The author of the two fine Johnny Texas stories- Johnny Texas and Johnny Texas on the San Antonio Road-turns to non-fiction with an equally convincing biography of Stephen Austin. Careful research has led to an absorbing narrative created from Austin's own writings and conversation during his full and not always happy life. Without intent of being a frontiersman, Stephen nevertheless started life pioneering with his family in Virginia and Missouri and though the quiet years at school in Connecticut and as a student lawyer in New Orleans pleased him more, he was ready to go to Texas to continue the colonizing work of his father when Moses Austin died. Years of effort, marked by definite progress, seemed, however, to be more closely identified with failure as Austin struggled earnestly for peace with the Mexicans and with the knotty problems of independent Texas and ultimately war with Mexico. Family grief dogged him too for Austin was deeply affectionate yet strangely too concerned for others to grasp his own happiness. An excellent biography at top level reading for youngsters- 10 and up.