Day That Changed America: Alamo

Overview

They were surrounded-and outnumbered twenty to one. For twelve days, the men, women, and children holed up inside the Alamo fought off attacks from the Mexican army. There was no help in sight and the odds were overwhelming. Finally, as morning dawned on March 6, 1836, the final battle was upon them. But they were determined to stand bravely and never give up the fight for Texas.

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Overview

They were surrounded-and outnumbered twenty to one. For twelve days, the men, women, and children holed up inside the Alamo fought off attacks from the Mexican army. There was no help in sight and the odds were overwhelming. Finally, as morning dawned on March 6, 1836, the final battle was upon them. But they were determined to stand bravely and never give up the fight for Texas.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
A new title in the "A Day That Changed America" series, this reference text provides readers a comprehensive look at the Battle of the Alamo and the people and events surrounding it. Told in story form from the perspectives of a young boy and a young mother, the work paints a clear, honest, and often disturbing portrait of life during the siege, one that a distanced, more abstract telling could not provide. Readers are there in the fortress, seeing, smelling, feeling the horror right along side the rebels who lived, fought, and died on that same ground. The text begins with background information that sets the scene for the battle, laying the groundwork for understanding the conflict between the Mexican peoples and the rebel Texans who wishes to break free from the dictatorial rule of Santa Anna. Remaining chapters describe the battle and aftermath as well as a description of the modern day site of the Alamo. Information boxes provide supplemental details regarding Santa Anna's rise to power, James Bowie's talent with a knife, Davy Crockett's life and connection to the battle, and legends that arose from both fact and fiction. The text, although dramatic and visual on its own, is enhanced further by historical photographs, true-to-life paintings, and artifacts such as letters and maps. A glossary, index, and lists of recommended readings and websites are included. The absence of a table of contents, however, limits ease of use. A thoughtful, well-written work that will help students witness history in a powerfully real way. 2003, Madison Press/Hyperion, Ages 11 to 16.
— Wendy Glenn
VOYA
This series, with its striking covers that suggest the front pages of period newspapers, highlights major events and their significance in American history. The Alamo does an admirable job of arranging the complex events involving the Mexican American mix living in the volatile atmosphere of the time. Americans (Texians) had increasingly been moving into areas of Mexico in the 1830s, and as the Mexican government became less tolerant of them, the Texians were reluctant to be ruled by the Mexicans. They eventually chose to make a stand when Mexican President Santa Ana sent troops to San Antonio. Tanaka briefly provides background, but the majority of the book is a vivid description of the twelve-day siege and the ultimate slaughter of the outnumbered Texians. Prominent figures present during the siege and lesser-known figures are described well, giving a first-person intimacy to the tragedy. The layout of the fort and daily conditions within are detailed. Full-color maps, black-and-white photographs, and Craig's dramatic colorful paintings help to make this series an excellent resource for school assignments or for young readers interested in history. Older students completing a more detailed report would need to seek additional information. A third series title covers D-Day. (A Day That Changed America).. VOYA Codes 4Q 3P M (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8). 2003, Hyperion, 48p.; Glossary. Index. Illus. Photos. Maps. Biblio. Further Reading., Ages 11 to 14.
—Eileen Kuhl
Library Journal
Gr 4-8-With covers designed to look like banner headline stories, these books about two formative days enhance American history lessons. Briefer than the "Sieges That Changed the World" series (Chelsea), these volumes are more visually appealing with simple prose, spreads that show diagrams of the respective battlefields, and a look at the inevitable legends that arose from the carnage. (Curiously, Stephen F. Austin, who continued his father's mission of encouraging Anglo colonization of the Mexican-owned land called Texas, merits no mention in the cursory look at the legendary last stand at the Alamo). Craig's full- and double-page paintings supplement archival photographs in these picture-book formatted slices of history. Sidebars and brief, age-appropriate lists for further reading help make the re-creations of each day a bit more accessible-and memorable.-John Sigwald, Unger Memorial Library, Plainview, TX Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The battle at the Alamo in 1836 fueled events leading to statehood for Texas in 1845, and by the end of the Mexican-American War in 1848, Mexico had lost half of its vast empire. Tanaka and Craig portray the battle in all of its color and drama. Attractive design, dramatic paintings, colorful maps, archival photographs, and biographical sketches of James Bowie, William Travis, and Davy Crockett bring the history alive. The importance of this event to Texas statehood and the territorial expansion of the US is clearly explained. However, the Mexican government's concerns over the flood of Anglo settlers, the origins of the Alamo itself, the Battle of San Jacinto, and the bloody revenge exacted by Sam Houston's troops in the name of "Remember the Alamo!" are given cursory treatment. The slight bibliography includes Jim Murphy's Inside the Alamo (p. 393), a better choice for a slightly older audience. (epilogue, glossary, index, Web sites) (Nonfiction. 8-12)
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