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Children's LiteratureA 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