Thursday, June 10, 2004
Inside the Alamo
Murphy, Jim. 2003. INSIDE THE ALAMO. New York: Delacorte Press. ISBN 0385325746 [Suggested Grade Levels 5 and up]
SUMMARY and ANALYSIS
Murphy’s meticulously researched account provides an overview of the struggle between the Texan settlers and Mexico's General Santa Anna for control of Texas, and it include a detailed description of the 1836 siege of the Alamo, as well as biographical sketches and quotations of key players in the conflict.
Beginning with the a description of the early mostly Anglo settlement in Texas, Murphy’s compelling work focuses on how the relationship between the mostly Anglo ranchers and Santa Ana’s government became strained, how the approach of the Mexican troops affected the attitudes of those within the compound, and how they chose to defend themselves while continually hoping for reinforcements to arrive. While the story of the Alamo standoff has a mythical quality, Murphy takes all documentation of the event into account as shares his research of the events, and he makes sure to point out rumors, facts, myths, and conflicting testimony. His telling of the events is highly readable; the narrative quality easily allows readers to be drawn into the story as he recreates the events of the two week standoff. The format is also important to note; Murphy chooses to divide the account into chapters that allow the somewhat overwhelming story to be better digested by younger readers by providing smooth transitions from section to section. One page biographical entries and photographs of the key players in the standoff are included throughout the text. Multiple side bars of information are effectively utilized; again, this will benefit struggling readers by helping them break the information into more manageable parts. For Murphy, accuracy is essential, and he pulls out all the stops to ensure this by examining multiple primary resource documents. A list of Alamo participants and an extensive bibliography follow and make this an outstanding addition to the body of research on this historical event.
Readers interested in learning the history of the infamous battle cry, “Remember the Alamo!”could use Murphy’s book to learn more about the Alamo battle and its importance to the Texans who coined the phase.
Other resources about the Alamo:
Levy, Janey. THE ALAMO: A PRIMARY SOURCE HISTORY OF THE LEGENDARY TEXAS MISSION. ISBN 0823936813
Sorrels, Roy. THE ALAMO IN AMERICAN HISTORY. ISBN 0894907700
Other nonfiction selections by Murphy:
BLIZZARD!: THE STORM THAT CHANGED AMERICA. ISBN 0590673092
THE BOY’S WAR: CONFEDERATE AND UNION SOLDIERS TALK ABOUT THE CIVIL WAR. ISBN 0899198937
THE LONG ROAD TO GETTYSBURG. ISBN 0395559650
By Rose Brock