Forget the Alamo Book Summary - Forget the Alamo Book explained in key points
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Forget the Alamo summary

Bryan Burrough, Chris Tomlinson and Jason Stanford

The Rise and Fall of an American Myth

4 (123 ratings)
34 mins

Brief summary

Forget the Alamo by Bryan Burrough, Chris Tomlinson and Jason Stanford is a historical retelling of the battle of the Alamo, debunking the myths and exploring the complex realities of the conflict that shaped Texas history.

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    Forget the Alamo
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    The conflict at the Alamo can be traced back to cotton and slavery.

    If you’re a Texan, you know about the Alamo. Or, at least, you know a version of the events that took place back on March 6, 1836. It is, after all, a required subject that’s been taught to seventh graders for generations. But what you may not know, is that teachers are mandated by Texas law to teach kids a “heroic” version of events. This is a version that’s been championed by conservative voices, from John Wayne to Lyndon B. Johnson.

    But were there heroes at the Alamo? Let’s look at the events that led up to the legendary clash between the Mexican Army and a group of rebels.

    The key message here is: The conflict at the Alamo can be traced back to cotton and slavery.

    One of the more questionable aspects of the Alamo legend is what the rebels were fighting for. Those who favor popular mythology would have you believe that Anglo-Americans such as James Bowie, William Travis, and Davy Crockett were fighting for freedom and liberty. But this doesn’t quite track with the real situation that led to the birth of an independent Texas.

    At the start of the 1800s, a different kind of revolution was already underway. Eli Whitney had just invented the cotton gin in 1794. This revolutionized cotton production, allowing for a massive increase in output and new fortunes to be made. The American South offered the perfect conditions: vast cotton fields and plenty of avenues for exporting the product. The ugly catch was that these fortunes were dependent upon slave labor. This was a huge booming business through the first half of the century. It’s why the number of enslaved people in the US jumped from 900,000 in 1800 to around 4 million in 1860.

    In the first couple decades of the 1800s, people were already looking for new land to farm. The search led them to Texas where land was cheap. While Texas was under Mexican control at the time, for a while, this wasn’t a problem. The border was extremely porous and Mexico was ruled by Spain, which didn’t object to free people owning enslaved people. Even some of the wealthy Tejanos, the Mexican inhabitants of the Texas region, owned enslaved people.

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    What is Forget the Alamo about?

    Forget the Alamo (2021) charts the history of the Alamo, both real and imagined. It looks at how a popular, heroic mythology sprung from the events of 1836 and came to represent both a noble version of Texas independence and a metaphor for American valor. Find out how the Alamo became a touchstone in American culture wars, and discover how the real story paints a not-so-virtuous picture of American history.

    Forget the Alamo Review

    Forget the Alamo (2021) tells the story of the battle for Texas independence and challenges the traditional narratives surrounding it. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It offers a fresh perspective on a well-known historical event, challenging the traditional narrative and shedding new light on the Alamo.
    • By examining the complexities of the battle, it fuels critical thinking and encourages readers to question the historical accounts they've been taught.
    • With compelling research and expert analysis, the book presents a thought-provoking exploration of the Alamo, making history fascinating and relevant.

    Who should read Forget the Alamo?

    • History buffs
    • People who enjoy Wild West stories 
    • Anyone who thinks they’re familiar with the story of the Alamo

    About the Author

    Bryan Burrough lives in Texas and was a former award-winning reporter for the Wall Street Journal. He’s the author of many books including The Big Rich and the best seller Barbarians at the Gate.

    Chris Tomlinson is a former war correspondent for the Associated Press, having covered nine wars in over 30 different countries. He currently works as a columnist for the San Antonio Express-News and the Houston Chronicle. His previous books include Tomlinson Hill.

    Jason Stanford is a former writer for Texas Monthly and the Texas Tribune. He also works as a political consultant and a contributor to the Austin American-Statesman.

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    Forget the Alamo FAQs 

    What is the main message of Forget the Alamo?

    The main message of Forget the Alamo is to reexamine the historical narratives surrounding the Texas Revolution and the battle of the Alamo.

    How long does it take to read Forget the Alamo?

    The reading time for Forget the Alamo varies depending on the reader, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Forget the Alamo a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Forget the Alamo is a thought-provoking read that challenges traditional perspectives. It provides a fresh and engaging take on a familiar historical event.

    Who is the author of Forget the Alamo?

    The authors of Forget the Alamo are Bryan Burrough, Chris Tomlinson, and Jason Stanford.

    What to read after Forget the Alamo?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Forget the Alamo, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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