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tv   History Bookshelf Bryan Burrough Chris Tomlinson Jason Stanford Forget...  CSPAN  July 25, 2021 6:59am-8:00am EDT

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looks at civil military relations during the korean war including general douglas macarthur's removal of command by harry truman. watched american history tv every weekend and find a full schedule on your program guide or watch online anytime at >> hello everyone, good evening. on behalf i want to thank you for joining us for very special virtual event with brian burrell, chris tomlinson, and jason sanford and celebration of the new
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book forget the alamo the rise and fall of the american men. actually hope for a signing we will be offering today's conversation will be moderated reminder if you have not purchased your copy when it purchased ligature sup >> just to give everyone a quick walk through our event, guests will be joining us on the screen to talk about the book and take some questions from the audience. be thinking about the questions you might want to ask our authors today . if you want to submit them look at the bottom of your screen. all the way to the right you should see 2 little bubbles
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that's a q and a. we want to submit them there or in the chat so we can make sure we can get themin. let's get this conversation started .ar brian barro is the author of three books and a best seller , barbarians at the gate. chris tomlinson works for the san antonio express news and author of a best seller, how his family grew up in texas from 1995 to 2007. he reported from more than 30 countries and nine more for the associated press . jason stanford is a former communications director and mayor of austin as a political consultant and has reelected at least 30 members
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of congress. we have our moderator, 19 editor in chief and served as editor in chief of the texas observer, wired .com and westside. she also wrote the book how to be a texan: the manual. me welcome our guests for the night, brian, chris, jason and andrea. >> thank you. >> it's a pleasure. >> thanks for having us. congratulations to the writers. i'm really excited to be here in conversation with you all and talking about your new book, "forget the alamo". >> excited to be here. >> my first question is your this book. it's wonderful so congratulations again. my first question is the alamo as you noted many times
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throughout the book is a pretty front topics in texas history. it's been written about within weeks of when it occurred within very various accounts and there's a lot of discussion about how accurately was it written about why write about the alamo? why bust this next? why do it now? i'm curious what the impetus was behind taking on such a giant in texas history. >> i first got interested in the alamo writing a article for the express newsregarding the brand of texas . what is texas's brand and what is san antonio's brand and it's always been alamo city . when i dug a little deeper i realized they were about to expand hundreds of millions of revitalized the there was
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this whole debate about what story that revitalized, renovated plaza with a new museum, one story wasn't going to tell. and it seems to bring this whole thing back to the surface again and i wrote in a column that the alamo had more to do with slavery and liberty and that ttriggered a firestorm and they conversation. >> rich brought the idea to us one sunday morning and chris starts talkingabout where this column came from . jason and i, at some point he starts going on about all that you don't know about the alamo. all that you think you know is wrong and especially what a burden the anglo dominance narrative has always been for the states and at some point
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jason and i jerked up and said what did you say?t after another hour i said somebody ought to write a book about that and two years later we have. >> initially i thought it would be just a fun thing to do with my friends but as we got into it i realized it's a little like studying shakespeare . e realize how much we get from the alamo and politics and how much it informs our politics these days . it was interesting how something i regarded as a provincial tourist interest is so foundational to our life these days and that's what kept me going through the book. >> sorry, i lost my screen a moment . everybody understands i'm sure by now. so i want to get in on
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something you said about the latino experience and how that's reflected in the history as someone who is like tina, who is mexican american and raised in texas dand has read some of the scholarship you cite in your book about the tejano historians who had different glosses on the narrative then we are seeing when we hear the hollywood 'lversions or as i think you'll call it, the heroic anglo narrative of texas history. is this something you thought about? you all are three anglo men and is this something that crossed your mind? i should say people tell the stories they feel compelled to tell but i'm curious what your thoughts are as three anglo writers writing about this topic from that vantage. >> our first thought was, and this addresses what you keasked
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about why now is that latinos are poised to become a majority in thisstate . we argue in the book that there's never been a better time really for there to be conversation about the historical alamo, the real as opposed to thealamo of our dreams . cause lso a time when we tend to go with the sweeping reassessment of its racial past, texas history has largely gotten a pass. that's certainly surprised us. ati would say going in that i have absolutely no understanding of the latino experience and it dawned on us during the research this nd is a big issue. we were very very sensitive that we were probably not the first people you would ask to bring this into mainstream discourse. so we tried obviously to do its respect by talking to as
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many latino thinkers as we could. and basically trying to convey their stories. i trust for those reading the book that they will feel we've done it responsibly. >> my background is as a war correspondent. i covered the genocide in rwanda and the reconstruction effort there, the truth and reconciliation commission in south africa and i learned that everyone needs to be part of these conversations of looking at the past and talking about the myths or the lives or the disinformation or the propaganda, whatever word you want to use. we've all got to participate in this reckoning together. and my ancestors go back in texas to slave days. my first book was about my families slaveholding history .
