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"Dr. Gregg Cantrell takes a penetrating look into the life of one of the greatest men in Texas history and reveals to us the man behind the legend, Stephen F. Austin. Dr. Cantrell approaches Stephen F. Austin's life and the effects of his life on two nations with a sharp eye for detail. Richly entertaining from start to finish, Stephen F. Austin, Empresario of Texas gives us a deeper appreciation for our history and a better understanding of a man to whom we owe much, a man who shaped our future." Laura Bush, First Lady "An elegantly researched and reasoned portrait." Paula Mitchell Marks, New York Times Book Review "An engrossing story... A rewarding trip through history, a revealing account of one man's transformation from a businessman into a world-class statesman." Robert Nash, Dallas Morning News "Reads like a novel... A fine book." Margaret Swett Henson, Houston Chronicle "A splendid and long overdue new life of the acknowledged Father of (Anglo-) Texas." T.R. Fehrenbach, San Antonio Express-News
Cantrell (history, Hardin-Simmons Univ.) has written the first major biography of Austin, the "Father of Texas," since Eugene C. Barker's Life of Stephen F. Austin (1925). Unlike his predecessor, who gave readers a sterile rendering of Austin, Cantrell seeks to understand this complex individual. The result is a biography in the truest sense as it follows Austin from his childhood to his death. Cantrell examines Austin in the context of his time and place but does not get distracted by the multiplicity of events surrounding the subject of his research. Cantrell's prose is lively and engaging, but ever the historian, he makes excellent use of primary sources in the United States and Mexico. While not all may agree with the conclusions Cantrell draws, e.g., that Austin offered lukewarm support to slavery, this remains a compelling and engaging account that will appeal both to the lay reader and scholar. Highly recommended.ÄDaniel D. Liestman, Kansas State Univ. Lib., Manhattan Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.