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Mon Jul 12, 2021, 02:12 PM

Currently reading Burroughs et al., Forget the Alamo

It's definitely worth reading. I learned about the Alamo as a kid in the Northeast, and heard plenty more when I lived in Austin for graduate school. But I'd also read books like James McPherson's Battle Cry of Freedom, who put the struggle over Texas in the broader context of expanding territory where slavery was legal.

I learned from my father, who served in Vietnam, that one can honor the service of someone even if one thinks the cause was wrong. So I can see some of the Alamo defenders as courageous, can acknowledge that not all of them were pro-slavery activists (indeed, some were abolitionists), and can understand that Texas was one of several regions in Mexico that tried to gain independence because of the federal government's instability, and yet still understand that the main push within the US for annexing Texas came from the South and was based on free state-slave state politics.

Anyway - Forget the Alamo is a good book. Although it talks about the siege, it's really about how the event came to be mythologized in the US as an example of American fortitude and righteousness against oppression, and how it (and the Texian revolution as a whole) came to be isolated from political struggles in both the US (slavery) and Mexico (instability).

I wanted to reach out to the authors, but don't have their email addresses. It's because I wanted to share the picture below with them.


I took it in the Bay of Pigs area of Cuba about 10 years ago. I was there as part of a group working on the natural history and conservation of Cuban crocodiles, but I did get to see some of the surrounding region. I had a great time.

Cubans call the Bay of Pigs incident the Battle of Playa Girón, after the closest town to where it happened. There's a museum there about the battle; I wasn't able to visit, but I saw two WW2 surplus relics given by the US and USSR to their sides in the conflict - a Sherman tank facing down a T-34. (The Sherman tank would have stood little chance, if any.)

There's a billboard near the museum that describes the Battle of Playa Girón as the site of the "first defeat of Yankee imperialism in Latin America."

Every year, I talk about the Cuban crocodile project because I got excellent photos of nesting behavior in the species. (Crocodylian nesting behavior is surprisingly bird-like. They protect their nests and hatchlings with great vigor.) And when I do, I show them this picture.

My only comment? That the people killed at the Alamo would probably disagree with the billboard's assertion that Playa Girón was the site of the first defeat of Yankee imperialism in Latin America.

I hope to visit that museum when I go back, whenever that is. And I have to go back - I never saw a bee hummingbird. (A local birder tried to find one, but no such bird showed up. But in the space of 5 minutes or so, he showed us the two species of owl found only in Cuba. And we saw some Cuban todies. The Cuban trogons were also great, but they almost don't count, since they're so common down there.)

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Reply Currently reading Burroughs et al., Forget the Alamo (Original post)
cab67 Jul 2021 OP
UTUSN Jul 2021 #1

Response to cab67 (Original post)

Mon Jul 12, 2021, 03:43 PM

1. K&R for, excellent/thoughtful post.

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