The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

politician, and staunch defender of the Union. It depicts him as
a man of tremendous personal courage, as a military genius, as
a political maneuverer without equal on the local, national, and
international stage, as a highly sophisticated and civilized man,
well-grounded in the classics, and as a simple savage in the woods.
He is seen as a mystic with a strong underlying practicality, and
as an ambition-ridden adventurer with ideals for which he will-
ingly would sacrifice his career.
These are the usual Houston contradictions with which most
readers will be familiar, but Wisehart also points up the Houston
seldom mentioned in the nearly half-a-hundred other biographies
of the man. This is the quiet, self-contained man of unyielding
integrity, who went his own way and kept his own counsel under
the most trying conditions, doing what he believed to be right,
regardless of the probable cost in popularity and fame. This is
the Houston who wrote Andrew Jackson from his exile in the
Arkansas Territory, when his star had fallen to its lowest point,
and when he was attacked and maligned from all sides: "Yet, I am
myself-a proud and honest man." This is the Houston who ig-
nored the mutinous mutterings of his lieutenants and the con-
tinual abuses of President Burnet during the long, dreary retreat
across Texas, telling no one of his plans until he found his own
time and place to attack and defeat the Mexicans. This is the
Houston who risked his own popularity, and possibly his neck,
to prevent the execution of the captured Santa Anna, because he
knew Santa Anna alive was necessary to the safety of Texas. Final-
ly, this is the Houston, who in his old age, stepped down from
the governorship of Texas, rather than involve his own people
in civil strife, while never giving an inch from his declared posi-
tion that Secession was evil and the war which would surely fol-
low an unnecessary tragedy.
With all his fumblings on minor matters, Wisehart has depicted
Sam Houston boldly, and in full figure. Until a better Houston
biography comes along, this one must stand near the top of the
lengthy list. R. HENDERSON SHUFFLER
Humanities Research Center
The University of Texas

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101196/. Accessed May 27, 2015.