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i think as an anglo i am as responsible and as compelled to investigate these stories as a journalist and as an invested journalist and as a beneficiary of the white supremacist racism ofthe past . and as fran said we strove very hard and very deeply to make sure that we give voice to those who are not like us. >> the one thing i'd like to add is it shouldn't be up to and never is up to communities of color to convince white people that racism exists. it's something they need to hear from white people, we cannot put it on communities of color because they've been spreading these stories for a long time. anglo texas as filtered it out.
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>> has shouted them down, in some cases. >> to the extent that they haven't ignored them. we're hoping we can elevate their voices and get them hurt. >> to that end, a big part of the opening salvo of your book is something you mentioned earlier which is how much slavery was a part of the alamo and preceded the event and was just historically relevant to this moment and i thought you could talk about four people who might not know about that particular piece of the history, just explain it and encapsulate it in a nutshell. >> andrew tarvin wrote a book called feet of empire a few years ago where he dug into the economic history as well as the political history of texas. and he rightly observed and pointed out and we are in debt to him that the only reason anglos were coming to
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texas was to grow cotton and the only way to grow cotton at the time was around w slavery. so from stephen f austin's earliest letters, the goal was to turn texas into an empire of slavery to use a phrase coined by randolph. >> i have to tell you, when we started this i was 57, 58 and this was all new to me. i went in a little skeptical thinking some this was left the book but when you get into austin's letters and you realize the sheer amount of mind space this man put into continuing and promulgating slavery in texas, keeping in mind the mexican government wasrightly abolitionist .
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the texans and mexicans nearly came to blows over this any number of times before they finally did in 1835 . >> i want to add one last note. you're not saying that i don't want anyone to take from this that slavery was the only cause of the battle of the animal alamo but neither can you say it was unrelated. it was a cause and beer to farm aucotton and brought them to the alamowith guns . >> can i nerd out a little bit on one other piece of history when you're talking about jason, i think a lot of it was about mexican politics me. this happening down in mexico and what role santa ana played in athat and i thought you could talk for the history geeks among us who are curious how there's geopolitics involved in some of this and what it meant for
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mexico to hold on to their territory which was 2000 miles away from mexico city. >> i think brian did most of the research in that area. >> it's funny, the trigger here is there were a number of triggers at the last minute was clearly the mexican government's move away from federalism towards a centralized mistake but you have to understand what that is for the texas colonists. for the colonists federalism meant that their state governments could essentially and act their own laws including support of slavery so while austin began fighting for slavery mexico city and it up as a capital of sandia at the end fighting in vain to keep it going so that realism really became kind of a code word for slavery . without federalism texans were convinced the central government would do away with
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slavery once and for all as they had repeatedly tried to do . >> this is where the tejano's were the leaders in fighting to maintain federalism. want 16 wanted to put in together a militia to join and protect federalism from santa ana's central government weeks before the anglo texans began to get excited about it. and in many ways, when the texans decided to take up arms against santa ana in the name of liberty, as they co-opted the's desire to remain part of mexico, to return to a federalist mexico and the anglos brought in this idea of, we're just going to steal a third of mexico and hopefully join the united states because yandrew jackson would love to have us. that's kind of the
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internecine politics that were going on. but it was a co-option of this idea that we're fighting for federalism. it was really a fight for permission to hold slaves. >> the propaganda starts there and continues going on 200years . the idea that the texans were oppressed by the deadly santa ana and they werefighting for their freedom . they had their freedom. they had more freedom than anyone else in mexico as 30 years of research has shown. this was not a white community that was being beaten down. they had gotten everything they wanted and more and in the end what they wanted was to have their own militants slave nation whichis what they got for 10 years . >> talk about some of that propaganda and how early on it started and who might be
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-- i don't know if there's one person or who is most responsible for what a lot of people imagine alamo to be. it starts as soon as the accounts we got from susan dickinson, i'm blanking on her first name coming out and her having a morphing and evolving accounts of what happened when she left the alamo and joe, the slave who was there on the premises also having an evolving account but that's very early and then there's news reports and all sorts of various different stories coming out about what happened there and how much can we ever really know ? in addition to that, the story evolves that historians get their closet and you get much is there which is the bible for a lot of folks and certainly his book i've read.
