≡ Menu

Houston Displayed

I need to alert you guys that my latest book—Houston Displayed; Or Who Won the Battle of San Jacinto? —is now available in all its glory. I say “my” book but it’s been around since 1837 (I haven’t been around quite that long.) I’m only the editor but there’s a lot of me in there too.

What’s it all about, Alfie?
Some of you are old enough to get the reference.
You whippersnappers can Google it.

Late in January, 1837, a slender thirty-eight-page pamphlet purportedly written by a “Farmer in the Army” appeared on the scene in the early days of the Texas Republic. It had been secretly printed in Velasco and the author had dared to assert that General Sam Houston (now president) had almost nothing to do with the Texian victory at San Jacinto, that he had tried to avoid combat, and he finally fought only because the rank-and-file demanded it. The anonymous author also cast many aspersions on Houston’s conduct and character—alleging drunkenness, drug abuse, erratic behavior, and even an attempted suicide.

President Houston was not amused.

He knew that Robert M. Coleman, who had served on his staff during the San Jacinto campaign, was the likely author. He had Coleman thrown in jail and had his political associates suppress the damning pamphlet.

And they did a remarkably thorough job.

Consequently, the 1837 and 1841 editions are extremely rare. Only six nineteenth-century copies survive in public repositories. In 1964, Brick Row Book Shop in Austin reprinted it in facsimile. The late John H. Jenkins provided an introduction, but nowadays even that edition is difficult to locate (and expensive if one can). Jenkins later included Houston Displayed in his Basic Texas Books: An Annotated Bibliography of Selected Works for a Research Library.

This new edition—number 13 in the Library of Texas series—offers readers a scholarly introduction by moi, an accurate text and 139 explanatory footnotes, a bibliography, and an index.

I couldn’t be more pleased with the way the book turned out. It is a beauty. Bradley Hutchinson at Digital Letterpress in Austin designed and set it in Miller type. The volume is printed in an edition of five hundred copies on cream Mohawk Superfine paper and bound in boards, with a decorative paper cover and cloth spine. At $40 and 132 pages, it offers a bit more content than the original 38-page pamphlet, in a handsome and (at last) legible typeface.

Houston Displayed; or Who Won the Battle of San Jacinto? is an essential reference for any Texana or Texas Revolution collection. (And I would say that even if I had not edited it.)

There are only five hundred copies and when they’re gone, they’re gone forever. That’s the deal with fine press books. So I’m giving all my followers an early heads-up.

So, Steve, how do I acquire my very own limited-edition copy of Houston Displayed?
I’m so glad you asked.

Follow this link to purchase the book from the DeGolyer Library Bookstore online ($40 plus shipping), but act fast. I’d hate to see any of my loyal followers who want a copy to miss out.

Love all you guys,

Next post:

Previous post: