The Secret War for Texas
Texas History
5.75 x 9.25, 248 pp.
4 line art., 4 maps.
Pub Date: 01/05/2007
Elma Dill Russell Spencer Series in the West and Southwest
  cloth
Price:        $29.95

978-1-58544-565-3
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Published by Texas A&M University Press
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2007 Summerfield G. Roberts Award, presented by The Sons of the Republic of Texas

The Secret War for Texas

By Stuart Reid

Could the British have stopped Manifest Destiny in its tracks in 1836?

A Scottish doctor named James Grant was the agent who tried to make it happen, and Texas was the stage on which the secret battle was fought.

On the eve of the Texas uprising, only two things stood in the way of American ambitions to reach the Pacific Ocean: the British claim to the Oregon country and the vast but sparsely populated Mexican province of Texas. Britain was therefore almost as concerned with the outcome of the Texians’ war as Mexico was.

At a crucial point when Texians had to decide whether to seek rights within the Federal Republic of Mexico or to secede and ally with the United States, James Grant led a band of followers toward Mexico, with the intent of forming a state within that nation. His efforts met enduring accusations that he fatally weakened the Alamo by stripping it of men, ammunition, and medical supplies. When Grant was killed on the ill-fated Matamoros expedition, British hopes of blocking the upstart Americans died, too.

Yet, despite his important role, Grant remains a shadowy and often sinister figure routinely condemned by historians and frequently dismissed out of hand as merely an unscrupulous land speculator. Drawing heavily on British sources, Reid tells the forgotten story of Dr. James Grant and the twelve-year-long secret war for Texas, from his involvement in the “silly quixotic” Fredonian Rebellion to the bloody battles along the Atascosita Road. The international scope of the story makes this far more than just another tale of the Texas Revolution.

STUART REID is a historical consultant to the National Trust for Scotland for the Culloden Moor Memorial Project. He has been a librarian, a boatman, a professional soldier, a cartographer, and a surveyor, among other things. He has written twelve entries for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and is the author of fourteen previous books. He lives in the United Kingdom.

What Readers Are Saying:

“...paints a broader picture of the international interests conflicting in the Texas Revolution. . . .offers an interesting interpretation of Texas history, the Texas Revolution, and it will provide one more book to the library of those many Texans who are driven to scratch and scrutinize every cranny of the Alamo.” --Andres Tijerina

“...paints a broader picture of the international interests conflicting in the Texas Revolution. . . .offers an interesting interpretation of Texas history, the Texas Revolution, and it will provide one more book to the library of those many Texans who are driven to scratch and scrutinize every cranny of the Alamo.” --Andres Tijerina

“In The Secret War for Texas, Stuart Reid carefully clarifies the fascinating adventure of Dr. James Grant, the “rogue British agent” of the Texas Revolution. Reid removes the enigmatic historical shroud from Grant and eloquently illustrates the Scotsman as a key player in Great Britain and the United States’ long-term struggle for North America.” --William R. Chemerka, Founder of The Alamo Society, Editor of The Al

“Forget what you think you know about the Texas Revolution! In this lively, readable, even audacious book, Stuart Reid provides startling new evidence that the cherished story of Texas independence must rightly be viewed not only as part of a wider Mexican civil war but as a ‘secret war’ between London and Washington fro mastery of the North American continent. By focusing on his direct ancestor Dr. James Grant—the controversial schemer of the so-called ‘Matamoros Expedition’—Reid weaves a spellbinding tale of international intrigue, unmasking the intrepid Dr. Grant as a British agent, not the baneful character scorned in history. Tapping records in the British Foreign Office, Reid demonstrates how British desires to hinder American ‘Manifest Destiny’ lay at the heart of Grant’s mission, which if successful, would have kept Texas out of American hands. Reid’s insightful, compelling narrative and masterful synthesis will serve as the point of departure for all subsequent work. Delightful reading!” --Craig H. Roell, Ph. D., Professor of History, Georgia Southern University

The history of this political and military intrigue is well presented and well documented with copious notes. The Secret War for Texas is a valuable literary addition for Texas and Alamo enthusiasts.” --True West

" . . . provocative . . . a valuable work. Reid has raised challenging questions that deserve fuller answers. Scholars and students of Texas history should add Reid's monograph to their bookshelves as it adds to the texture of the Texas Revolution and provides an appealing alternative to traditional scholarship on the subject." --East Texas Historical Journal

“His argument is certainly a novel one . . . . makes for a dramatic story . . . . have the added advantage of being true . .. an engaging narrative . . . serves to remind us of the larger, geopolitical context in which the insurrection in Texas occurred.” --Western Historical Quarterly

“The Secret War for Texas makes for a dramatic story . . . . This is, nonetheless, an engaging narrative, which sheds new light on the Matamoros campaign.” --Western Historical Quarterly

“Reid has done a remarkable job of gathering and digesting available sources . . . He makes an interesting case.” --Archie P. McDonald

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