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The Blood of Heroes: The 13-Day Struggle for the Alamo--and the Sacrifice That Forged a Nation Hardcover – May 15, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; First Edition edition (May 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316053740
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316053747
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.8 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #216,403 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"The best book on the battle [of the Alamo]...Donovan has a splendid sense of historical narrative...Those making their entrance into Alamo lore for the first time are well advised to begin with The Blood of Heroes."—Allen Barra, Houston Chronicle

"The best book on Texas history....This is a big deal.... It's probably the best nonfiction I have read about Texas, history told in a way that reads like fiction....The Blood of Heroes is a good book for anyone with a love of history."—Michael Merschel, Dallas Morning News

"Mr. Donovan's gripping book is history at its best-exactingly sourced and written with a vividness that challenges you to put it down. Even those familiar with an oft-told story will delight in the richness of his detail."—The Washington Times

"Donovan's book reads fast, like a gallop through South Texas. You are carried through it. The Alamo is one of the greatest American stories, and he tells it in a sweeping, propulsive narrative that includes fine portraits of all of those wonderful, larger-than-life figures that have embedded themselves in the national lexicon: General Santa Anna, Jim Bowie, Davy Crockett, and William Barret Travis. A first-rate read from a fine historian."—S.C. Gwynne, author of Empire of the Summer Moon

"The Blood of Heroes is surely the best account to date, one that presents plenty of new insights while acting as a corrective-or at least an alternative viewpoint-to previous accounts....Donovan combines that vital blend of authoritative scholarship with the vivid writing necessary to make an oft-told tale seem fresh."—William C. Davis, Military History Quarterly

"Jim Donovan combines two exceptional talents-those of a first rate story teller and a first rate historian. In The Blood of Heroes, he gives a new and compelling narrative version of one of the most dramatic stories in American History, while at the same time thoughtfully and conscientiously remaining anchored to the wide range of original sources- including many only recently come to light. I predict his book will be one of the best classics to remember the Alamo."—Todd Hansen, The Alamo Reader: A Study in History

"An authoritative, moving retelling of an enduring episode of sacrifice and courage ...Donovan's thoroughly researched and agreeably told story focuses on the 13-day standoff, but he also supplies crucial context...Yes, the Alamo is remembered, but not without controversy. What really happened inside those battered walls? Did Travis really draw a line in the sand, asking all who would stand with him to step across it? Without breaking the flow of his compelling story, Donovan reliably separates fact from legend, persuasively assessing the evidence and artfully setting the scene."—Kirkus Reviews

"Donovan revisits the story and leaves us once again proud of what occurred and of the men who gave their lives....I am...impressed with his more than 100 pages of appendices, notes and bibliography in The Blood of Heroes."—State Journal-Register

About the Author

James Donovan is the author of the bestselling A Terrible Glory: Custer and the Little Bighorn-the Last Great Battle of the American West. He lives in Dallas, Texas.

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Customer Reviews

Well researched and very well written.
R. Boyd
I have read dozens and dozens of books about the 13 day siege and battle of the Alamo and James Donovan's "The Blood of Heroes" is one of the best.
Gene Eric Salecker
This book was so well written that it did not feel like I was reading a text book.
Sharon L. Keim

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

100 of 116 people found the following review helpful By Bruce E. Dettman on April 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Despite its immense fame and place of honor in American history, the 13 day battle of the Alamo has always been shrouded in considerable controversy and mystery. Almost from the moment the fighting ceased on the morning March 6, 1836 with a Mexican force under the command of dictator Antonio Santa having nearly massacred the nearly the entire garrison of some 180 freedom-minded Texians holed up in a broken down mission in San Antonio, Texas -- which included such frontier luminaries as Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie -- questions and conflicting accounts of what went on arose to confront and plague future generations and historians. While over the years a number of well-received and impressive books have been written on the subject including the highly respected A TIME TO STAND by Walter Lord, a great deal of the literature relating to the siege has been the work of well-intentioned although biased interpreters of the events with certain subjective axes to grind which have not always lent themselves to successful or satisfying historical scrutiny. Moreover, new information has to come to light over the last several years which has placed in question certain cherished and long-held beliefs and views regarding the events of 1836. Questioning Texas history can be a challenging business. Questioning its legends even more so. Did Bowie die from his sick bed still fighting to the last? Did Crockett go down swinging his rifle at the advancing hordes or surrender only to be executed later on Santa Anna's orders? Did the Alamo's commander William Travis draw the line in the sand over which all but one defender stepped to establish their willingness to die for the cause? How many defenders did die that day? How many Mexicans lost their lives?Read more ›
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Ethan on June 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover
As a native of San Antonio, Texas, I have always been fascinated by the history of my hometown, and the surrounding areas. As a young child, I had the opportunity to visit the Alamo and the surrounding missions. I'm not sure about other states, but Texans are extremely proud of their history, so I have read and studied about the Battle of the Alamo in school and on my own for many years. Every once in a while, new details emerge, inspiring new versions of the story of the Battle that took place all those years ago.

In The Blood of Heroes, author James Donovan presents a well-researched and gripping recollection of the events surrounding the Battle of the Alamo and the people who have become notable for it. Drawing on recently uncovered primary sources, Donavan introduces people at both ends of the war in the most life like portrayal I have ever encountered. Using both the spoken and written words of the men, Donovan provides a unique insight into the character of the men and their subsequent motivations for fighting, or not, in the war for Texas independence.

Despite being a work of nonfiction, the story feels like a well-written novel, always describing interesting details while never sacrificing the pace of the action. I found the descriptions of the weaponry used to be a fascinating insight into the tools that were used during combat of the time period (1836). The 200 Texans, severely under-armed and extremely outnumbered (the Mexican army had thousands), fought valiantly for 13 days. All Texans are familiar with the tragic fate met by the 200 men, but the details brought to light in this book allow fresh insights into the familiar story. Donovan has crafted what is sure to become one of the definitive collections on the Battle of the Alamo.
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37 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Robert Busko VINE VOICE on May 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover
It goes without much argument that the battle for the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas is one of the most remembered fights in American history. Former immigrants to Texas, a state of Mexico at the time, revolt against the mother country because of broken promises and the installment of a dictator, General Santa Ana. While the revolt is disorganized and poorly funded in the early stages, a group of American farmers and frontiersmen take the old mission, the Alamo, from General Cos and continue to fortify it. In time, about 180 Americans and Mexican sympathizers man the mission and face one of the Western Hemisphere's premier Armies and respected generals. The Alamo and the defenders manage to resist for 13 days, succumbing in time to more manpower and heavier firepower of the Army of Operations.

James Donovan in his The Blood of Heroes: The 13-Day Struggle for the Alamo and the Sacrifice that Forged a Nation brings his considerable research and writing abilities to the Battle for the Alamo. His previous book, A Terrible Glory, examined the Battle of the Little Bighorn and it is highly regarded by most readers. I suspect that Blood or Heroes will also receive high praise.

One of the difficulties of writing on such a charged topic as the Alamo is the lack of significant evidence. Since all the defenders perished and only a few "non-combatants" escaped there is a lack of what happened during the battle inside the fort. Both Susanna Dickenson and "Joe", Travis' surviving slave did relate what they new about the battle. The Mexicans, who were the nominal victors, have not left much in the way of testimony, and, of course, they weren't in the Alamo during the siege. Of great value to historians are the dispatches sent by Col.
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