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26oSouthwestern Historical QuarterlyOctober would have spoiled the fun ofdiscovering the extent ofhis animosity on your own" (26g). If reading more than two hundred pages of a screaming hissy fit matches one's notion of fun, I recommend Filisola's narrative without reservation. Most readers, however, will discover that Filisola's "analysis" provides more heat than light. Readers will close the book thinking considerably less of both generals. If Filisola wished to secure his place in history, a stately silence would have served him better. Even so, this translation makes a constructive contribution to die historical record. Dr. Dimmick is correct when he notes, "Even though very biased, to the point of absurdity at times, Filisola does make a convincing argument that Urrea was not necessarily die 'Golden Boy' of the Mexican army in Texas" (xxii). While not recommended as anyone's first book on the Texas War for Independence, serious scholars will welcome the volume as one that provides a "glimpse into the hearts and minds of the Mexican generals" (xxiv). McMurry UniversityStephen L. Hardin Texian Macabre: TheMelancholy Tale ofa HanginginEarly Houston. By Stephen L. Hardin . Illustrated by Gary S. Zaboly. (Abilene: State House Press, 2007. Pp. 334. Illustrations, notes, chronology, bibliography, index. ISBN 978^33337203, $24^5 cloth.) Focusing on both well-known individuals and relatively obscure personalities, Stephen L. Hardin paints a vivid picture of Houston's frontier culture during the years shordy after the Texas Revolution. The lesser-known subjects include David JamesJones who, within two years of his heroic actions in the Texas Revolution, died on die gallows for a murder he committed in Houston. Hardin usesJones's melancholy saga as a narrative thread to engage readers and transport them to the early Republic of Texas. By explaining the context ofJones's misadventures, the author skillfully develops two primary themes regarding die young nation's temporary capital. One of those themes highlights the importance of Houston's environment and living conditions. The other theme stresses the significance of the newborn city's dynamic combination oflow-class reprobates and more respectable , upper-crust citizens. Hardin merges his emphasis on Houston widi Jones's astonishing story by effectively alternating between chronologically organized material and a more theme-based approach. After a brief introduction and prologue, Hardin uses his first two chapters to describe the context ofJones's valor at the Batde of Coleto Creek, his escape from Mexican soldiers at the Goliad Massacre, and his heroics in the Batde of SanJacinto. In the following chapter, die author shifts to the first of his Houston themes and clearly shows that poor living conditions made the Sword ofSanJacinto's namesake city a miserable place for its populace. The harsh setting included ramshackle housing built on swampland, extreme temperature variations, oppressive humidity, and a dazzling abundance of mosquitoes, rats, fleas, and other vermin. In chapters four and five, Hardin spodights Houston's diverse population. The 2oogBook Reviews261 town's inhabitants included a considerable number of so-called rowdy loafers, many of whom were unemployed veterans of die Texas Revolution. The opposite end of the spectrum—referred to by some as "the virtuous part of the community "—consisted ofresidents such as a sanctimonious newspaper editor who championedJones 's conviction and execution, a former Texas governor who presided atJones's trial, and a well-educated lawyer who, some years after robbingJones's shallow grave, would become the richest man in Texas. Hardin leaves no doubt that the interests and interactions of the city's varied population made Houston a dangerous and tremendously exciting place. Chapter six returns to Jones and takes the reader through the felon's crime, trial, and hanging, as well as die subsequent macabre mutilation of his corpse. The numerous primary and secondary materials referenced in thirty pages of endnotes and a fourteen-page bibliography reflect the meticulous research that makes Hardin's work particularly convincing. In addition, several aspects of his book make it especially readable and enjoyable. First, Hardin enhances his considerable storytelling ability with a breezy, witty writing style that accomplishes his stated intention "to get past die academic vernacular [and] write a book someone would want to read" (xvii). Second, to help readers remember the order...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1558-9560
Print ISSN
0038-478X
Pages
pp. 260-261
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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