UNFLINCHING COURAGE by Kay Bailey Hutchison


Pioneering Women Who Shaped Texas
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Senator Hutchison (Leading Ladies: American Trailblazers, 2008, etc.) brings stories of her state’s unsung heroines to light.

The author writes of women who, in the early 19th century, followed their husbands to settle in Texas with its promise of cheap land and prosperity. Generally well educated and from genteel backgrounds, these pioneers had the courage and resilience to endure wars, primitive living conditions, diseases and grueling labor. It was all too common for women, such as Emily Austin Bryan Perry, sister of Stephen F. Austin (“the Father of Texas”), to survive the deaths of more than one husband and several children. Hutchison’s roots go back to her great-great grandfather Charles S. Taylor, a key figure in the state’s fight for independence from Mexico in 1836. During ensuing conflicts, her great-great grandmother was among the women who packed their families in wagons and headed east, fleeing the Mexican army in what was called the “Runaway Scrape.” Like many others, her three daughters died along the way. Readers will also learn about Margaret Houston, who suffered from melancholy, disliked politics and tended her eight children, mostly alone, while Sam Houston was away managing affairs of the state; Rachel Parker Plummer, who was kidnapped by a Comanche tribe and rescued, forever scarred by the ordeal; and Sarah Cockrell, the “mother of Dallas.” The book is laden with historical facts, and some readers may wish for more fluid storytelling, but Hutchison ably sets down a record of these remarkable women’s lives. For readers who want to learn more, she provides a comprehensive bibliography.

Though regional in nature, the hardships and contributions of these pioneers reflect those of women across the country. A valuable resource for the archives of Texas and women’s history.

Pub Date: April 9th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-06-213069-3
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2013


NonfictionLEADING LADIES by Kay Bailey Hutchison
by Kay Bailey Hutchison