H.W. Brands‘s Lone Star Nation: How a Ragged Army of Volunteers Won the Battle for Texas Independence–and Changed America is more than just a history of the development of Texas as a nation and eventual force in the American landscape. It is a really good read that forces you to continue as Brand weaves tales of some of the most colorful and interesting characters in American history.
His contention however, toward the end of the book, that Texas and America are most alike in the way that they forced themselves on the indigenous peoples and allowed their eventual replacement with democracy to justify atrocities, is a bit much. Sure, it happened, but Brand puts such a left-wing slant as to make you tune out the facts behind it. Much like Michael Moore – his hyperbole does harm to his case by causing readers/listeners/viewers to stop listening and assume it is all propaganda.
If you want to know the real skinny about how minor twists of fate such as the robbery of Moses Austin, and the bad marriage of Sam Houston led to the coming together of some of the greatest names in history at a pivotal moment in time – this is a great book. Forget the movies… forget the textbooks, this is an excellent way to get your early Texas history.
by Chris Doelle