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so yes, there's and consider kind of the gold standard for a lot of folks. so talk about the evolution of the propaganda and propaganda in all the forms of that word. propaganda doesn't always have to be a bad word. >> this is chris especially. >> he was getting drunk on the grasses while william travis send his famous letters begging for reinforcement, promising victory or death. and as soon as houston found out that the alamo had fallen within 72 hours he propagated this myth that somehow the defenders of the alamo were equivalent to the spartans at thermopylae.
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you see that exact phrase used in the texas propaganda sheet within 72 hours of finding out the alamo had fallen. he knew that nothing was slowing down the mexican army. the mexican army waswaiting for another division to show up before it moved on . santa ana was on schedule. then we see houston's men sit down with susanna dickinson and sit down with joe and then all of the accounts dcome through houston's men about who fought, how they died, what the battle was like and in those very early days, when the whites were fleeing back to the united states as part of the runaway street, houston was using this idea of thermocouple i and a fight to the death for the good of all to rally the troops, to slow down the fight and
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create a battle cry. at the same time, the texans agents in the united states were pushing this narrative of this mongrel race of mexicans killing good white men and that every good white man in the united states would get on their course and go totexas they would have a chance to prove themselves in battle . as their great-grandfathers did during the american revolution. so it was a race war and it was a propaganda to try to correct for what was a huge mistake by houston and by travis. >> that narrative had been picked up by several generations of anglo writers. novelists up until the first professionals arrived in texas in the late stage that began right writing about it. just as we're seeing today
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where the state government is trying to eliminate any discussion of the true causes of the revolution and talk about slavery. it's the exact type. that's being floated in legislatures with 1898 to make sure that only one version of a heroic and low version is taught at colleges . and at the university of texas it's dominated the teaching about the alamo that that's exactly what happened. you see a situation where it's this kind of 19th century anglo viewpoint that has been taught predominantly before world war i is frozen in amber and still being taught the kids in the 40s, the 50s and the 60s. it's really not kill the 60s, 70s and 80s when a new generation of latino thinkers and writers and professors begin floating alternate ideas that i believe the true
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history of the alamo, the historical alamo against to come forth in the name of revisionism which i think is probably the wrong word to be called it. it's a truer version of what happened but that gives you some sense of why texas history was frozen or has been frozen to this moment in some ways for so enlong. >> because it started out as something, a form of propaganda and also the domain of hobbyists that real historians didn't mess with the alamo and the texas rubble for a long time. you didn't have any real scholarship , it was amateurish for a long time. >> as late as 1986 there were professionals saying somebody did a scholarly analysis of what happened at the alamo and by and large that hasn't happened in the last 30 or 40 years and we stand on their shoulders who have done so much of the hard work.
