The epic, oft-told origin story of Texas centers on the Lone Star State’s most infamous battle: the Battle of the Alamo, where American heroes such as Davy Crockett fought to the death against the Mexican army to secure Texas’s independence. The only problem, according to the writer and journalist Bryan Burrough, is that this founding legend isn’t all true. In June, Burrough and two other Texan writers set out to debunk the myth of the Alamo, only to find themselves in an unexpected battle with Texans still trying to protect their state’s revered origin story.
“The Anglo power structure here, which still dominates politics and the media,” Burrough says, “can clearly see that if the myth melts away, other things could begin to melt away as well.”
This week on The Experiment: how a history book ignited a ferocious debate over Texas’s founding legend, and how this battle climbed the ranks all the way up to the Texas GOP.
This episode’s guest is Bryan Burrough, a co-author of Forget the Alamo: The Rise and Fall of an American Myth.
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This episode was produced by Gabrielle Berbey and Julia Longoria. Editing by Katherine Wells. Fact-check by William Brennan. Sound design by David Herman.
Music by Parish Council (“Marmalade Day,” “Leaving the TV on at Night,” and “Mopping”) and Keyboard (“The World Eating”), provided by Tasty Morsels. Additional music by Joe Plourde, Sam Spence (“Overland” and “River Crossing”), and Antonín Dvořák (“Symphony No. 8 in G Major, Op. 88, B. 163: I. Allegro con brio”). Additional audio from @ThisIsTexasFF; This Is Texas Freedom Force; KXAN; Walt Disney Productions, via Mabay Aleya and The Shadow; and Texas Public Policy Foundation.