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Book Reviews Jesús F. De La Teja, Editor Music oftheAlamo: From ipth-Cenlury Ballads to Big-Screen Soundtracks. By William R. Chemerka and AllenJ. Wiener. Introduction by Phil Collins. Foreword by Fess Parker. (Houston: Bright Sky Press, 2008. Pp. 192. Color illustrations, discography , bibliography. ISBN 97819339793 1 1, $2 1.95 clotii.) To be honest, I was a bit apprehensive about reading this book. The glossy cover design, the opening commentaries by celebrities Fess Parker and Phil Collins , and the central theme—the music of the Alamo—had me concerned that this publication might be mosdy fluff, suitable as a souvenir for tourists visiting the Alamo gift shop but not much more than that. I am pleased to say that I was wrong. Very wrong. It is not that this is not an attractive, readable book that can be enjoyed by anyone , historian or casual reader. It is. The images are impressive, the layout is well conceived, and die music CD included in the back cover sleeve provides a nice, broad sampling of music associated with the Alamo. This is an accessible, engaging , entertaining work that anyone with an interest in Texas history and culture would find rewarding. However, Music ofthe Alamo is also impressive in terms of its scholarship. It is not intended to be an exhaustive academic examination of the topic, so it is not laden with abstract historiographical arguments or extensive footnoting, but it is fairly well documented, and it does include a thoughtful, rather in-depth discussion ofthe many social, cultural, and political issues that helped shape the current mythology surrounding the state's most famous historical shrine. Rather than focusing primarily on the brave deeds of Davy Crockett, William Travis, and others, as so many books about the Alamo have done, Chemerka and Wiener provide a very balanced account of the well-known battle and the subsequent mythology by candidly addressing such thorny issues as racism, ethnic stereotyping , and hero worship. The authors do a goodjob of affording due respect to the Alamo and its defenders while still pointing out that much of the popular music associated with this famous site has been manufactured by those seeking to glorify the dead as martyrs or simply to turn a profit. Music is, after all, die book's main theme, and Chemerka and Wiener present a wide variety of song samples, ranging from the Civil War era to die present, which illustrate how the Alamo and some of its more prominent defenders (most notably Davy Crockett) have been celebrated throughout the world. Music oj tL· Alamo includes sheet music, movie posters, photos ofAlamo-related merchandise, and a number of other images that help explainjust how central music has been to the evolution and perpetuation of die Alamo myth. It also includes an extensive 254Southwestern Historical QuarterlyOctober bibliography and discography that help guide the reader to additional sources of information. All in all, this is a well-researched, well-written, and beautifully designed book that will be enjoyed by almost anyone interested in Texas music history. Texas State University-San MarcosGary Hartman How Cities Won the West: Four Centuries of Urban Change in Western North America. By Carl Abbott. (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2008. Pp. 358. Illustrations, maps, notes, bibliographic note, index. ISBN 9780826333124, $34-95 cloth). By invoking the intentionally provocative phrase "Won the West," Carl Abbott's tide alerts readers of two important themes oudined in his story: the centrality and, indeed, "triumph" of cities on the western landscape and the author's desire to situate cities at die heart ofhistorical debates on the American West. Regarding the latter point, his book is as much a history of the North American West as it is a history of cities within it—a relationship inextricably linked. Abbott also traces the changes western cities experienced from their earliest frontier stage to dieir present-day status as centers for global innovation. The cities of the West evolved from a dependent, almost child-like relationship with the East to themselves being the mature parent, stimulating economic, social, and intellectual change in North America and the world. In short, Abbott asserts, "We can say that the cities ofwestern...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1558-9560
Print ISSN
0038-478X
Pages
pp. 253-254
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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