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>> some of the scholarship has been looked down upon. there is a historian that's put it as a study of the alamo is the class a. >> exactly right, the guy saying you want to be seen as parochial is so right about the alamo because it's been so dominated by hobbyists and hope fiction that going into doing as professionals as late as the 70s, 80s and 90s was not exactly a tenure-track move. >> questions coming in so keep asking them for sure. i will go ahead and ask. this is a question i'mcurious about two . it is a very fraught topic and it invokes strong feelings from folks. how concerned are you about having written about this and taken on the most sacred cow of all the texas sacred cows
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which is saying something because we love cows in general and to that point, i have to say also as someone who is a woman of color, i'm a little frightened to be on stage with you all but seriously, it is something that does evil strong emotions in people and people have entrenched feelings about this and i'm hoping no one is. for their safety but there is something i think stepping on a limb here and how you all feel about that. >> one of my motivations, i didn't mention this earlier but one of my motivations was to get all the hate mail action chris was getting from his column. there's no thing like a writer for like good hate mail. seeing the militia, there were armed militia darting the cenotaph down there. there are some people --
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there are people in the land office that had people guarding them because of threats from texas militia. there's real concerns there which is why we all exist in a virtual plane so don't bother looking for us because we're not actuallyin austin . >> chris has been in more wars than i can say and i've been in my share of nasty skirmishes over a few years. it's one of those things you can't worry about, it is what it is . >> i had a chance to improve my security system and add a fewmore cameras . >> another question that was dropped in is do you think there's a risk that your books important discussion on how slavery was the cornerstone of the texas revolution will be overshadowed over whether phil collins bought jim bowie's knife. there is this fascination and
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almost distraction, the kind of pop-culture aspect of it. you think that takes away from having these more important conversations and do you think it provides an entrce for people to get the fascination of this musician, i'll look into it and they allow for mortification on the subject? >> we got into this and it was such a target rich environment . yes, there's questions about why the texans revealed. all the way up to the present time we stumbled into this discovery frankly that we never expected that a large segment of conservatives of the phil collins collection at the centerpiece of the new museum is the best you can say is the identification is weak. the more direct thing to say is that it's fake but i don't
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want to say there's something in this book for severybody but we haven't even gotten to about the mets of the battle itself, is trying to surrender. that nobody there at anything like a choice to fight and the fact that as many as half the defenders didn't fight to the death. they fled into the countryside where they were run down and killed by mexican cavalry. we did see maybe putting too much out there but that's the fun of doing it. >> i really thought the phil collins. would drive a lot of the public discussion and it was a cover story of texas monthly but none of the other press about it as focused on it. everyone's talking about the reevaluation of the myth of the alamo through the slavery lens. and we put them both out there and we expected, fully expected to be having a huge political discussion about
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whether or not the taxpayers should be spending hundreds of millions of dollars for a museum for phil collins fixed stuff. it is real stuff, it's just not what he thinks is. the kind of discounted the fact that we live in a political culture right now that isn't rifact-based, it's positional and what you think about phil collins stuff mostly depends on what perspective you're looking at it from and it didn't start a conversation. someday someone is going to ask whether they should spend money to put davy crockett's fake bag in a four-story fraud but most people are interested in examining our foundational nets and i'm frankly a little encouraged by that. >> there's a debate for every generation. that was one of the through lines of the book is that every generation has debated what really happened.
