green as grass, among
Texans much akin to the men of the Alamo. True, they no longer
wore buckskin, but they were of the same breed, with their faded
blue shirts, a red kerchief at the throat, and a gun belt slung
about their narrow hips.
The heroic episode of the Alamo does not seem remote to me.
After all, it happened only forty-odd years before I was born.
I can picture the whole stirring scene as the dust of battle rose
from the sun-baked cloister yard. Yet I am also aware that be-
neath the surface of this imagined action, like a dark heat wave
above the desert, lies the mystery of all human impulse. This
intriguing puzzle pulls me back in time.
I recall that Santa Ana had five thousand men and Travis, the
erstwhile lawyer and defender of the fort, one hundred and
eighty-two, including Jim Bowie, for whom the knife was named.
Among these one hundred and eighty-two were Englishmen,
Irishmen, and Scotsmen, and, of course, many Americans, most of
whom were either from the South or Texas-born. Every last one
fought until he died. You will remember, too, that every one
was avenged threefold by Sam Houston at the San Jacinto River
near Galveston, which would suggest that courage, like coward-
ice, is a catching thing.
On innumerable occasions it has been remarked that Texas is
not so much a state as a state of mind, and there is truth in this.
Texas is indeed a state of mind. It represents the state of mind
generated when many men of different backgrounds are drawn
together out of a common wish to realize their capacities. Such
people, I have found, make good if sometimes difficult company.
Among them, as a general rule, one either grows or departs for
a less bracing environment.
They say the Alamo was Thermopylae relived. Perhaps this
is something of an idealization. No one need remind me there
were other motives which drew men to Texas: land hunger, the
dream of riches, the wish to rule men, the urge to gamble on
throwing one's weight about to see what might come of it. Still,
Here’s what’s next.
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Atkinson, Donald Taylor. Texas Surgeon: an Autobiography, book, 1958; New York. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth143566/m1/10/: accessed December 16, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting University of Texas Health Science Center Libraries.