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Publisher's Summary

A New York Times best seller!

"Lively and absorbing...." (The New York Times Book Review)

"Engrossing." (Wall Street Journal)

"Entertaining and well-researched...." (Houston Chronicle)

Three noted Texan writers combine forces to tell the real story of the Alamo, dispelling the myths, exploring why they had their day for so long, and explaining why the ugly fight about its meaning is now coming to a head.

Every nation needs its creation myth, and since Texas was a nation before it was a state, it's no surprise that its myths bite deep. There's no piece of history more important to Texans than the Battle of the Alamo, when Davy Crockett and a band of rebels went down in a blaze of glory fighting for independence from Mexico, losing the battle but setting Texas up to win the war. However, that version of events, as Forget the Alamo definitively shows, owes more to fantasy than reality. Just as the site of the Alamo was left in ruins for decades, its story was forgotten and twisted over time, with the contributions of Tejanos - Texans of Mexican origin, who fought alongside the Anglo rebels - scrubbed from the record, and the origin of the conflict over Mexico's push to abolish slavery papered over. Forget the Alamo provocatively explains the true story of the battle against the backdrop of Texas's struggle for independence, then shows how the sausage of myth got made in the Jim Crow South of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. As uncomfortable as it may be to hear for some, celebrating the Alamo has long had an echo of celebrating whiteness.

In the past 40-some years, waves of revisionists have come at this topic, and at times have made real progress toward a more nuanced and inclusive story that doesn't alienate anyone. But we are not living in one of those times; the fight over the Alamo's meaning has become more pitched than ever in the past few years, even violent, as Texas's future begins to look more and more different from its past. It's the perfect time for a wise and generous-spirited book that shines the bright light of the truth into a place that's gotten awfully dark.

©2021 Bryan Burrough, Chris Tomlinson, Jason Stanford (P)2021 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“Bryan Burrough, Chris Tomlinson, and Jason Stanford, urges us to reconsider the Alamo, a symbol we’ve been taught to fiercely and uncritically remember...the book provides strong, provocative critiques of U.S. imperialism and colonialism. The myth of the Alamo, as we know it, is a lie. It’s been a part of the lie students have learned in school, and animates the lies peddled by legislation like the 1836 Project and the critical race theory bill. But if you want to truly remember the past, you first have to forget it.” (Texas Observer)

“Lively and absorbing.... Much of the fun of the book derives from how deftly it strips that varnish off and demolishes the prevailing (white) racist shibboleths - in particular, what the authors call the Heroic Anglo Narrative of Texas history.” (New York Times Book Review

“Lively, entertaining and well-researched.... The greatest surprise of Forget the Alamo is its clear-eyed explication of the ways politicians, educators, writers, filmmakers and TV executives used the Alamo to serve whatever message they were promoting.” (Houston Chronicle

What listeners say about Forget the Alamo

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A way forward for reconciling objective reality

This is an important book, for an important reason: it examines the underpinnings of fortresses built on lies over hundreds of years, now used as outposts in an all-out culture war mounted by white supremacists as a last-gasp effort to preserve the old, antiquated, and systemically racist order of things.

I grew up in Texas and so I went through the 7th-grade history propaganda campaign which is Texas history, most of which focuses on the Alamo and the heroic Anglo narrative. As a kid, I questioned plenty about the world around me, particularly how, growing up in a small Texas town, every aspect of life seemed geared towards a smotheringly white and evangelical point of view.

I did not, however, think much about the Alamo, or about whether what we were taught was true or biased, the same way that I did not really question much about what we were taught about other historical figures in public school like Christopher Columbus. Now, 42 years old, I have only really been literate or competent enough to interrogate how American history is commonly presented for the last 15 years or so, and even THEN I hadn't really gone back to think critically about the narrative I'd been taught about the Alamo.

This book does terrific work on the historiographical front, being solidly reported and written for a lay audience. This offers accessibility beyond what you might find within scholarly or academic work, while still being committed to factual accuracy and a deep examination of primary and secondary sources. This results in a critical deep-dive into the history - of the history - of the Alamo.

What you read about Critical Race Theory being the next front in the culture war that now fully engulfs American politics is true. The manufactured panic against CRT, pushed by everyone from elected officials who definitely know better to Tucker Carlson to an unending line of C.H.U.D.s on 4chan - is even more powerful than past efforts to force bias and surreality on to academics, such as (successful) drives to require the teaching of intelligent design, or to ban sex education, or to ban trans kids from sports. What kids learn and experience in school is formative, powerful, and important. White supremacy, classism, misogyny, systemic racism, and the deeply, critically flawed idea of American Exceptionalism aren't going to pass from the world without a serious fight.

In our modern America, a book like Forget The Alamo is a targeted strike against ignorance. It is also a stalwart defense of objective reality against those who would have us believe lie after lie in the interest of consolidating power and the continued oppression of anyone who isn't white, wealthy, Christian, and straight. If we're going to make it as a country (or as a small-d democracy), we're going to need more books like this in the future, and I'm glad this one was written.

12 people found this helpful

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Not for Trump Voters

If you like Trump and his ilk, you won’t like this. If you have an open mind, you are probably from a big (read, blue)Texas city, you’ll like this book. The bad reviews of this book are by people who have not read the book. They stopped when they got to a part they disagreed with. Con: As an ardent Phil Collins fan, my opinions of him have changed. That is all I have to say about this book. Thank you for the read!

9 people found this helpful

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A must read for every Texan

The facts presented in this book help us understand how Texas came to be. They can make us proud of the contributions of all the people who created this wonderful land. Yes, there are some clouds and some dark spots. There are events snd people that have been neglected by our histories and there are also some that we will not be proud of, but as we become conscious of the whole story, we can use knowledge of the truth to create a Texas that welcomes us all.

8 people found this helpful

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Read It To Spite Dan Patrick - Highly Recommend

Enjoyed this book, the research and found it to be among the most accurate attempts to describe historical events rather than perpetuate myth. Thank you!

7 people found this helpful

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Great book. I couldn’t put it down.

The narrator was easy to listen to unlike some audible books. Very informative. Some of the information I already knew. Being a Texan I have always had a fascination with the Alamo. If you look at the Alamo facing it, to the far left about 4 feet off the ground there is a concentrated pattern of what appear to be bullet shots in the wall. It’s at the corner of the church next to the barracks. That is where Dickinson said she saw David laying in a bloody mess. Firing squad?

5 people found this helpful

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Cancel culture n display

A pious, racist and constantly irritating attempt to denigrate an American myth with current issues of equality and some sort of restitution or revision of history to accommodate the neurotically thin skinned.

4 people found this helpful

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this is a must read

outstanding book

should be required reading for anybody interested in history, Texas, America, and how myths and fantasies are made into rigid belief

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Download is as holy as a swiss cheese

The technical quality of this download is blood godawful. How so i get my money back?

3 people found this helpful

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Fascinating historiography of myths and legends

As an American history buff and one-time visitor of the Alamo, I have to admit my knowledge of not only the battle and the myth-making since was woefully limited. Thoroughly researched and insightful book. The author's use of slang,expletives, and colloquialisms takes getting used to, but it works.

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Long overdue book

The “traditionalists” hide behind the universal values of self determination, liberty, democracy, etc. as pillars of the official anglocentric Texas History Narrative to combat revisionism as if that word was a synonym to “fake news” and as if minorities owe these values to them. It was precisely Mexico’s independence movement (a liberation movement) and it’s aftermath which made Texas vulnerable to anglo immigration and eventually hostile/tricky take over and consequential demise of Mexican/Tejano Rule along with native Americans of their ancestral land.

3 people found this helpful