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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 2017-12-06 23:00
Reading progress update: I've read 72%.
The Bad Girl and the Baby (Cutting Loose) - Nina Croft

In which the heroine gets more likable the more I read about her. So much so that I had to write about her. Also, if anyone needs to know what's it like to live with a two-year old child, this is the book to read! 

 

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text 2017-10-13 17:18
Shelfie Time! Or "how I saved my sanity by reorganizing my shelves"

My main shelves have been so overcrowded that I decided to do some shelf reorganizing this week. More specifically, I was forced to decentralize my books, if I was going to maintain some sort of order and be able to view my living room shelves with pleasure rather than a sort of frantic overwhelmed sense of failure. 

 

I've been trying to keep all my books, organized by shelf, in my Wall O' Books, but I've accumulated so many that they were just haphazardly crammed in. Mowing through my TBR backlog hasn't helped, because I still keep most of the books after I've read them.

 

So my new organizational system: Wall O' Books is still for collections and TBR, but all the read books are now moved off, but still more or less grouped by category, so I'll know where to find them if needed. Over time, as my TBR gets smaller, I can move the read books back to the Wall. I also culled any non-collectible books that I rated less than 4 stars - those are donated to the library or Goodwill. 

 

First: The Wall O' Books. Collections on either end with TBR (mostly) in the middle.

My Nancy Drew collection on left, and yes I'm still planning to finish my ND project, it's just stalled right now. On right is my collection of classic horror and fantasy: Stephen Kings, Harry Potters, and Tolkiens, with my niece's trilogy and that fabulous EA Poe popup sharing Tolkien's shelf.

 

TBR in the middle, but the Romance TBR is creeping over to the bottom shelf on left under the Girl Detective. 

TBR Children's lit: Left shelf 1

TBR Vintage books (mostly inherited): Right shelf 1

TBR General fiction: Left shelf 2 & Right shelf 2 & 3

TBR Nonfiction: Right shelf 4 & 5

TBR Scifi/fantasy/horror: Left shelf 3, 4, & 5

TBR Romance: under the Nancy Drews

 

Since those are the only nice bookshelves that I've got, the "read" books are now scattered to various places around the house - but still semiorganized.

 

My favorite vintage books have place of pride display in the living room, on the little table under my tv:

 

Guest room - additional fantasy on my grandmother's table and held with a handcarved bookstop that was a gift from my grandparents back when I was such a weird little kid that they had no idea what to give me except books and educational stuff. Also my "school bookshelf", used to keep all my school and professional texts and householdy reference books. Those need this supersturdy solid oak bookshelf because all those weighty books would make any less serious bookshelf sag over time. 

 

All the other hardcovers are starting a new "bookshelf" on top of my desk cabinets in my study - there's lots of room to grow on here. 

 

 And finally, because I didn't know what else to do with them, until I finally get around to decorating my bedroom instead of just throwing random old stuff in there, I put the rest of my read children's lit, paperbacks, and Discworld books on a saggy old pressboard bookshelf that dates back to high school, where I keep DVDs and photo albums. 

 

I know this is probably not very interesting to anybody but me, but I spent so much time agonizing over it that I wanted to document it somewhere.

 

 

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text 2017-04-14 20:34
I'd be doomed!

This is a list of acceptable reasons for commitment to an insane asylum for women circa 1864 to 1889.  There are a few on here that would get me locked away ... but especially "reading novels".  Hmm ... I wonder if they let you read in the asylum?Probably not!

 

 

 

Origin: Unkown Source: Facebook

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text 2017-01-25 23:10
Reading progress update: I've read 10 out of 319 pages.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - Alexander Freed

The Bone Clocks kind of put me in a book coma. I'm trying to shake it off and read anyway, but I keep finding myself spacing off and wondering how Atemporals would fare in the Star Wars universe.

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