LONE STAR NATION: How a Ragged Army of Volunteers Won the Battle for Texas Independence—and Changed America

H. W. Brands, Author . Doubleday $29.95 (592p) ISBN 978-0-385-50737-0

Nicely told as it is, this story could have been written 50 years ago. What's frustrating in this telling is that none of the advances in perspective that would make the work attractive to a general and mixed audience today are to be found in it. Brands's book is macho, tub-thumping, narrative Texas history at its old-fashioned best. But that's no longer good enough. Published at the same time, William C. Davis's Lone Star Rising (Forecasts, Nov. 3) has ideas, argument and a point of view. It keeps Mexicans, Mexican-Texans and Anglo-Texans front and center. Brands (The First American, The Age of Gold ), on the other hand, lets chronicle substitute for history and breathlessness for style. The tale of the hard-won struggle for Texan independence from Mexico has inherent dramatic power. In addition to Stephen Austin and Sam Houston, other actors, like William Travis, Jim Bowie and Noah Smithwick, some little known, could excite any movie producer. It's hard to think that the story could be better told—but what's lacking is a theme or perspective, some new way, like Davis's, to relate the story. And was "the victory of Texans the victory for America" when the spread of slavery was one of its consequences? This anachronistic work may prove popular in the Lone Star State. Davis's better work, however, is where the larger, more pertinent history lies. Agent, James Hornfischer. (On sale Feb. 10)

Reviewed on: 12/15/2003
Release date: 02/01/2004
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.