The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 100, July 1996 - April, 1997

Book Reviews

After writing her first book, Star of Destiny: The Private Life of Sam and Margaret
Houston, Madge Thornal Roberts was encouraged and told of a need for a new
edition of Houston correspondence that should consist of all known and avail-
able Houston writings, including his personal letters (p. ix). Heeding this advice,
Roberts undertook the mammoth task of editing the first volume of the Personal
Correspondence of Sam Houston, 2839--r845. This volume furnishes new insights
into the life of Sam Houston, information concerning many subjects that Hous-
ton scholars have long debated. Such material includes, but is not limited to, his
love for his wife, his law practice, his finances, his belief in God, and his ability to
stop drinking. More importantly, these letters reveal the private mind of Sam
Houston.
This correspondence offer the readers a first-hand glimpse into the romantic
world of a couple deeply committed to each other. Sam Houston wrote his wife
at least once and sometime twice a day. Through these romantic letters, one of-
ten gets a sense of how Houston's private life affected his public actions, of the
tension between the public and private life of the man who was President of the
Republic of Texas. These letters also convey evidence of Margaret Houston's
success in convincing her husband to adopt the cause of temperance, with at
least one incident of backsliding.
The letters in this volume, listed chronologically, consist primarily of those
Houston sent to and received from his wife, as well as sent to and received from
military leaders, businessmen, Native American leaders, senators, and governors.
Focusing on one of the most celebrated figures in Texas history, this correspon-
dence will be useful to scholars and students researching the Texas Republic
and the movement toward annexation. Likewise, they provide insights for social
historians through the intriguing details about nineteenth-century manners,
dress, medical practices, farming, transportation, and family dynamics. Not only
do these letters paint a vivid picture of a time and its events but also about how
Houston's religious belief influenced his attitudes toward marriage and family.
Robert has done a thorough job in researching and editing the personal cor-
respondence of Sam Houston. This work represents a respectable achievement,
as it joins a growing list of works on Sam Houston. It also adds a new perspective
to the private life of one of Texas's most celebrated public servants.
Texas Southern University MERLINE PITRE
The Frontiers of Women's Writzng: Women's Narratives and the Rhetoric of Westward Ex-
panszon. By Brigitte Georgi-Findlay. (Tucson: University of Arizona Press,
1996). Pp. xx+349. Preface, acknowledgments, introduction, notes, bibliog-
raphy, index. ISBN 0-8165-1597-2. $19.95, paper.)
Brigitte Georgi-Findlay, a literature professor, deconstructs "texts" (as she calls
them) written by white women who traveled west between 1830 and 1930. Her
writers represent a variety of frontiering types: Midwestern prairie settlers, over-
land trail travelers, army officers' wives, independent adventurers, and Indian
Service matrons. Informed by feminist and postmodern theoretical approaches,

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 100, July 1996 - April, 1997. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101218/. Accessed April 17, 2014.