1. The Alamo Reader (Todd Hansen; Stackpole Books): Not just a monumental feat of research—compiling virtually every primary, secondary and tertiary account of the battle—but also a perceptive and objective analysis of each entry and its reliability.

2. With Santa Anna in Texas (Jose Enrique de la Peña; Texas A&M University Press): Of Santa Anna’s 6,000 Mexican soldiers who attempted to quash the 1836 Texian uprising, only one—an intelligent, passionate and eloquent officer—wrote a memoir of his experiences fighting at the Alamo. Not a diary, as it’s often referred to as, but lively and essential.

3. Three Roads to the Alamo (William C. Davis; Harper Perennial): Davis not only provides an evocative portrayal of Jacksonian America, but also gives us the best biographies, bar none, of the Alamo’s holy trinity—Bowie, Crockett and Travis—and an excellently researched account of the battle itself.

4. Blood of Noble Men (Alan C. Huffines; Eakin Press): A fine day-by-day (and, in the battle chapter, almost minute-by-minute) reconstruction of the siege and assault, told through eyewitness and participant accounts, with excellent  footnotes. The superb illustrations by Gary Zaboly have never been bettered.

5. The Illustrated Alamo 1836 (Mark Lemon; State House Press): Lemon has created a meticulously detailed model of the 1836 Alamo compound, photographed it from countless angles and then virtually-added the sky, terrain and background. The result is impressively realistic.


—James Donovan, author of The Blood of Heroes: The 13-Day Struggle for the Alamo—and the Sacrifice that Forged a Nation (Little, Brown and Company)

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