Sword of San Jacinto: A Life of Sam Houston

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Overview

Sam Houston was one of the most remarkable figures in American history. He was a native of Virginia who as a soldier, statesman, and adventurer made his mark on the frontier in Tennessee and the Arkansas Territory and then went on to dominate the early history of Texas. Now, drawing on newly accessible archival material, in particular the more than five thousand letters and documents in the Andrew Jackson Houston Collection of the Texas State Archives, historian Marshall De Bruhl vividly re-creates the career of ...
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Overview

Sam Houston was one of the most remarkable figures in American history. He was a native of Virginia who as a soldier, statesman, and adventurer made his mark on the frontier in Tennessee and the Arkansas Territory and then went on to dominate the early history of Texas. Now, drawing on newly accessible archival material, in particular the more than five thousand letters and documents in the Andrew Jackson Houston Collection of the Texas State Archives, historian Marshall De Bruhl vividly re-creates the career of this larger-than-life hero. In a narrative brimming with fascinating details, De Bruhl captures Houston in all his complexity. A frontiersman who lived among the Cherokee Indians for many years - he was the adopted son of Chief Ooleteka and a full citizen of the Cherokee Nation - Houston became a passionate defender of Indian rights. As a soldier, Sam Houston served under Andrew Jackson in the War of 1812 - and ensured Texas independence in 1836 with his astonishing victory over Santa Anna and the Mexican army at San Jacinto. As a politician, Houston was a Tennessee congressman at age thirty and then governor at age thirty-six. He then went on to be the first elected president of the Republic of Texas and one of the first senators from the new state. Because of his ardent defense of the Union and his refusal to swear allegiance to the Confederacy, he was deposed as governor of Texas in 1861. Houston's personal life was as tumultuous as his political and military careers. He married three times, always to much younger women. The first marriage, to an eighteen-year-old, ended mysteriously when she left him only eleven weeks later, whereupon he resigned the governorship of Tennessee and fled to the west and exile among his old Cherokee friends. It was there he married Tiana, the beautiful niece of Chief Ooleteka. Years later, at age forty-six, he married a woman of twenty, who bore eight children during their devoted and happy marriage. Although Houston di
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Timed to appear on the 200th birthday of Sam Houston (1793-1863), this finely researched biography adopts a more descriptive approach to the ``father of Texas'' than does John Hoyt Williams's Sam Houston (Nonfiction Forecasts, Nov. 30). Where Williams vigorously finds controversies and contradictions in Houston's personal and political conduct, De Bruhl tends to deflate or minimize them, from the frequently sensationalized failure of his brief first marriage (the author speculates simply that Houston's bride was repulsed by his war wounds) to his command of the pivotal battle of San Jacinto. De Bruhl, an editor of the Dictionary of American Biography , evokes his subject's personality, both his pitifulness in his mid-career self-exile and his flashes of humor--when a friend pressed him to reveal the reason for his failed marriage, Houston asked if he could keep a secret; the friend answered, ``Of course I can'' and Houston replied, ``So can I.'' Well-chosen details set the atmosphere surrounding Houston's ascent as the first president of Texas, eventually its senator and, in a futile bid to preserve the Union, its governor. Illustrations not seen by PW. Author tour. (Mar.)
Library Journal
March 2, 1993 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Sam Houston, and this is the second major biography to celebrate that occasion, after John Hoyt Williams's Sam Houston: A Biography of the Father of Texas ( LJ 1/93). Both biographies cover the same ground with the same emphases, but while De Bruhl does not provide quite as much detail, he shows more of Houston's skill as an orator. Although there are no notes, De Bruhl, like Williams, has thoroughly examined the available sources, including a recent find of Houston letters, and has produced a well-written narrative that enables the reader to come to grips with the complex personality of Houston. De Bruhl views his subject favorably but does not hide Houston's faults in presenting a portrait of the whole man. Of the two biographies, academic libraries will prefer Williams's scholarly approach while public and school libraries should first look to De Bruhl's well-written and lively account; specialized collections will need both. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 11/1/92.-- Stephen H. Peters, Northern Michigan Univ. Lib., Marquette
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679753025
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/3/1994

Table of Contents

Author's Note
1 The Houstons of Virginia 3
2 Coming of Age in Tennessee 22
3 A Soldier's Life 36
4 Congressman Houston 62
5 Governor Houston 88
6 The Wigwam Neosho 105
7 The Emigrant 142
8 The Texas Revolution 164
9 Retreat to Glory 186
10 Sam Jacinto - President of the Republic of Texas 214
11 A Disloyal Opposition 258
12 A Second Term 286
13 Our Union - It Must Be Preserved 311
14 The North, the South, and Texas 337
15 The Jacksonian as Know-Nothing 357
16 The End of the Battle 378
Notes 405
Bibliography 415
Index 427
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