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Wellman has deduced- from significant research- a close relationship in thought and action between Andrew Jackson and Sam Houston in the years in which they were center stage in the coming of age of the young republic. Historians may carp-but readers will find this dual biography richly rewarding and almost unfailingly convincing. These were the years of the Indian Wars, in which Jackson played a vital part which go on to the annexation of Texas, in which Houston was a key figure (and Jackson, almost on his deathbed, contributed immeasurably by bombardment of the critics. The story is primarily Jackson's,- a dramatic, often poignant story, of a very great man who was at times the victim of his greatness, of his hates, his violence, his loyalties and his untouchable honesty. The portrait Wellman paints is in some respects rather sharply different from other interpretations, but unfailingly human. Sam Houston's story, interwoven as their lines cross, is a unique one:- his rise to eminence, and his dramatic fall, actually- Wellman claims- through no fault of his own other than a kind of chivalry; his disappearance as he returns to a life with the Indians, familiar from his childhood; and then his tortuous climb once more to fame as the defender of the new and grimly won territory- Texas- freed from Mexico, striving to hold and build its own identity, repudiated repeatedly by Washington (despite Jackson's efforts)- at last joined in union with the United States. Through these years too Jackson fought personal battles and political ones, and struggled against other major figures (Clay, Webster, et al). A vigorous historical-biographical novel, which by its very controversial viewpoint may gain considerable reportorial space.

Pub Date: Aug. 3rd, 1962
Publisher: Doubleday