The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 29, July 1925 - April, 1926 Page: 318
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
quarter of a century. The result is singularly happy; worthy
alike of the founder of Texas and of the author; an enduring
historical study; a biographical classic; and a masterpiece of lit-
It is not easy to tell, in five hundred pages, the life story of
Stephen F. Austin. He was, heart, mind, soul and body, of a
type which thrives in civilization, and ordinarily works and dwells
where civilization flourishes. Austin in an old world court, or at
a great seat of learning, would have easily found his place. But
circumstances dictated that he should live, labor and die, in the
farthermost outposts of the Anglo-American frontier. Barker has
visualized his life there against its background of raw frontier
conditions, Indian wars, Anglo-American land speculations, and
Mexican revolutions, and by masterly presentation of his facts, has
reconstructed the personality of the father of Texas so that the
reader knows and loves him as one held dear and not long dead.
For Barker is one of the few modern historical writers possessed
of a fine literary touch. He writes in strict conformity to the
canons of modern historical writing, yet his narrative glows with
romantic charm. The imagination of the novelist could hardly
conceive a hero as interesting as Stephen F. Austin; and few of
those who write to entertain can approach the beautiful propor-
tioning, piquant style and purity of diction, which characterize
Especially pleasing are the delightful early chapters which deal
with the migrations of the Austin family prior to the beginnings
of the Texas venture, and with Austin's early life. There is not
much in American literature finer than our glimpse of the child-
hood of Stephen F. Austin, in the little half French village on the
Missouri frontier, where he "was to grow to manhood with in-
stinctive, sympathetic understanding of gentle, courteous, proud
and sensitive people, whose friendship and good will depended
upon the observance of social niceties that the Anglo-American too
often dismisses with self-conscious embarrassment. It was among
such people that his great work was to be done, and upon the
harmonious cooperation of such that his success was to depend";
or the deft characterization of Moses Austin, which shows better
than a volume of expository writing could have done why the
success of the Texas project depended on the early transfer of its
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 29, July 1925 - April, 1926, periodical, 1926; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117141/m1/344/: accessed June 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.