SAN JACINTO by James Pohl


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An accessible, well-illustrated study of one of the great turning points in American history—namely, the battle that established the independence of Texas.

The Alamo is a Texas shrine. The 570-foot-tall monument at the San Jacinto battlefield outside Houston is another hallowed site, though it is less well-known. The two places are closely linked, of course: The Texas struggle for independence against Mexico was most famously (if disastrously) waged at the former, but Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna’s vaunted army was crushed at the latter, on a swampy stretch of land at the head of Galveston Bay. This app comprises Pohl’s 1989 study of the battle, originally published by the Texas State Historical Association, to which illustrations, external links and panoramic photographs have been added. Pohl’s text is suitably dramatic, if sometimes intemperate, as when, for instance, he characterizes Santa Anna as “a thirty-nine-year-old opportunist with tyrannical tendencies” and “a cruel streak” to boot. Yet Pohl’s account is not uncritical; he notes, for instance, that Jim Bowie ignored Sam Houston’s orders to destroy the Alamo and instead decided to make a stand there (“If it occurred to him that he was disobeying orders, he did not seem to be troubled”). Three panoramic photographs, which can be resized and rotated with finger swipes, are linked to a reproduction of the famed Yoakum map of 1855. An appendix by historian Jeffrey Dunn explores the administrative and cartographic history of the battlefield, though some of the historical maps that accompany it are murkily reproduced.

Travelers to the battlefield will find this a useful companion, and economy-minded students of Texas history will welcome having Pohl’s text at half the price of the print edition.


Pub Date: April 9th, 2013
Publisher: JoSara MeDia
Review Posted Online:


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