Unsettled Land by Sam W. Haynes takes a gleeful and enjoyable mythbusting to these long held, and enduring, myths ... The most interesting part of the narrative is Haynes’s exploration of Mexican politics of the period and how Mexican politics influenced, if not outright caused, the Texas Revolution ... A good history that aims to mythbust many of these enduring myths of Texas in the early nineteenth century.
A powerful counternarrative to the traditional foundational myths about the defense of the Alamo and the origins of Texas ... Haynes’s riveting tale of the state’s violent, intolerant, color-coded history reverberates in the radical politics of today’s increasingly radical Texas Republican Party.
Haynes’ history of early Texas goes beyond the usual focus on battles at the Alamo and San Jacinto, widening his scope to include all who lived in or emigrated to Texas. Instead of discussing Native Americans as a monolithic bloc, he portrays individuals from different tribes. Haynes also identifies the shifting policies of various factions in the complicated politics of newly independent Mexico, and explains how they affected relations with Texans. He illuminates the lives of Mexican settlers, African American freemen, and enslaved people, some of whom were illegal immigrants after Mexico passed a law to restrict American settlement ... With over 100 characters, the narrative can be challenging, requiring rereading or a visit to the index. Three maps and 30 illustrations complement the text. Haynes generously acknowledges the help of librarians and archivists in research, especially during the pandemic.