Encyclopedia of the Alamo
and the Texas Revolution
by Thom Hatch
McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers
Jefferson, North Carolina, 1999
$55.00, 229 pages
including a selected bibliography and index
with maps and illustrations
The publishers description of this book states that This comprehensive encyclopedia provides thorough coverage for people, places, events, and issues spanning the pre-Revolution period and settlement of Texas by Americans to the forming of the Republic in 1836. Mr. Hatch's encyclopedic effort does cover the Alamo and the Texas Revolution from A to Z. Entries include a day-by-day account of the thirteen day Alamo siege, biographies of major players such as Crockett, Bowie, Houston, and Santa Anna, accounts of battles, and short biographies of every Alamo defender killed in the battle. The two illustrations and three maps are adequate, but not detailed.
This book provides nothing that cannot be found in superior and less costly publications, namely Alan Huffines Blood of Noble Men, Tim and Terry Todish's Alamo Sourcebook 1836, and Bill Groneman's Alamo Defenders. Of these three books, only Alamo Defenders is included in the Selected Bibliography. This reviewer will concede that Blood of Noble Men was probably not available at the time this book was written, but Alamo Sourcebook certainly was.
The publisher states that in some instances obscure sources were used to obtain information for biographies of Alamo defenders. This reviewer found nothing obscure in the sources listed in the bibliography, and the lack of footnotes make it impossible to determine where the author got his information. The absence of works of current scholarship including the plethora of articles found in The Alamo Journal and in books such as Three Roads to the Alamo: The Lives and Fortunes of David Crockett, James Bowie, and William Barret Travis by William C. Davis are deficiencies that need to be corrected if another edition of this book is planned.
Encyclopedia of the Alamo and the Texas Revolution is a visually attractive book that does not justify its hefty price tag which will probably scare away any neophyte. Alamo scholars and buffs already have this information provided in other books. But if one just has to have every Alamo book, take along your credit card for this one.