The Texas Military Experience: From the Texas Revolution through World War II

The Texas Military Experience: From the Texas Revolution through World War II

The Texas Military Experience: From the Texas Revolution through World War II

The Texas Military Experience: From the Texas Revolution through World War II

Synopsis

Ever since the Alamo, the military has been a vivid part of the Texas experience. The Battle of San Jacinto, exploits of the Texas Rangers, the Indian-fighting Cavalry of the Texas High Plains, and the World War II campaign of the 36th Infantry Division up the spine of Italy all have formed part of the state's history and image. Other aspects of the military experience are less well known but have also contributed to Lone Star history: the role of Hispanics in the Texas Revolution, the contributions of African-American soldiers on the frontier, the activities of army wives in the late nineteenth century. In this first scholarly collection to focus on Texas' military heritage, prominent authors reevaluate famous personalities, reassess noted battles and units, call for new historical points to be considered, and bring fresh perspectives to such matters as the interplay of fiction, film, and historical understanding. Edited, and with an introduction by, Joseph G. Dawson III, The Texas Military Experience offers the best overview of the subject available. The engaging writing styles of the various authors will make this book valuable to the reading public interested in popular aspects of the Texas military tradition, and the solid research will make it indispensable to scholars of military and Texas history.

Excerpt

Joseph G. Dawson III

Texas and Texans have achieved an extraordinary place in American history and popular culture. To reveal the state's history and influence, readers may turn to books with such titles as The Seven Keys to Texas, the Texas Literary Tradition, Texas Myths, and The Folklore of Texan Cultures. Yet, despite these and many other published works about the state, one aspect -- the Texas military experience -- has not received appropriate attention. This book offers an introduction to that subject.

The Texas Revolution of 1835-36 forms the foundation of the Texas military experience, just as the North American colonial wars and the American Revolution form the basis of the American military tradition. Fundamental to Texas and its history is one of the most celebrated sieges in military annals: the fall of the Alamo. in his chapter, Paul Andrew Hutton shows that the battle has become legendary, the primary participants on the Texas side -- such as Davy Crockett, William B. Travis, and Jim Bowie -- have become heroes to many Texans and Americans, and the place itself has virtually achieved the status of a patriotic shrine. Although debunking heroes and heroics has long been an accepted practice in American writing, revisionist historians of whatever stripe have learned that challenging the traditional view of the battle at the Alamo and its stalwart defenders imperils their professional and personal reputations. After reading Hutton's chapter, one can wonder if the historiography of the Alamo has reached a point that an objective and thorough analysis of the battle would be greeted dispassionately.

Viewing the Alamo's defenders as heroic, self-sacrificing, and noble-minded has been a longstanding aspect of writings about the Texas military experience. However, as James Crisp demonstrates in his extensive interpretive survey of the historiography of the Texas Revolution, historians debate the motivations and attitudes of those involved in that war.

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