The best books to remember the Alamo

Who am I?

Davy Crockett – King of the Wild Frontier on television in the early 1950s directed my attention to the Alamo story. This interest stayed with me over the years and became a life-long quest of research and discovery. I have written five Alamo-related books, many magazine and journal articles, have appeared on a number of panels, and given talks on the subject. I’m a charter member of The Alamo Society and for a number of years served as the editor of the society’s The Alamo Journal. My studies taught me to question many traditional aspects of the Alamo battle – a sometimes dangerous endeavor involving such a legendary event. 

I wrote...

Eyewitness to the Alamo

By Bill Groneman,

Book cover of Eyewitness to the Alamo

What is my book about?

Eyewitness to the Alamo contains over one hundred descriptions by people who witnessed or claimed to have witnessed the Alamo battle. These accounts are the basis for all of the histories, traditions, myths, and legends of this famous battle. Many are conflicting, some are highly suspect as to authenticity, but all are intriguing. I have added explanations as to the origins of these accounts, and to their reliability, leaving the final decision to the reader. Whether they are authentic, questionable, or false all, at one time or another, have been cited as actual descriptions of one of the most remembered battles in American History.

The books I picked & why

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Remember the Alamo!

By Robert Penn Warren,

Book cover of Remember the Alamo!

Why this book?

This book served as the starting point for many present-day Alamo historians. Written by future American Poet Laureate Robert Penn Warren, and enhanced with vivid illustrations by noted Western artist William Moyers, it is the perfect introduction to the Alamo story for young readers. A copy remains on my bookshelf sixty years after its discovery.

The Alamo

By John Myers Myers,

Book cover of The Alamo

Why this book?

The most influential Alamo book of the 1940s, and a major research source for the 1955 Alamo film, The Last Command. It may be one of, if not the first to get away from a legendary telling of the Alamo story. Western writer Myers also focused on the Alamo’s triumvirate, William Barret Travis, James Bowie, and Davy Crockett, as well as their adversary, General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, giving insight into their lives and the motivations which brought them together at this battle. Myers’ opening and closing paragraphs may be the best prose of any Alamo book.

Time to Stand

By Walter Lord,

Book cover of Time to Stand

Why this book?

Acknowledged by many Alamo historians as the best book on the subject, it is certainly the most readable. Popular historian Walter Lord presented a solid history book written as a novel and brought to light many of the lesser-known personalities and events of the Alamo siege and battle. Lord also included intriguing addendums “Riddles of the Alamo,” “Men who fell at the Alamo,” and a solid list of sources. If other books inspired people to read more about the famous battle, Lord’s book created the desire to plunge deeper into the sources and begin writing about the Alamo. I have a copy of this book, signed by Lord to me, dated March 6, 1991, the 155th anniversary of the Alamo battle.

Alamo Traces: New Evidence and New Conclusions

By Thomas Ricks Lindley,

Book cover of Alamo Traces: New Evidence and New Conclusions

Why this book?

Good friend, Tom Lindley spent fifteen years researching and piecing together this controversial book, more a collection of stand-alone Alamo-related articles, than a single narrative of the battle. Lindley, known for his “hard chair time” as a researcher dispels many long-standing myths of the Alamo such as Travis drawing his famous line in the sand, the story of Louis Rose, the much-publicized and phony De La Peña “diary,” the number of men who died at the Alamo, and many others. It is not an easy read, but it is absolutely necessary for anyone researching and writing about the Alamo.

Line of Glory

By Thomas D. Clagett,

Book cover of Line of Glory

Why this book?

There have been many novels written about the Alamo. Friend and fellow member of the Western Writers of America, Tom Clagett, tells his unique story by only presenting the last two days of the siege. On the Texan side we experience the battle through the three Taylor brothers and Susannah Dickinson, and the Mexican side via Colonel Juan Morales, all historical participants. Clagett blends fact, fiction, and myth, holding a reader’s interest throughout. One can’t help but care for the characters and hope for the best, even though there is only one way an Alamo story can end. That is great writing!

5 book lists we think you will like!

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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like The Blood of Heroes: The 13-Day Struggle for the Alamo--And the Sacrifice That Forged a Nation, Three Roads to the Alamo: The Lives and Fortunes of David Crockett, James Bowie, and William Barret Travis, and Civil War Blockade Running on the Texas Coast if you like this list.