The Alamo: An Illustrated History, by George Nelson

My Copy: 9780965915908 (image from

I picked this book up at the Alamo’s gift shop, and for the longest time that was the only place (other than the publisher) where you could find it. For those who want a copy, thank goodness for e-bay and book resell outlets. It still looks like getting a brand spanking new copy is going to be tricky online.

However, this one’s a hard-won keeper. Mine’s one of the few souvenirs of a geography trip across Texas a decade ago and I’m not giving it up. I’m definitely glad I bought it, because I like looking at historical landscapes, and at the time, I’d just gotten into it.

Nelson’s The Alamo: An Illustrated History is a thin book, but well researched and written about the history of the Alamo and what went on before and after the great 1836 battle, the changes to the area and memorials that came and went (or thankfully never came to be). There are lots of maps and photos to please the eyes, but plenty of text, too–even if it’s just over 100 pages. There’s more than enough to learn.

It’s amazing to see historical maps drawn by the army figures and missionaries in the pioneering years, and then photographs of San Antonio as it developed, tore things down and rebuilt. It’s interesting how the Alamo largely stayed intact. At least, the main church we’re all familiar with did to some extent (some surprising architectural changes were made that might shock die-hard Texas history buffs. The photos and timelines show how other facets of the mission land have come and gone, been restored and demolished in turns.

Anybody with an affinity for Texas history or historical geography should take a good look at this book. I recommend it, and definitely get an extra copy if you’re going to “San Antone.” You never know who’ll appreciate it.

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