In this colorful, witty and compact ""history"" of his own state, the author of The Day of San Jacinto and other books about Texas devotes himself more to personalities than to dates, more to exploring forgotten corners of the Texas past than to recording details of politics and battles. Cutting legend down to size, he writes of the miseries of Spanish explorers, of Indians and early settlers, of a Davy Crockett who is not quite the hero of today's TV, and of the great Sam Houston, Governor of Texas, U.S. Senator, and ""the only general who was ever able to control a Republic of Texas Army"". Telling the story of the Alamo, lost only because a romantic officer refused to obey Houston's order to abandon it, the author writes also of Santa Anna and his ""yellow rose"", of forgotten heroines like Sally Skull, who in the Civil War hauled cotton for the Confederacy, and of the still-remembered Temple Houston, Sam Houston's youngest son, a brilliant lawyer who could -- and did -- outshoot Billy the Kid. Holding in its pages the flavor rather than the hard facts of Texas life, past and present, this book by an author with Texas in his bones will, not surprisingly, find its greatest appeal among Texans; not for stern historians, it will appeal to addicts of well-written accounts of the American South-west.