Tag Archives: A.C. Greene

The Alamo legend

Thirteen Days to Glory, originally published in 1958, is one of the better myth books of the Alamo. But having only recently read it, at A.C. Greene’s recommendation, I see that it’s shot through with questionable stuff. None is sillier than the "line in the dust" notion foisted on the legend in the late Nineteenth Century by W.P. Zuber. He was a Revolutionary war veteran who was apparently trying to make up for having sat out the battle of San Jacinto as a baggage guard.

So hardy is Zuber’s fable that the D.R.T. now has a brass rod affixed to the flagstones in front of the chapel shrine to commemorate the line. That it is a fraud is logically demonstrated in 2003’s Alamo Traces, New Evidence and New Conclusions. My other favorite Alamo books are the 2000 novel The Gates of the Alamo, with its portrayal of David–rather than Davy–Crockett and ignoring of Zuber’s line altogether, and the 1994 revolutionary military history Texian Iliad, which dismisses the line as without foundation.

The 50+ Best Books on Texas

This personal guide to Texas writing, by the writer/journalist A.C. Greene, has become my touchstone of late. Although I have read many of the books in it, such as Aransas, Lonesome Dove, Goodbye to a River, Hold Autumn in Your Hand, Charles Goodnight, Adventures With a Texas Naturalist, and Six Years With the Texas Rangers, there’s still many more to go. It’s been criticized for what it leaves out, which is to say a lot of cowboy and cattle industry books and history-as-history. Some, like the stark Journal of the Secession Convention of 1861 and The Commanche Barrier to South Plains Settlement, are hard to find–though the former is now available free in pdf on the Web. I’m going to try Love Is a Wild Assault next, a novel of the Texas Republic.