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what did it mean and what's real and what's not . and the fact that we're still having that conversation over artifacts that could end up in a museum and could be paid for by taxpayer money, it just tells us how little we really know so i'm hoping that people will come for whatever reason and have a bit of a multi generational thrill ride. >> one of the questions is talking about the degree to which these myths affect our political atmosphere and you also to that. is there anything to add to that question that you want to talk about here. >> we don't realize governor abbott was going to be moving our book so heavily. but when we started this, twhen chris got this ball rolling two years ago nobody was talking about the alamo
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and we just two years later working on this book with our heads down doing our othing have now suddenly awakened in june 2021 and found that the new york times, washington post, national geographic, everybody and their mother mis writing about this and it's just good time and. >> go back to your mention of governor abbott. he recently bragged about signing legislation creating the 1836 project which is the republicans troll's answer to the 1619 project. they're going to do the most ridiculous thing i've heard in the entire history of the world, pamphlets promoting patriotism and give them to people hitting their driver's licenses. it's just kind of posey bs that's in response to the reaction reevaluation of our foundational net but there are so many examples that
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keep coming up and the most prominent one is the embrace of the gun rights movement from gonzalez in putting in an ar 15 where the cannon was . the symbolism and constructs informed so much of conservative thought these days that it's almost atmospheric. it's pervasive. >> it's a fight over white supremacy. you know, these myths were created to promote white supremacy in government. to justify the massacre of tejano along the border. there have been many horrendous things done in the name of texas exceptionalism and at its core, exceptionalism is about the alamo. and the struggle to maintain slavery.
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and as an older generation that grew up on the walt disney, miniseries about davy crockett who considered john wayne at the alamo to be a documentary, these were all reinforcing this idea of white supremacy and now we're saying that's all a lie and that makes alot of people uncomfortable .when i wrote about the legends about my families slaveholding, how my family supposedly treated slaves well which we now know you can't do that. so yes, i think this is an important political moment and it's especially important when anglos only make up 41 percent of the texas population. >> you talk a lot about the good reason we imagining our history, bringing it into a full or account of what it is
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that we know to be our history. not just in texas but in america and beyond. you talk about the foundational net being offended by talking about the slavery aspect of things. so much of this is alsoabout individual characters . adavy crockett, it's about william travis. it's about sam houston, it's about santa ana and a lot of forgotten characters on the mexican tejano side. is anybody else you think is either the most misunderstood or the person or the character where most wrong about. and who is that and in what way. i would say for instance and i think this struck me in the book is this notion of santa ana and painted as villainous which is , sure there's villainy involved but is he one of the more misunderstood characters out of this story
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or are there other onesare more so misunderstood or wrong about ? >> i think we each have our own favorites. mine is clearly jim bowie was always been painted as this steve mcqueen jim bowie was across. he was a swindler who fled to texas in the face of two federal investigations into what he did in arkansas and especially in louisiana. for that he was not only a slave trader, he was a slave trader of the illegal slaves brought over from you but as was his revolutionary colleague james bannon. buie was a freeloader. he was a corrupt land speculator. he was about as far from steve mcqueen as you get. so he's always been my favorite but i know a lot of people like to go on about travis just because of the facts and i'll just leave
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that hanging there . >> the guy that i kind of really got locked onto was a guy named juan almonte. this son of a renegade spanish priest and an indigenous woman. a child soldier wounded atthe age of eight . goes to evacuate new orleans to escape the spanish inquisition when he's 13 and returns home to join the revolution against pain and becomes a colonel in the mexican army. he goes into texas at five, speaks perfect english, gathers all this intelligence and comes back and said the americans are going to try to steal texas and he's reporting to santa ana. he becomes santa ana's speechwriter.
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he joins with abolitionists in baltimore and plans to bring freed slaves to texas once they push all the anglos out so that free black people and have a colony instead of bo whites from alabama. this is a guy i've never started before i working on this book and he has such an amazing rdline. including coming around to finally try to overthrow santa ana at the end. it's just amazing. >> i'm not sure he's misunderstood but he's probably underappreciated. there's account named after him. if you were pitching this story, about the alamo and texas will to hollywood as a movie without the historical weight of it, you try to pitch travis and you've pitched buie and all these guys and crockett. and you could see a modern movie producer saying tell me
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about that taking guy because he stuck out. warren houston, led the cavalry at the battle of san jacinto and became mayor of san antonio and there is an ethniccleansing . and within a couple of years he's occupying san antonio. he stopped an incredible story arc and if you're telling the story right he would be the most widely known as an in texas and not jim bowie. >> seguin is the great tragic hero of texas historyif you don't know his story is worth picking up the book to read it . >> i'm sure the next act of one seguin the miniseries. there's a question about the analysis of the narrative in media, in film and what has been the most accurate, that was another question.
