THE EAGLE AND THE RAVEN by James A. Michener


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First printing of a novella-sized outtake from Michener's behemoth Texas (1985): the story of the revolution of 1836, which severed Texas from Mexico, and of the duel between firebrand Sam Houston's insurgent Texicans and a punitive Mexican army led by glory-mongering scoundrel Santa Anna. In a lengthy introduction, Michener explains the publishing history of this novel and of the sunburst of writing that produced ten books from him between 1986 and 1990. As an adventurous adolescent, the 6'2" Houston would escape from his family's Tennessee farm and go live with the Cherokee Indians, take on their ways and learn their language. Santa Anna meanwhile was born a Creole, soon became idled with dreams of military glory, joined the Mexican infantry, quickly rose to command in the cavalry and led his troops in rapacious attacks against Indians and revolutionaries who questioned the authority of the Spanish army. When rebels arose in the northern province of Tejas, Santa Anna crossed the Rio Grande to slay them. Earlier, Houston had become a teacher, a lawyer, fought beside General Andrew Jackson, represented the Cherokee in Washington for their treaty, and rose to major-general in the Tennessee Militia because of his commanding presence and oratorical gifts. With Mexico breaking away from Spain and crowning its own emperor, Santa Anna went through a sea-change, became an ardent republican and by 1836 had been four times President of Mexico. With Texas seceding, he marched 5,000 troops noah to confront Davy Crockett, Sam Bowie and their 184 Anglo invaders awaiting the Mexicans at the Alamo in San Antonio. After that slaughter, Houston's outnumbered men attacked Santa Anna at San Jacinto, slaying 600 Mexicans in 18 minutes. Exiled four times, Santa Anna went on to be Mexico's president 11 times, ceded incredible areas of Mexico to the States, and died a pauper but no hero. Rapid semifiction done in bold strokes, though not densely imagined.
Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1990
ISBN: 074931415X
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: State House Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1990


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