Event Category: Literary Events
San Miguel Literary Sala Presents
DISTINGUISHED SPEAKER SERIES
Forget the Alamo with Chris Tomlinson and Jason Stanford
Interviewed by Brad Rockwell
Zoom Event: October 17, 2021 6:00–7:30 PM CDT
Sliding Scale Pricing
by Vicki Totten
Old myths, and the legends born from those myths, die hard. That is the broader message in Forget the Alamo: The Rise and Fall of an American Myth, which is about more than just what happened at the Alamo. The book focuses on little known details about the “heroes” of the Alamo and the cultural significance of how the Alamo became a symbol of Texas’ grit. The book highlights our failure to accurately explore and record our history from more than the Anglo Saxon’s perspective, which leaves out the important contributions of Mexicans and opens the door for false and incomplete narratives to grow into myths.
Using extensive historical records, the three authors offer a different version of the impetus for the battle at the Alamo and of General Santa Anna than the one taught. The role slavery played in the desire to split from Mexico, is highlighted, as is the challenges of getting people to come to Texas without their slaves. Some reviewers and some Texas politicians, claim the book is a retelling of the Alamo that puts Texas into a negative light. Texas’ Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick took such offense that he demanded the Bob Bullock Texas History Museum cancel a scheduled talk with the authors. Recent bills in the Texas legislature limiting what teachers can teach related to racism and culture, underscore the desire to cling to these whitewashed myths. After all, if you are trying to keep a myth alive, this retelling of Texas’ founding is not the story you want told.
The second part of the book expands the scope beyond the Alamo to show how the limited and false narrative taught in every 7th grade Texas classroom continues to be kept alive. This portion looks at how popular books, movies, tv series, and even a comic strip, kept these myths alive, by fictionalizing events and making the very flawed Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie and William B. Travis into heroes. One particularly stunning example involves a popular racist comic strip distributed in the classrooms of Texas 7th graders for more than 30 years. Forget the Alamo is a reminder of how re-examining our history can be important if we want to avoid passing along those myths to the next generation.
Two of the authors, Chris Tomlinson and Jason Stanford, will be participating in this event. Tomlinson is a columnist for the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News and author of the New York Times-bestselling Tomlinson Hill. Stanford’s bylines have appeared in Texas Monthly and other Texas publications, the Los Angeles Times and MSNBC. His weekly newsletter is called The Experiment.
The conversation will be led by Brad Rockwell, whose book The Life and Times of Alberto G. Garcia: Physician, Mexican Revolutionary, Texas Journalist, Yogi was a finalist for the 2021 Austin Chronicle Best New Book award.
This Distinguished Speaker Zoom presentation is on Sunday, October 17, 2021, 6:00–7:30 PM CDT.
Tickets are on a pay-what-you-wish scale $5-50 USD and are available at sanmiguelliterarysala.org.
Our purpose is to offer visibility, community, and inspiration to the writers and readers of San Miguel de Allende; to honor the long history of distinguished writers living and working here; to enrich the cultural life and educational opportunities for local residents in both Spanish and English; and to establish San Miguel de Allende as a leading destination for literary and cultural tourism commensurate with its status as a World Heritage Site. We believe that reading and writing are essential, that great literature enriches our lives, feeds our souls, and facilitates greater understanding of ourselves and others.