Joe’s Alamo: Unsung delves into the rich history of the Alamo as well as other elements of American history by focusing his narrative primarily on minority populations that were a vital part of the battle. The title character Joe is originally presented to readers as a slave who finds himself being sold to a young school teacher, who has grand designs for the future. These two men wind up traveling to Texas and during their time together Joe learns to read and ultimately speak Spanish, which would ultimately help him survive.
Lewis Cook has a diverse history himself having worked in a number of fields and one of his jobs led him to teach science to middle schoolers in Texas. This led him to have to learn a great deal more about the history of Texas in order to keep up with his students, one of whom loved to ask particularly challenging questions. This book was inspired by quote of Joe’s, who was the only male survivor of the Alamo. While this is a work of fiction, Cook did do his best to create something that shares the experiences of diverse minority people. His story of Joe shows a man who is often underestimated, but uses every chance he finds to grow and learn himself. Even if he is not a free man, he is able to learn to read and write. He also finds love in a fellow slave named Emily, their story though is anything, but easy. While they had thought they would be together forever, though the marriage of his owner and the daughter of the family Emily belongs to, issues arise there and the two are forced apart.
Cook uses both of these characters as a way to examine the treatment of slaves during this period and the lives that they had to lead under the system of slavery. Emily is forced into situations that are dangerous and she at one point is even forced to flee for her safety. Outside of these characters we are introduced to a number of people who were part of the Alamo, including Susana Dickinson. She is another character that Cook very specifically included in this story. She is the wife of Captain Almaron Dickinson and is a tremendous force of nature. Not only does she assist the doctor, but she is able to also help on the battlefield. This story is a fun historical fiction read that shares a more inclusive story of the events of the Alamo. While there are more serious elements, Cook does try and include levity and joy for many of the characters in the face of danger. You can get your copy of Joe’s Alamo: Unsung today.