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Book Review

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In the fall of 2000, I did what once seemed unthinkable: I willingly began to teach a first-year seminar, "Remembering the Alamo: Myth, Memory and History." Few veteran instructors of the U.S. history survey might question my desire to take a break from that always challenging responsibility. But why would a female "Yankee" whose research involves Atlantic trades and empires settle upon such an unlikely topic? To some extent, the answer is personal, and represents my slow coming to terms with the universal symbol of the city I have called home since 1985. Yet my intensified commitment to remembering the Alamo happily coincides with a development of much wider significance. In the last few years, scholars, curators, historical reenactors and self-styled "Alamoheads" have transformed our understanding of the Texas Revolution and with it, of course, the Alamo. Some readers of this journal may be aware of the shift through Stephen Harrigan's best-selling novel, The Gates of the Alamo, published in 2000. His is a fine piece of fiction indeed. But the time was also ripe for a serious historical account of the first battle of the Alamo, along with a fresh assessment of the subsequent battles over preservation of the site and interpretation of its meaning(s). To offer both in one monograph is a formidable undertaking, but Randy Roberts and James Olson have succeeded admirably with A Line in the Sand: The Alamo in Blood and Memory.




Johns Hopkins University Press


Baltimore, MD

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Reviews in American History

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