Friday, May 30, 2008

historical what ifs

History is so full of those little tiny, what ifs? What if this had happened, then how would that have affected the course of...say the Allied victory? And reading John Adams, his first trip to Europe could easily have ended at the bottom of the ocean because of the storms and the threat of the British Navy. And how would that have affected the course of American Independence.
I bring this up because of a book I'm currently reading: Lone Star Nation: The Epic Story of the Battle for Texas Independence by H. W. Brands. I had that "what if" moment when reading about Sam Houston and the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in 1813, where he was pretty much left for dead on the battlefield due to his wounds...only he didn't succumb and he woke up the next morning (and was then given the proper medical treatment of the day).
And I thought..."wow...what would have happened had Sam Houston not woken up?" How would that have changed the historical landscape of the border area? It's been several years since my Texas history class (a big reason why I'm reading this book), but I know he was pretty important. Definitely know he was a President and that he was also pretty important in the fight for Texas' independence.
But the Raven survived and helped history become the way it is. If he hadn't, would others have stepped up to take his place? It's just interesting...all those what ifs. History's interesting.
I know, a very profound statement, no? But if you do want to learn a little about this state that, I think, has been so romanticized, then I suggest Brands' book. And of course there are Michener's book. We read The Eagle and the Raven (the Eagle is Santa Anna and the Raven is Sam Houston) in that Texas history class, and my Mom read Texas shortly before moving to the state and she's recommended it to me. I just haven't gotten around to reading it yet, but I will. And then I'll let you know what I think.

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