cover image Susanna of the Alamo: A True Story

Susanna of the Alamo: A True Story

John Jakes. Gulliver Books, $13.95 (28pp) ISBN 978-0-15-200592-4

Here is an account of the Alamo, focusing on Susanna, a young woman who witnessed it and lived to tell the tragic tale to Sam Houston. Houston uses Susanna's story to fuel his troops' anger before they go off to battle. The book claims that his response to Susanna's tale may have helped Texas win its freedom from Mexico, and that without her the Alamo might have been forgotten. Jakes and Bacon have brought an intriguing moment of history vividly to life, but making their heroine a passive one, in the shadow of historical giants, seems condescending. It's doubtful that the battle that felled Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie would have been forgotten without Susanna's report. And Houston and his men would have probably had enough steam of their own to win their battle for Texas. Still, Susanna's story is poignant, as a true account of a woman who witnessed and was a victim of a brutal war. The book's design and production are spectacular, and the panoramic art is evocative. (610)