James C. Kearney
James C. Kearney teaches at the University of Texas in Austin. He is the author of several books and articles on Texas German history, culture, and literature. He is a member of the Texas Institute of Letters and the Texas State Historical Association and serves on the advisory board of the German-Texan Heritage Society.
"Inside the Texas Revolution: The Enigmatic Memoir of Herman Ehrenberg will be of profound and enduring interest to specialists in the field, and will also likely attract a readership among the general audience of those interested in Texas history. It must also be said that the scholarship is so sound that the book resulting from this manuscript will be just as useful to specialists fifty, seventy-five, or even one hundred years from now as it is today. The manuscript is, in that regard, timeless."
--Light Townsend Cummins, Bryan Professor Emeritus, Austin College and former State Historian of Texas
- Edited by James E. Crisp, with the assistance of Louis E. Brister.
- Translated by Louis E. Brister, with the assistance of James C. Kearney.
Herman Ehrenberg wrote the longest, most complete, and most vivid memoir of any soldier in the Texan revolutionary army. His narrative was published in Germany in 1843, but it was little used by Texas historians until the twentieth century, when the first—and very problematic—attempts at translation into English were made. Inside the Texas Revolution: The Enigmatic Memoir of Herman Ehrenberg is a product of the translation skills of the late Louis E. Brister with the assistance of James C. Kearney, both noted specialists on Germans in Texas. The volume’s editor, James E. Crisp, has spent much of the last 27 years solving many of the mysteries that still surrounded Ehrenberg’s life. It was Crisp who discovered that Ehrenberg lived in the Texas Republic until at least 1840, and spent the spring of that year as ranger on the frontier.
Ehrenberg was not a historian, but an ordinary citizen whose narrative of the Texas Revolution contains both spectacular eyewitness accounts of action and almost mythologized versions of major events that he did not witness himself. This volume points out where Ehrenberg is lying or embellishing, explains why he is doing so, and narrates the actual relevant facts as far as they can be determined. Ehrenberg’s book is both a testament by a young Texan “everyman” who presents a laudatory paean to the Texan cause, and a German’s explanation of Texas and its “fight for freedom” against Mexico to his fellow Germans—with a powerful subtext that patriotic Germans should aspire to a similar struggle, and a similar outcome: a free, democratic republic.