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This Way Slaughter: A Novel of William Barret Travis

279 pages3 hours


This Way Slaughter, an original work of literary, biographical fiction about "the Voice of the Texas Revolution" and Commander of the Alamo, William Barret Travis, marks the first and only time that figure has received full-length treatment in a novel. Typically a character portrayed as a rather minor stick figure forfeit to a much larger, unthinkably violent and bloody drama, one overshadowed by more celebrated names like Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie and Sam Houston, Slaughter places the 26-year-old attorney, schoolteacher, editor and diarist centerstage where he is subjected to relentlessly probing, yet empathic scrutiny. Here is "Buck" Travis, not as pop culture insists upon depicting him, but as a living, breathing, "walking around" human being, warts and all: Valorous to a fault, yet capable of the most bitter cynicism. Intellectually brilliant, yet a courtier of romance. A political firebrand with but a begrudging interest in politics. An unwilling warrior more interested in words than in weaponry who found himself reluctantly drafted into occupying an epic, history-making role for which he considered himself singularly ill-suited. In the end, what emerges in the course of the novel is an indelible, highly provocative portrait of a conflicted, fatalistic, yet duty-bound young man haunted by an unsavory past, pledged to an impossible present, and pursued by an inescapable future, one whose violent love affair with an even more violent Texas frontier, cost him his life. On another level, the novel is both a meditation on historical time, and the manner in which the interplay between fact and fiction determines the kinds of stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, about our past, and about how we choose to bequeath those stories to the future.

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