The Breach

Written by Brian Kaufman
Review by Cindy Vallar

Although few Americans remember March 6, 1836, many know the event connected with that date – the day Santa Ana’s army breached the defenses of the Alamo and many brave Americans died. The Breach recounts the events before, during, and after the Alamo from the viewpoint of the Mexicans. General Castrillón, an officer in Santa Ana’s army, shares his thoughts, experiences, and opinions of his commander, the march to Texas, the siege, and the final confrontation between the two forces at the Battle of San Jacinto.

Written as a translation of Castrillón’s journal, replete with footnotes explaining prior events or identifying people, The Breach is so well crafted that the reader believes the journal actually exists rather than being a figment of the author’s imagination. The recounting of how Mr. Kaufman acquired the journal adds further credence to this belief, yet in the end he acknowledges it is a work of fiction, even though Castrillón actually lived. Kaufman’s Mexicans rouse the reader’s sympathy and anger. His is a realistic portrayal of a historical event steeped in legend with a poignant account of Davy Crockett’s death. The inclusion of Castrillón’s last thoughts on the battle to come and a letter from an American chronicling that fateful encounter put the finishing touches on a moving novel.