Featured Image (above): The Presidio La Bahia in Goliad, fortress occupied by Col. James Fannin and his men before the mass executions of Fannin and other Texian survivors who fought at the Battle of Coleto Creek, near Goliad.
The Edge of Freedom, A Fact-Based Novel of the Texas Revolution, chronicles the events of the Goliad campaign in the Texas Revolution. The Goliad executions occurred on Palm Sunday, March 27, 1836. The Alamo fell three weeks earlier, and in April of that year Sam Houston led Texian forces to a surprise victory over the Mexicans at the Battle of San Jacinto, his men screaming “Remember the Alamo!” and “Remember Goliad!”
Multiple films and scores of books confirm that the Alamo story has certainly been remembered. It is a compelling story, but it has become as mythical as it is historical because of its treatment in book and film. The author of The Edge of Freedom believes that the Goliad story is too often forgotten because it reveals the complexities of life and of history that the emphasis on the Alamo often obscures. The controversial efforts of two men, Colonel James Walker Fannin, the Texian commander, and his Mexican counterpart, General José de Urrea, to save lives on both sides, despite the cruel edicts of General Santa Anna, deserve a greater share of our historical memory than they have gained thus far.
If the Alamo was a glorious sacrifice in the cause of freedom, then Goliad was a bold if risky gambit in the cause of peace. While we honor those who were killed in Goliad almost 180 years ago, let us honor as well what men and women on both sides tried to do before the slaughter of Fannin and almost all of his men took place on Palm Sunday, 1836. The deepest tragedy of Goliad was that the risky gambit succeeded only for a few.
The novel is “fact-based” in that it follows the day by day chronology of the major events of the Goliad story from October 1835 to Palm Sunday 1836, using actual historical characters almost exclusively. Two of these, Carlos de la Garza and John White Bower, were business partners before the Texas Revolution, then fought on opposing sides during the Goliad campaign. Their interrelated lives and subsequent fate are also a major part of the story, as is the heroic intervention of Francita Alavez, rightly called the “Angel of Goliad.”
The book is true to the chronology of historical events and does not distort the historical record regarding the known actions of major characters. It does tell much of the story from the internal points of view of the main characters, and some scenes are fictional, though written to be plausible in light of what is known about the people and places of the period. The annotated bibliography page will give the reader some idea of the sources and historical interpretations that helped to guide the writing of the novel.
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