Well Remembered: The Alamo in American History and Memory
“It was but a small affair,” was how General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna characterized the 1836 Battle of the Alamo. It was far from that, for from the Alamo defenders’ funeral pyres arose a battle cry that inspired not only Texans, but all Americans, to seize their continental destiny. Much like the stand of Leonidas and his 300 Spartans the battle quickly became a creation myth for Texas as well as an American legend of defiance and sacrifice in the face of overwhelming odds. Over time both the physical Alamo, as well as the history of the Alamo, has undergone some dramatic changes. National memory can indeed prove fickle, and even the “Shrine of Texas Liberty” is not immune to changing times and perceptions. Yet few stories from the past remain so central to our national identity. Santa Anna was wrong, for the Alamo was anything but “a small affair.”
About Dr. Paul Andrew Hutton
Paul Andrew Hutton, Distinguished Professor of History at the University of New Mexico, has published widely in both scholarly and popular magazines, and is a five-time winner of the Western Writers of America Spur Award and six-time winner of the Western Heritage Award from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum for his print and film writing.
He is the author or editor of ten books. He served as Executive Director of the Western History Association from 1990–2006 and is a past president of Western Writers of America. He has written several short films for state and national parks as well as a dozen television documentaries and has appeared in over 300 television programs on a variety of networks.
He has also been active as a public historian with museums, guest curating major exhibits in 1985 on the Alamo at the DeGolyer Library in Dallas, in 1996 on the Custer legend at the Autry Museum of Western Heritage in Los Angeles, and in 2002 on Davy Crockett at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. His latest book, The Apache Wars, was published by Crown in May 2016.