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what in the book do youthink has the most integrity . most integrity and i put my own gloss on there. the one you think everybody should be treading this book to have a full understanding of. >> i'll leave the last question to you all at the intersection of test fictional account of the alamo, stephen harrigan's case for the alamo. it's respected by everyone, rigorously researched . it's one of the first notes i read just because he's a buddy and you do all this research on the alamo and you realize how much he got right where historians got wrong. even though it's fiction. made up a couple of characters it breaks my heart that they were real but he did a good and responsible job, so much so that when ron howard wanted to make the 2004 movie that he dropped out of about the alamo
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kerrigan was in a room with a whole bunch of historians advising him on accuracy and eventually stayed on as a consultant to the movie was eventually made. that is by far the most accurate movie about the alamo and it is also the least fun. >> the 2004 out alamo, not the movie, terrifically accurate. best book you've never read you should pick up if you like ours is andrew targets bush book called seas of empire which is an economic analysis of the early texas for whose solutions and results are early chaptersare dependent . it's a greatbook . by and large if it was written before 1970 you can probably pass. >> with one exception, jim levers the mayor's. it's a political novel. >> i would recommend one
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seguin's memoir he wrote in 1855. it is elegant, it is detailed . it tells you a story eof the battle of the alamo and the battle for texas independence that it's just a voice you don't hear anywhere right now . and gave a tele has an annotated version out that's wonderful but you don't even need the academic stuff. it's just a great book. >> thank you, all those books we're going to have to get for these book people. i want to talk a little bit about and this goes to one of the questions we have but wrongly, can you talk about some ofthe women of the alamo ? i feel like i'm going to be beating the drum for let's give a full account and some of the characters you might not hear about and not just ask at the alamo, there's less of that for obvious
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reasons but the women who carried the legacy of the alamo, whether that be sarah driscoll or now the daughters of the republic of texas. could you talk about the importance of women carrying some of this history with them and propagation of myth or upending the net or protecting the alamo or any version thereof . >> andina is one of my favorite characters. i worked on the chapter about her. andina was the granddaughter of his apollo, one of mexico's great politicians who joined the texas revolution and became the first vice president of the republic of texas until he was betrayed and resigned in protest .
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andina was a schoolteacher and she was a single catholic woman. her father was sick, her brothers needed her financial help but she was dedicated to the story of texas and the story of her father. she started the movement to try to save the long barracks which was where most of the fighting took place. it was connected to the alamo chapel and she recruited the wealthiest women in texas, crystal. the granddaughter of men who fought at san jacinto. the address of a huge oil and railroad fortune. but clara has traveled a lot in europe and she liked the things and pretty places so the common cause to save the
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alamo and build a park in the middle of san antonio. the only problem is once they got optheir hands on the property they focused on saving the long barracks, clara wanted to carry down to make it chapel and the church the centerpiece. it started one of the great feuds of texas history that went on for years. and people in austin know clara from the driscoll villa . it's where the contemporary museum is. but their story is fascinating and clara goes on to become not only to tear down the long derek but she also becomes one of the most important women in the democratic party in the whole united states in the 1930s and 40s. she was critical to roosevelt's victory. so yes, there are these great strong powerful women but they rewere always on the right side. and like all of this
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complicated and neither a villain nor hero. >> the struggle between india and clara which went on for 40 years pre-figures all that we're talking about that's going on right now. andina who was latina represented trying to tell the whole story, the historically accurate story and clara, muchwealthier , much more powerful had if you look at the story she ended up telling it is a heroic anglo narrative and her ultimate victory over edina really consolidated the heroic anglo narrative as the narrative of the alamo. the unchallenged narrative that has held sway so by and large of all the people that we can blame for the history that we are taught today, there's very few people more responsible than clara driscoll. >> and of course the
