Tag Archives: Jim Bowie

‘Three Roads to the Alamo,’ by William C. Davis

In Library and Information Science, there’s a popular concept called “faceting.” Faceting means describing a resource in more than one way, as more than one thing. The idea is that faceting makes it possible to describe an object more fully, in a way that’s more useful to more people.

William C. Davis’ Three Roads to the Alamo is a faceted historical work. Instead of a single narrative, the author takes us along with the Alamo’s three most famous defenders, Crockett, Bowie, and Travis, on their lives’ journeys, providing us not only a fuller description of each of them, but a more three-dimensional picture of America (at least the American south and southwest) during the early 19th Century.

The first subject we meet is the oldest and most famous – even in his own time – Congressman David Crockett of Tennessee. Indeed, as Davis reminds us, Crockett was the very first American media celebrity – the first American to see the newspapers and magazines create for him a separate persona, not entirely unlike him, but exaggerated and oversimplified. It must have been a bizarre life for him – in the east he dined in the finest restaurants, was feted by the rich and powerful, and spoke from the same platforms with Henry Clay and Daniel Webster. When he went home, it was to a dirt-floored cabin and a mountain of debts that never seemed to diminish. He finally solved the debt problem – to a degree – by figuring out how to monetize his celebrity. He wrote his autobiography (which I reviewed here), and it became a bestseller. Continue reading ‘Three Roads to the Alamo,’ by William C. Davis