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Paperback Eyewitness to the Alamo Book

ISBN: 1556228465

ISBN13: 9781556228469

Eyewitness to the Alamo

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

Eyewitness to the Alamo is the actual account of the siege and Battle of the Alamo by those who were present during the attack. This book is the first complete accounting of the Battle of the Alamo by one of our country's foremost authorities on the event.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Eyewitness to the Alamo Revised Edition

This book is exactly what I have been looking for for the last 40 years. Eyewitness accounts of the battle at the Alamo are hard to find in New Zealand, and after searching in vain in libraries and on the internet, I now have them all in the one book, with the added bonus of Bill's expert assessment of their reliability. I could not be more pleased!

Remembering something that happened differently

Well might they call this the "revised edition" because if ever there was an example of "revisionist history" Groneman's book would be it. Did De La Pena write his own diary or not? Was it a forgery written years and years later? Groneman knows that on this work a lot of our interpretation of the "13 days" depends. He introduces the material carefully, and weighs the pros and cons like a pro rather than a con. But all in all, when we get to the end of the book, most people will still feel that they donb't really know what happened, for most of the truth is lost to the mists of time, and when you go to the memorial and visit the Alamo site, you are struck by the sadness of it all (and also, as many have noted, by how small the building itself must have been). In comparison, the movies paradoxically create their own reality; we see a mighty building peopled with real, breathing people with virtues and faults and problems we can apprehend (John Wayne, Lawrence Harvey, Dennis Quaid and all the rest). Out of Groneman's Alamo books, this is the one to buy, even though it has the least amount of "him" in it.

A great resource for studying the Alamo

By compiling all known first-hand accounts of the siege of the Alamo (including some with a debatable authenticity, duly noted by the author), Bill Groneman has produced an excellent, handy resource for studying this famous incident. Going back to the original sources is always the best way to gain a sense of what really happened, and "Eyewitness to the Alamo" lets the reader do this with a minimum of trouble. Groneman's comments about the various source documents are a helpful guide to their reliability, although of course not everyone would necessarily agree with his every assessment (I have particularly in mind the De la Pena "Diary"). This book makes a great companion to Alan Huffines "Blood of Noble Men" in which Huffines arranges excerpts from many of these accounts into chronological order to tell the Alamo story.


What's most obvious, by its nature, can easily escape our attention. It may therefore be worth noting that the Alamo events of 1836 are long beyond the recall of any person alive today. Theoretically, there might now be some living centenarian whose grandfather could have known James Bowie, or at least been in his presence and spoken with him - but this is conceptual, and though conjecture is fruitless it's still fascinating. We can't talk with the defenders who perished at the Alamo or with the non-combatants who survived it, some of whom actually lived into the 20th century - but in this book by Bill Groneman, EYEWITNESS TO THE ALAMO, they operatively speak to us, if not in the literal sense, then surely effectively. Gathering information is only one facet of a researcher's work. Finding what he seeks is one of the more time-consuming features of his job. What distinguishes this book from most others is its efficiency: it presents information which apparently can't be found elsewhere in a single book, thereby saving time and effort for both the historian and the knowledgeable reader. By their immediacy, the accounts presented here - many first-person Alamo reports by those who were there - are as insightful as the very concept of offering them in one self-contained volume. Theoretically many could have compiled such a book, but no-one else did it. This collection of accounts can be a conspicuous blessing to those interested in Western history generally, in Texas history specifically, and in the Alamo in particular. It seems no adobe brick was left unturned in the research for this work. It is, in a very real sense, a treasury of material taken wherever possible from primary sources. While the reports themselves sometimes contradict those of others - people witness events through their own eyes and relate them from viewpoints tinted by their own experience - we're offered accounts of Alamo events from those very people who endured them. Effectively there's no substitute for this. This book also offers a balance many others don't: reports from both the American and Mexican sides. Some of the accounts were written down or told to others long after the siege, but those who were there were by definition closer to the scene than those who weren't. The collective discrepancies in their reports (people are in fact human) prevent us from knowing "precisely" what happened at the Alamo in 1836, but that these accounts were offered by those who literally lived through the events gives us not only a more immediate picture, but perhaps more importantly, bottom-line details. If the aggregate details don't resolve conjectures or provide explanations to unanswered (or unanswerable) questions, they are still details which shed more light on what transpired there more than a century and a half ago. While other historians compile and try to present an amalgam of data, Groneman takes us into a courtroom and displays primary evi


A simple straight forward book that gives each account with an unbiased rendering. The notes that accompany the where and why and when of each account are fabulous and allow the reader to debunk some of the persistent myths from both sides of the border.Groneman has authorered a number of books on the Alamo and the men who were there. Each new book is better than the last.(The only negative thing is the fact that each additional book is based on research that was compiled at the time of the original search. Why not have one book insetead of dribbling them out like a tv mini-series.)Still a great work and one that all historians should read and heed.
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