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January 29 , 2011

Sam Houston's Texas


When Sam Houston crossed the Red River for the first time in 1832, he termed Texas the "finest portion of the Globe that has ever blessed my vision." He soon made it his "abiding place" and became a lifelong traveller in his adopted country. By carriage and muleback his diplomatic, military, political, and personal activities took him over what is now the eastern half of the state—and he fell in love with every foot of it. With panoramic vision and broad descriptive power, he expressed his lasting affection for the country in everything he said and wrote. Sue Flanagan, having read every available word by and about Houston and having followed the trail of every trip he made in Texas, here presents the Texas which Houston knew—through his picturesque language and through the camera's carefully focused lens. Her story provides continuity for Houston's activities and perspective for her photographs; it also provides an expression of Houston's views in his own forthright and emphatic manner. But the essence of this book is its 113 photographs. The face of Texas east of San Antonio is pictured in all its varied features. With great patience and discernment, Sue Flanagan brought to bear all the skills of her artistic photography to capture the landscapes, buildings, and objects in the most revealing light and in the best atmospheric conditions for catching the appropriate mood. These spots in nature which Houston saw, these objects which he knew, these houses where he was entertained and where he lived—all are tangible reminders of "this colorful, cagey, and controversial man," this Texas hero whose life was a tragedy in divided loyalties.
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