Book Talk and Signing

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August 19, 2013 - I'll be appearing at Book People in Austin Thursday August 22, 2013 at 7 p.m. for a brief talk about my latest book, Seat of Empire: The Embattled Birth of Austin, Texas.  After the talk I'll hang around to sign books, answer questions, and gab with you about Texas history.  Hope to see you there! 

BOOK TALK & SIGNING

Thursday, August 22, 2013  7 p.m.

Book People

600 North Lamar

Austin, Texas

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Seat of Empire: The Embattled Birth of Austin, Texas

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I am happy to announce that Texas Tech Press has released my latest book, Seat of Empire: The Embattled Birth of Austin, Texas.  

Here is the jacket blurb: 

"In 1838 Texas vice president Mirabeau B. Lamar, flush from the excitement of a successful buffalo hunt, gazed from a hilltop toward the paradise at his feet and saw the future. His poetic eye admired the stunning vista before him, with its wavering prairie grasses gradually yielding to clusters of trees, then whole forests bordering the glistening Colorado River in the distance. Lamar’s equally awestruck companions, no strangers to beautiful landscapes, shuffled speechlessly nearby. But where these men saw only nature’s handiwork, Lamar visualized a glorious manmade transformation--trees into buildings, prairie into streets, and the river itself into a bustling waterway. And he knew that with the presidency of the Republic of Texas in his grasp, he would soon be in position to achieve this vision.

The founding of Austin sparked one of the Republic’s first great political battles, pitting against each other two Texas titans: Lamar, who in less than a year had risen to vice president from army private, and Sam Houston, the hero of San Jacinto and a man both loved and hated throughout the Republic.

The shy, soft-spoken, self-righteous Lamar dreamed of a great imperial capital in the wilderness, but to achieve it faced the hardships of the frontier, the mighty Comanche nation, the Mexican army, and the formidable Houston’s political might."

Endorsements:

"In his lively depiction of the founding of Austin as the capital of Texas, Jeffrey Kerr offers colorful accounts of the scenic setting, early settlers, and contentious times. Against the broader controversy of how to maintain and develop the Republic, he guides us through the ongoing struggle waged between Mirabeau Lamar and Sam Houston, the first two presidents, over the desirability of a new frontier capital."–Alwyn Barr, author of Texans in Revolt: The Battle for San Antonio, 1835

"Seat of Empire is the best relatively succinct account I know of the events, places, and people so central in the city's and state's history. General readers, state and local lawmakers, college students, and historians will find pleasure and profit in its pages. Kerr provides illuminating contexts for the passionately contested and inevitably politicized question of location and sketches adroitly the picturesque (and often picaresque) pistol-packing politicos caught up in the jousts." –Harold Hyman, William P. Hobby Professor of History Emeritus, Rice University

Excerpt from review in True West Magazine 

"Austin historian Jeffrey Stuart Kerr’s meticulous research and dedication to writing Seat of Empire: The Embattled Birth of Austin, Texas is the most thorough history of the dynamic personalities, political intrigue and powerful self-interests of empire, nation building and manifest destiny that led to the birth of the Texas capital."

The book is available on Amazon here

Austin in 1840

Seat of Empire

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Jacob Fontaine's Gold Dollar

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September 13, 2012 - 

The "evils of slavery" kept Jacob Fontaine apart from his sister Nelly for two decades.  

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The Flores Fight: Austin's Role in the Eviction of the Texas Cherokee

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August 23, 2012 - 

In 1836 Sam Houston negotiated a treaty with the Texas Cherokee that guaranteed land to the tribe in exchange for neutrality in the Texas Revolution against Mexico.  

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The Historic Building That Isn't

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August 8, 2012 - 

 

Question: when is an historic building no longer historic?

Answer: when its owner wants to tear it down.

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Jim Maxwell's Barbecue

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August 2, 2012 - 

Half a century after being forced to free his slaves, Jim Maxwell missed them.  So he threw them a barbecue.  Descendants of some of those who attended say they'd have gone too.  Read more about it here.

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