Sunday, July 1, 2012

Review: The Blood Of Heroes

Title: The Blood of Heroes
Author: James Donovan
 Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date: 
 May 15, 2012
Reviewer: Ethan

Summary: The gripping and definitive chronicle of the iconic battle that inspired a nation--a sweeping saga of 200 brave Americans who stood tall against an overwhelmingly superior Mexican force.

On February 23, 1836, a Mexican army thousands of soldiers strong attacked a group of roughly 200 Americans holed up in an abandoned mission just east of San Antonio, Texas. For nearly two weeks, the massive force lay siege to the makeshift fort, spraying its occupants with unremitting waves of musket and cannon fire. Then, on March 6th, at 5:30 am, the Mexican troops unleashed a final devastating assault: divided into four columns, they rushed into the Alamo and commenced a deadly hand-to-hand fight. The Americans, despite being hugely outnumbered, fought valiantly--for themselves and for a division of an independent Texas. In the end, they were all slaughtered.

Drawing upon newly available primary sources, THE BLOOD OF HEROES is the definitive account of this epic battle. Populated by larger-than-life characters--including Davy Crockett, James Bowie, and William Barret Travis--it is a dynamic story of courage, sacrifice, and redemption

Review: As a native of San Antonio, Texas, I have always been fascinated by the history of my hometown, and the surrounding areas. As a young child, I had the opportunity to visit the Alamo and the surrounding missions. I'm not sure about other states, but Texans are extremely proud of their history, so I have read and studied about the Battle of the Alamo in school and on my own for many years. Every once in a while, new details emerge, inspiring new versions of the story of the Battle that took place all those years ago. 

In The Blood of Heroes, author James Donovan presents a well-researched and gripping recollection of the events surrounding the Battle of the Alamo and the people who have become notable for it. Drawing on recently uncovered primary sources, Donavan introduces people at both ends of the war in the most life like portrayal I have ever encountered. Using both the spoken and written words of the men, Donovan provides a unique insight into the character of the men and their subsequent motivations for fighting, or not, in the war for Texas independence. 

Despite being a work of nonfiction, the story feels like a well-written novel, always describing interesting details while never sacrificing the pace of the action.  I found the descriptions of the weaponry used to be a fascinating insight into the tools that were used during combat of the time period (1836). The 200 Texans, severely under-armed and extremely outnumbered (the Mexican army had thousands), fought valiantly for 13 days. All Texans are familiar with the tragic fate met by the 200 men, but the details brought to light in this book allow fresh insights into the familiar story. Donovan has crafted what is sure to become one of the definitive collections on the Battle of the Alamo. 

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