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review 2018-06-17 15:35
Duel of Eagles: The Mexican and U.S. Fight for the Alamo★★★★☆
Duel of Eagles: The Mexican and U.S. Fight for the Alamo - Jeff Long

I might have paid more attention if my Texas History lessons had been more like this book. But then, I suppose such a candid examination of the characters and motivations of the real people who created our history would not have been considered suitable subject matter for junior high school students.

 

Despite its subtitle (The Mexican and U.S. Fight for the Alamo), Duel of Eagles is really about the Texas revolution, covering a period of history from Andrew Jackson’s inauguration in 1829 to Santa Anna’s death in 1876. It could be considered a revisionist history, using original sources that proponents of a heroic Texas origin story may disregard or consider unreliable. Some critics of the book claim the author is pro-Mexican, but it seems to me that he is simply giving equal weight to Mexican sources and doesn’t hesitate to skewer the characters and actions of Mexicans and Tejanos as much as the Anglo-Americans. He notes where there are conflicting accounts of events and provides the reader with 71 pages of footnotes and bibliography to document his sources.

 

Altogether, it’s an entertaining and horrifying account of the Texas journey from Mexican province to independent republic to annexation into the United States, blowing up myths of heroic deeds and high-minded Texians seeking freedom from oppression along the way. At some point, it got a little wearisome, because, yes, we get it, this was really just a combination of speculative land-grabbing by non-residents and a push to preserve the slave state and part of the precursor to Manifest Destiny, but I started to feel as though we were beating a dead horse by the time Santa Anna surrendered at San Jacinto.

 

Hardcover, received as a gift from my father in 1994, who was an amateur Texas history buff. And a little surprising that he gifted it to me, as the views of the author don’t seem to fit his. How I wish I had actually read this when he was living, so I could have asked him about it. But history and the Wild West mythos didn’t interest me then, and I forgot I even had this until he passed away in January. Now it’s too late, and I can only read his books and remember him.

 

Previous Updates:

2/11/18 – page 11/431

 

6/3/18 – page 52/431

 

6/5/18 – page 63/431

 

6/9/18 – page 93/431

 

6/9/18 – page 109/431

 

6/11/18 – page 129/431

 

6/12/18 – page 151/431

 

6/12/18 – page 202/431

 

6/15/18 – page 259/431

 

6/16/18 – page 267/431

 

 

 

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text 2018-06-17 14:35
The Outsider - 34%
The Outsider - Stephen King

AAAAAARRRRRGGGHHHH

 

He did it again. Sometimes I really hate Stephen King as much as I love him. 

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text 2018-06-16 12:53
Duel of Eagles - page 267/431

The fate of the Mexican Army's wounded soldiers after the battle at the Alamo from Colonel José Enrique de la Peña:

 

“In fact, the plight of our wounded was quite grievous,” de la Peña bitterly declared, “and one could hardly enter the places erroneously called hospitals without trembling with horror. The wailing of the wounded and their just complaints penetrated the innermost recesses of the heart; there was no one to extract a bullet, no one to perform an amputation, and many unfortunates died whom medical science could have saved. General Santa Anna doubtless thought that he could alleviate the sufferings of his victims by appearing frequently among them, smiling at those miserable men who scarcely had the energy to see him, offering them their full pay with one hand but ordering it not to be disbursed with the other. There were many fools who were encouraged by his words, but to mislead them was an insult to their misfortune.”

 

Adding to this insult, Santa Anna refused to donate any of his linens to be used as bandages for the wounded and “grew angry when asked for so much as a single peso”.

 

Duel of Eagles: The Mexican and U.S. Fight for the Alamo - Jeff Long 

 

 

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text 2018-06-15 19:47
End of Watch - Finished!
End of Watch: A Novel - Stephen King,Simon & Schuster Audio,Will Patton

Maybe even better this time than it was on the first reading. Now I can take The Outsider off pause, and start from the beginning. 

 

Original review here. I was re-reading the Bill Hodges trilogy before I go on with The Outsider, since there is supposed to be at least one character making a reappearance. 

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text 2018-06-15 18:30
Duel of Eagles - page 259/431
Duel of Eagles: The Mexican and U.S. Fight for the Alamo - Jeff Long

Later, Americans would claim that there was no surrender, that Crockett went down like Hercules, clubbing Mexican soldiers into a bony mash at his feet with the shattered stump of Old Betsy. They would dress him up like Natty Bumpo in buckskins and a raccoon cap, put oaths on his lips and a dripping Bowie knife in his hands. They would name steamboats, railroad trains, frontier towns, and a marching song after him. They would anoint this day, March 6, 1836, the inaugural moment of Manifest Destiny. 

 

As it was, in the end, shortly after six o'clock in the morning, David Crockett made a choice. The Go Ahead man quit. He did more than quit. He lied. He dodged. He denied his role in the fighting. 

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