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daughters of the republic of texas were given management over the alamo. it was the alamo, the church and long barracks are state property. the plaza outside which is part of city property but the daughters of the republic of texas was running for the better part of the century one of the world's most famous tourist attractions and doing about as well as you can think that a heritage organization could. they were not hiring professionals. they were bad at budgeting w they were extraordinarily good at being hostile enough that no one in's san jose could d mess with them for a long time and it wasn't until three women up and down mostly from the inside. my favorite person i talked to in research was sarah weasley was a daughter and she was enough to understand engineering reports and budgets and she's a great researcher and started ceding a lot of this research to
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scott alderson at the express news and so the daughters were terrified of leaks and then she started sending information to the attorney general who then was greg abbott who started an investigation and to rick perry's office and everyone started to get really worried in austin about the structure , the structural integrity of the alamo church and that is ultimately what forced lawmakers to take control of the alamo away from the daughters and give it to the general land office and they oversaw the daughters management and eventually george took it away but the person who pushed for legislation to do that was the state senator who represented the alamo. she after that joined the daughters of the republic of texas because she is and she likes to say a 10 generation texan. just great stories. >> i think a lot about who owns these things and there
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are obviously questions around ownership of structures. but who owns these stories and the like, there's a lot of reclamation of who gets on the stories that's interesting. so another question we have, in your opinion and taking historically how much trouble is a society and when culture war stands in for policy as opposed to influencing policy . that seems related to what you were talking about with regards to where we are now. >> i am not convinced that it has ever not influenced policy and we've always been in an age when our emotional ties to our stories influence policy and really are the policy. i think it might have more access to information these days we are, our political structure used the more mixed up and we used to have to form coalitions.
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now we sorted ourselves so well it's hard to get out of our divisions. >> i think we take every generation takes from the history the lessons that they need. and i think we're at a place now where we need different lessons to cover our past that what these myths and legends are teaching us and there will always be a segment of the population who wants to hold on to the past and preserve those old stories but to give all, we need to evolve the stories we tell ourselves. >> that's great. i have a couple more questions but of course if anybody else in the audience asked questions i'll drop it in the queue and they. this is a big book, there's a lot going on but i am curious to know how much did you
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research about or learned or decide to include or not include around native american history. there's been entire books written on the native population in texas and how it was, it's been a big part of the mythmaking to in ways that have the same, many of the same ways that the tejano's are in other eyes and i was curious if that's something that came up for you all. what to include, but not to include and how to talk about the native american experience and how that was a big part of the history in general. >> i'd say this book was hainitially 30 percent longer than it is right now . we did a lot of cutting. i think we tried to still talk about why the native americans, i'm not going to
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get thatname right . how they had 1500 of their ancestors buried under the street in front of the alamo and how that cemetery needs to be respected by the state and by everyone involved in renovating the policy. we know that this was a key, that the native american populations were critical to the early formation of the h mission . the comanches in the north had this advanced political culture and how we want go to and from the comanche areas as they negotiated really amazing peace treaties and alliances and we couldn't get into all of that. we were primarily focused on the lives that came out of 13
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days in 1834 i hope one thing we will do moving forward is remember that this is one moment in 13 years history and there's more to it than just those 13 days in 1836. >> it's interesting to talk about working together. one of my other questions is i have to ask a process question. what is it like to write a book with three people? that seems like a lot of arguments. what did you like this, why did you cut it? >> that never happened, we got along famously. >> we just sat in a pool and dictated it into tape recorders and laughed at each other's lines. each was better than the last and it's just a conglomeration.
