Fritz, award-winning biographer (the 1985 Regina Medal and the 1986 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award), has a genius for selection of details which illuminate her subject, neatly fit her careful design, and entertain the reader. Her new biography of Sam Houston is a Fine addition to her impressive list of achievements. Houston "liked to do things in a big way or not at all." He also preferred to do them his own way. As a boy he was too busy reading to bother with school or conventional employment. By the time he was 21, he'd spent three years living with the Cherokees and fought heroically in the War of 1812 under General Andrew Jackson, his lifelong mentor. Taking up the law, his size, manner and charm got him elected to one office after another, including US congressman and governor of Tennessee. Flamboyant, he sported a different costume for each role, not as turncoat but as man of many talents. But when his wife left him, he left the governorship and went back to the Indians, before going on to Texas, where he became first president of the Republic. With her forthright, compact style, Fritz breezes through this welter of events and keeps them relevant and interesting. Primavera's occasional drawings are well designed and suggest the robust flavor of the man and his era. Notes, bibliography, index.