Born for the Storm: A Sam Houston Novel

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Sam Houston, namesake of a great city, was among the most contradictory characters in American history. A war hero, statesman, maker of marathon speeches, prodigious drinker, brawler, and leader of the Texas revolution, he was also a peacemaker and diplomat. He served as governor of two different U.S. states and as president of the independent Republic of Texas. His two contrasting father figures were a Cherokee chief, who adopted the runaway teen Houston, and U.S. President Andrew Jackson, who later tasked Lieutenant Houston with moving Cherokee off of cherished ancestral lands in the Southeast. In Born for the Storm, novelist Robert Wisehart tells Houston’s story not as an arid history lesson, but as a grand, coursing adventure of the early 19th century. Wisehart puts the reader amid the swirling currents of the times and takes us into the thoughts of his compelling protagonist—a creation that hews closely to the facts surrounding the historical Houston yet possesses all the dimensions of a first-rate fictional hero whose faults sometimes overwhelm his considerable virtues. The novel follows Houston from his Tennessee frontier upbringing to his time among the Cherokee, his muddle-headed bravery at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, his first exposure to national politics in a raw young Washington, his tumultuous term as Tennessee governor and beyond. Along the way, the novel introduces us to a surprisingly tenderhearted Jackson, President James Monroe, the rock-ribbed statesman John C. Calhoun, future presidents James K. Polk and James Buchanan, and the poet-lawyer Francis Scott Key, among many other historical characters. Perhaps the most surprising thing about the Born for the Storm is that Sam Houston’s life was so full of drama and adventure before he ever set foot in Texas. Readers of this book will be eager for Wisehart’s Houston sequel, The Rising..