Praise for


“A great read that is both exciting and informative. . .explores the central role slavery played in Texas.” – PHILADELPHIA SUN

“An absorbing read that makes the case that the extension of slavery, not the yearning for freedom from oppressive Mexico, was the underlying motivation for the Texas War of Independence.  It is the first novel to present turbulent pre-statehood Texas from the perspective of a slave caught up in the conflict between the Mexican government and frontiersmen hungry for land.  – NORMAN TRANSCRIPT

“A good read.”  LONE STAR EDITOR

“Extremely interesting history.  I didn’t realize how much more besides the Alamo there was to the Texas revolution of the 1830s.”  HISTORICAL NOVELS REVIEW

“story of a slave who dreams of freedom. . . offers a glimpse of multiple cultures.” SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS

“Russell takes the first North American Slaveholders’ Rebellion as his focus and brings it to life through the exciting story of a slave seeking his freedom and the master who is determined to keep him enslaved.  His version of history may be startling to those whose only exposure to it comes from State of Texas approved textbooks, but it is very much in line with the real scholarship on the subject.  And his choice of a dramatic personal story to bring it to life is very effective.  Readers will find it hard to put down—I certainly did.” –STAN NADEL, author of European Mobility and Salzburg and the Jews

“I read this book with eyes getting wider and wider as I read. It’s amazing how the grade-school imagery of the Alamo, etc. stuck in my mind for decades after I came to regard the subsequent Mexican-American war as an imperialist grab. This novel shows the insertion of Anglo slave owners and African American slaves into one part of a Mexican state and how it impacted the Mexicans and Indians who had testy relations with each other as well as with the newcomers. Texas “independence” meant independence for slave owners from the off-and-on attempts of the Mexican government to end or ameliorate slavery throughout its territory. I went back and forth as to how believable the two main characters were (James, a very resourceful slave and his half-shrewd and half-myopic owner, Bingham). But they’re both lodged in my mind as standing for the dynamics of what was going on in this part of Mexico. The author has created an emotional involvement for at least this reader, and I hope a lot of other people give themselves a chance to experience it.”– JIM O’BRIEN, editorial collective member, Radical History Review

“Easily accessible, engaging and dramatic to bring us a piece of North American history that too few of us are aware of. . believable and in tune with the realities of the time. . .allows us to broaden our own imagination to wonder “what if” Texas independence had failed and the land that is now the southwestern U.S. had remained part of the republic of Mexico.”—MAYNARD SEIDER, film director, A Farewell to Factory Towns?

“Readers will see the likeness to Howard Fast’s Freedom Road in Russell’s fast-moving narrative of slave-free and white-Indian-Mexican conflicts surrounding the Texas War of Independence”—JERRY LEMBCKE, author of The Spitting Image:  Myth, Memory and the War in Vietnam and Hanoi Jane:  War, Sex and Fantasies of Betrayal

A tantalizing, compelling, and learned look into an under-examined period of history that bridges the experiences of African-Americans, Mexicans, Afro-Mexicans, Native-Americans, and Anglo-Americans alike. Few other books have so keenly explored what border life may have been like in the years leading up to the Mexican-American War. Certainly, no novel has so astutely captured the mindset of black slaves and their complicated relationships with Mexico during this era. This is an unusual piece of fiction, both for its tight historical accuracy and the scope of its imagination. This is a gripping and wonderful narrative, packed with surprises, as well as new lessons in history.” –BEN VINSON III, Johns Hopkins University, author of Black Mexico and Flight: The Story of Virgil Richardson, A Tuskegee Airman in Mexico



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