Originally Posted: December 11, 2019
Andrew R. Graybill is professor of history and director of the William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies at Southern Methodist University.
On the eve of the publication of his new book about the Texas Revolution, Brian Kilmeade gave a promotional interview to his Fox News colleague Tucker Carlson. “All they wanted was a shot at success,” he said of the Anglo settlers who in the 1820s and 1830s flocked to what was then northern Mexico. “[T]hey said, ‘I’ll be a part of Mexico as long as you give us freedom and liberty.’” But, as Kilmeade explained to Carlson, when the Mexican government abrogated what the Americans believed were their rights—including unfettered immigration from the United States and easy access to cheap land—the newcomers took up arms and fought for independence. It was a choice that many, at the time and ever since, have likened to the actions of the Minutemen at Lexington and Concord in April 1775. This is an alluring story. It is also largely a myth.
In Sam Houston & the Alamo Avengers: The Texas Victory That Changed American History (Sentinel/Penguin Random House), Kilmeade, the co-host of the morning show Fox & Friends, reprises the formula that made his three previous books—and this one—runaway bestsellers: pick a Great (white) Man and a pivotal moment in the American past, and show how the two combined to alter the course of U.S. history. Sam Houston thus joins Kilmeade’s pantheon of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Andrew Jackson, whose exploits symbolize “What Made America Great,” the name of Kilmeade’s history series on Fox Nation. (Recent episode: “The Walls That Saved America.”) READ MORE