Big Wonderful Thing: A History of Texas

 
The Gates of the Alamo Cover

A huge, riveting, deeply imagined novel about the siege and fall of the Alamo in 1836—an event that formed the consciousness of Texas and that resonates through American history—The Gates of the Alamo follows the lives of three people whose fates become bound to the now-fabled Texas fort: Edmund McGowan, a proud and gifted naturalist whose life's work is threatened by the war against Mexico; the resourceful, widowed innkeeper Mary Mott; and her sixteen-year-old son, Terrell, whose first shattering experience with love leads him instead to war, and into the crucible of the Alamo. The story unfolds with vivid immediacy and describes the pivotal battle from the perspective of the Mexican attackers as well as the American defenders. Filled with dramatic scenes, and abounding in fictional and historical personalities--among them James Bowie, David Crockett, William Travis, and General Santa Anna--The Gates of the Alamo enfolds us in history and, through its remarkable and passionate storytelling, allows us to participate at last in an American legend.


Reviews

 

“Masterly storytelling. . . Harrigan makes us care afresh. . . The result is a genuinely moving epic.”—Malcolm Jones, Newsweek

“A time and a place, a vanished world in which gallant death and honor still held tangible appeal, while merciless slaughter was more likely the rule, are evoked with great skill.”—Robert Houston, The New York Times Book Review

“The Gates of the Alamo is an example of the historical novel at its best. With it, Harrigan has fulfilled his promise and emerged as the leading Texan writer of his generation and an American writer of the first rank.”—Michael Lind, San Francisco Chronicle

“Stephen Harrigan’s carefully crafted and exhaustively researched novel calls to mind the best of Larry McMurtry and Cormac McCarthy.”—Bill Croke, The Wall Street Journal

“Riveting. . . resonant. . . An extraordinarily authentic novel. . . superior storytelling, no small accomplishment when a writer is staring down the hot barrel of history.”—Ron Franscell, Washington Post Book World

“The Gates of the Alamo wildly succeeds in reinventing a tired American icon. Harrigan makes the Alamo remembering one more time.”—Jeff Long, The Denver Post

“Harrigan writes beautifully of the Texas landscape and beautifully of the failures of the human heart. . . [His] gift to us is an artful, intelligent novel that makes the hard work of memory terrifically worthwhile.”—Alyson Hagy, The Boston Sunday Globe

“We have the first great American novel of the 21stcentury. It is “The Gates of the Alamo”, a book by Stephen Harrigan whose subject is obvious from the title and whose quality is almost inestimable.”—Jeff Guinn, Fort Worth Star Telegram

“Races like a wild mustang. . . a vast and vicious tale told in an unobtrusive style. . . prepare to be swept along.”—Marta Salij, Detroit Free Press

“An original work of high distinction. . . as fine a historical novel as any within recent memory.”—Kirkus Reviews