The Edge of Freedom
Author: John Willingham
Publisher: Inkwater Press (2011)
Binding: Paperback, 404 pages
The Alamo resounds in memory and myth...Goliad whispers from the shadows. Along with the familiar stories of Jim Bowie, David Crockett, and William B. Travis-the heroes of the Alamo-it is time, in the 175th anniversary year of the Revolution, to understand the more complex stories of James W. Fannin and his Mexican counterpart, José de Urrea. In The Edge of Freedom, these and other historical figures show that the search for peace at Goliad was as dramatic as the fight for glory at the Alamo.
If you are interested in Texas history beyond the Alamo, this novel is appropriate. The cover has a photo silhouette of the old mission, a moody representation of the era of the Texas Revolution. Blending historical figures with fictional characters, Willingham brings 1835 and 1836 Texas to life. The book allows the reader to appreciate the conflict engendered in local residents confronted with an independent Texas and their loyalty to Mexico.
Filled with historical situations and detail, the book is a slow but interesting read. The most intriguing character is the Mexican General Urrea, who walked a fine line between politics and soldiering. His biggest conflict was trying to appease Santa Anna while avoiding war crimes. After engaging with the Texans, he fought to balance his own judgment of the defenders as frail human beings trying to change their situation with the demands of a leader who says kill them, they are pirates and terrorist.
After reading this story, I'm reminded of the best last line in the movie, "Lone Star." Look it up.
Reviewed by: John R. R. Faulkner (2012)