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The Gates of the Alamo by Stephen Harrigan

The Gates of the Alamo (original 2000; edition 2000)

by Stephen Harrigan

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4251424,867 (3.82)11
Title:The Gates of the Alamo
Authors:Stephen Harrigan
Info:Knopf (2000), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 592 pages
Collections:Main Library
Tags:US History, Texas History, Battle of the Alamo, Historical Fiction

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The Gates of the Alamo by Stephen Harrigan (2000)



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Remarkable book. So well written - this is great American literature. Characters are interesting and come alive. Even the descriptions of landscapes, usually just filler in many books, adds so much to the atmosphere. ( )
  rhbouchard | Apr 15, 2017 |
Good audiobook to tune into for the 8 hour drive from El Paso to San Antonio. As the story progressed, so did my awareness of the elements in it all around me. ( )
  mcquery123 | Jul 20, 2015 |
The imagery in this book will stay with me a long time. I'm not particularly a fan of American historical fiction and bought this for my husband, but after "scanning" the first few pages, I was pulled in and found it difficult to put down. The characterization was wonderful and the interaction of the different characters both Mexican and Texian was believable and memorable. Toured the Alamo once with a disinterested attitude; now I have so much more respect for those individuals who played such an important part in our country's history. Great read! ( )
  maryreinert | Aug 16, 2013 |
Remarkable novel both in the detail he adds to the historical context, and his care with that history. He also does an excellent job of illustrating the anglo vs hispanic division in the time period. ( )
  literarytech | Jan 19, 2013 |
A very interesting take on the familiar story of the Alamo. The characters are brought to a level of realism not found in non-fiction histories of this epic battle. Very enjoyable so much so, that the reading went fast despite the length of the book. ( )
  mcola | Mar 8, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0141000023, Paperback)

A novel about the Alamo promises as much suspense as a movie about the Titanic: we already know how it's going to end. The bloody siege of the Alamo was, of course, not only the defining crisis in the Texan struggle for independence from Mexico but also an event that secured martyrdom for the 200 or so men who died there and transformed a dusty Franciscan mission into a national shrine, an American Troy. As with all mythologized chronicles, however, the Battle of the Alamo ultimately resolves into mundane fact, a catalog of human error, ego, and heroism. And it is these details that Stephen Harrigan regards in his broad and powerful third novel, The Gates of the Alamo.

Passing lightly over the oft-profiled Alamo stalwarts--Jim Bowie, Davy Crockett, and the young commander William Travis--Harrigan focuses on fictional secondaries, primarily botanist Edmund McGowan and mother and son Mary and Terrell Mott. Rigidly devoted to his work, Edmund straddles the fence in the dispute over Texas, even as war murmurs grow. But when he meets widowed Mary, who maintains her small inn with a steady, gentle resourcefulness, his good nature pulls him steadily into the inevitable conflict. Mary herself is forced to quarter Mexican soldiers; and then, as she watches incredulously, her young son seeks to test himself in the erupting skirmishes. Eventually the trio find themselves inside the Alamo during the nearly two-week battle, their various conciliations frustrated by the surrounding mayhem.

Harrigan's Texas is an uncertain, dangerous jostling of peoples, a place where disaster threatens too frequently, where practical knowledge is paramount and political ambivalence untenable, and where a primal beauty appears often as if by magic: "Hundreds and hundreds of lush gray cranes ... spanned the sky almost from horizon to horizon, and the whole procession moved with the quiet, ordained manner in which events unfold in a dream." However, the emblematic significance of the Alamo itself remains inscrutable. As Mary tends to the dying, watching hope turn to hopelessness, she can only respond to Travis's rallying orations with disillusionment: "She had heard enough of these empty patriotic effusions by now to feel that the Alamo was nothing but a sinking island of rhetoric." The Gates of the Alamo nonetheless sweeps us into the many and variegated smaller stories that compose the larger one. It's a book to remember. --Ben Guterson

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:05 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A full-scale fictional chronicle centered around the fall of the Alamo bristles with historical figures, including Jim Bowie, Santa Anna, and Davy Crockett, among others, as it provides a dramatic re-creation of an event that shaped the history and identity of Texas.… (more)

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