KSAT Explains Q&A: Author of ‘Forget the Alamo’ discusses what history books get wrong about Texas Independence

Author Chris Tomlinson joined RJ Marquez to discuss Alamo, Phil Collins

SAN ANTONIOEditor’s note: The KSAT Explains team hosted author Chris Tomlinson on Tuesday evening for a live discussion about the myths and truths about the story of the Alamo. You can watch the full Q&A in the video player above.

Most people have heard about the Alamo and the battle that took place on its grounds. But over the years, more people have become familiar with the myths than with the whole, complicated story.

Perhaps there’s no better moment in time to scrutinize how we’ve told and retold the story of the Battle of the Alamo. For the past several years, more Americans have become critical of how we remember historic events and people. Confederate monuments across the country have come down. Without a doubt, more people today know about the Tulsa Race Massacre than did five years ago.

READ MORE: New book raises questions about authenticity of some high-profile items in Phil Collins’ famed Alamo artifacts collection

This summer, a trio of Texans released a book boldly titled Forget the Alamo: The Rise and Fall of an American Myth. As the title implies, the book interrogates the stories that have come to be associated with the men who defended the Alamo, and questions what they were really fighting for.

In Forget the Alamo, Chris Tomlinson, Bryan Burrough and Jason Stanford argue that how we view the Alamo’s past has more to do with perpetuating white supremacy than most would care to admit. For that reason, the book’s release has been polarizing. Just look at the Amazon reviews.

The book’s release also comes just a couple of months after a new Alamo redesign plan was approved by San Antonio City Council members. The plan had to be revised after the Texas Historical Commission voted in September to block the relocation of the Cenotaph, a monument that pays tribute to the fallen Alamo Defenders. The plan to repair and move the monument several hundred feet south was one of the most controversial elements of the previous redesign proposal.

Since its release, the book has been a lightning rod topic for discussion across the state. Watch the video above to learn more about the legends and myths associated with the Alamo. Chris Tomlinson then joined us to discuss the reaction he’s received to the book and the questions surrounding the authenticity of some flashy items in the famed Phil Collins Alamo artifacts collection.

Watch KSAT Explains: The myths, truth and battle over how the Alamo is remembered in the video player below.


About the Authors:

Lexi Salazar produces KSAT Explains, a weekly, in-depth streaming show that digs into the most important issues facing San Antonio. She previously produced the News at 9, San Antonio's first streaming-only news program.

RJ Marquez has been at KSAT since 2010. He's covered a variety of stories and events across the San Antonio area, and is the lead reporter for KSAT Explains. He also covers the Spurs for on-air and digital platforms. You can see RJ regularly on KSAT Explains and Good Morning San Antonio. He also writes a weekly Spurs newsletter.