The Alamo: An Illustrated History
by George Nelson
Everyone who has visited San Antonio and the Alamo is probably familiar with the work of George Nelson. He did the bronze relief map of the Alamo located in Alamo Plaza, and the relief map of San Antonio on display at the IMAX theater. Several of his paintings are now displayed on the new Alamo Wall of History.
The Alamo: An Illustrated History is a history of the Alamo from its founding until the present, and is an excellent compilation of maps, illustrations and photographs of the Alamo and San Antonio. There are some extremely well done paintings by George Nelson, showing the Alamo at various points in time. One, a painting of San Antonio and the Alamo in 1836, I found especially interesting. The color paintings by George make the book worth buying, but there are many other illustrations that I have not seen before; it is great to have them all together in one book.
One of my favorite parts of the book is the chapter on the Alamo during the American Civil War. George credits Alamo de Parras' own Kevin Young for supplying much of the information on this section. If General Twiggs, the commander of the U.S. troops in Texas, had showed the same gumption and sense of duty as Maj. Robert Anderson in Charleston, the first shot of the Civil War might have been fired at the Alamo instead of at Fort Sumter.
Another section that I found fascinating was that in which George tells where the top of the Alamo Chapel may have originated. I won't give this one away; if you don't already know, you'll have to get the book to find out!
There are quite a few annoying typographical errors but they are pretty obvious, so they don't detract from the text. The only addition I wish George Nelson had made to the book would have been to add more lengthy explanatory captions to his own illustrations. His interpretations differ in some ways from those of other illustrators and I wish he would have explained some of the reasons behind his interpretations. However, no matter how much information George supplied, I would probably be wishing for more.
As I have been saying, this is an excellent book and deserves a spot on any Alamo enthusiast's book shelf. Actually, it is as handsome a volume as most "coffee table" books, but I would never risk leaving my copy on the coffee table.--Bob Durham, Contributing EditorThe Second Flying Company of Alamo de ParrasThe Alamo, An Illustrated History is an in depth review of the long and complex story of the intriguing site. Over 100 old maps and pictures along with a review of 300 years of historical records from various archives provide the reader with vivid eyewitness accounts of how the Alamo looked and the rich human history that has taken place there. Included are six color bird's-eye views by the author.