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>> we become comfortable with physical intimacy with each other and there werelingering hugs . >> know, one of the great things. we've all written and usually it's going into a room inside your head for a long time and living withthat . in this one, the great benefit to that is that you're talking with two smart people you respect and so you get reallychallenging conversations about the ideas . this book got a lot no one of us could have written this book as we alldid together . cause we were challenging each other's ideas all the way down the line. the thinking became a lot more involved than it otherwise would have been. >> absolutely. >> but there's hugging underneath it, lots of hugging. >> all in a place where we can start to do that again. the question from the audience and hard to imagine
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a snappier title than the one dell came up with. was that an easy choice or did you consider any others and i should say this as a spoiler there's another book that has a similar title that you all found. there's a fantasy novel that's called forget the alamo and we found a mexican published history from 1964 that we cite with a very similar name. the name of the book came before any of the work. the name came at the end of the first breakfast where i basically slapped my hand on the table and i said i've got the damnname . and i will say. >> we all slumped our shoulders and realized we had to go ahead and do this because you can't have a good idea with the perfect title and not do it. >> i'd been at two different titles with people where i thought it was okay to talk
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about the book and say what it was going to be 2 different diners, slumped off their chairs onto the floor. so i knew we were onto something. >> brian gets all the credit. we have the title before twe had even outlined the book. >> guess my last question would be unless there's one more but as moderator i feel lllike i can hold this designation ofbeing able to ask the last question . what's been the most surprising thing that you have learned aside from i suppose ryan and jason, the premise that the stating of the alamo was wrong. something that in your recording you felt like is there such a lthing as a stupid to the story 1836 but what's been the most
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surprising thing you've learned ? >> brian and i were having breakfast with a professor at acc and he is one of the fathers of mexican-american studies. they didn't really teach it in texas until he started doing it. this is just an example of how privileged and clueless ryan and i were. he started talking about how that mexican-american kids in texas don't know where mexican-american until they teach that integrated history and there are good guys and bad guys for a long time there's lots of kids around texas who were going to do in he classrooms saying his grandfather killed davy crockett. and texas history has four generations served as a really racial sorting mechanism that teaches a lot of these kidsthat they are the bad guys . and in retrospect it's
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obvious and a lot of people have known this for a long time but i didn't and i was shocked . >> my favorite factoid in the book is the, and it's only a footnote is the story of a little known reddish in your name david jones and when he found out there was another famous british singer named davy jones and the monkeys took his stage name from that of a hero of the alamo but creating david bowie. >> i'm just a geek. i had never seen santa anna's letter that he wrote just before tossing the rio grande saying i'm going to take actors back from the north americans and read their slaves, those wretched souls who are in slaves chains. i never knew that letter existed and two days later he crossed into texas. >> are there any parting
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shots l.from you all three or anything you want to add ? >> the one thing i would say to people are looking at this and maybe considering purchasing is that we have tried not to bang the reader over the head with how wrong all this is but to urge people just to be open to the idea that there are other ideas about what happened. and that other communities and especially communities of color that have viewpoints on texas history and especially the alamo are worth considering. i know it opens my mind. and we've tried to put this out there into the public conversation in a non-preachy way. >> i would say this is a sunny book. we needed to have one voice
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in the whole book and brian took the lead in writing it. and it's a light touch. it's sunny. it's not a boring history book like what you're used to and you'll see some of the reviews are knocking us for that. but i think it's really the only way to have this conversation is with a light touch and to make it fun. and i'd like to think we did that. >> i'm proud this book goes from the beginning to the end , usually they stop somewhere .. this shows the continuum of history and how we are still fighting the same flight today . and i'm proud that we all hold that off. p >> it seems as though you all have become characters in your own book for when the next story will be written and let's be clear, the story is not finished.
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it will be written again. q2 book people and thank you to everyone who came and i appreciate everyone's time tonight . >> thank you for being a great moderator. >> thanks to all of you for joining us tonight. everyone watching at home, thank you for being in this enthusiastic crowd and sharing your questions with us. please buy the book, supports our authors and are independent bookstores. we do have designed copies which makes it even more special so make sure to grab your copy from people. we are open to the public and with that, thank you all and we hope to see you at the next one. >> you been watching american history tv every saturday on c-span2 visit the people and places that tell the american story and what thousands of
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historical stories online anytime at . you can find us on twitter, they spoke and you do at c-span history. >> every saturday american history tv documents america's stories and on sunday book tv brings you the latest in nonfiction books and authors. funding for c-span2 comes from these television companies and more including medco. >> mexico along with these television companies for c-span2 as a public service.


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