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Seat of Empire: The Embattled Birth of Austin, Texas (Grover E. Murray Studies in the American Southwest) Hardcover – July 3, 2013


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Product Details

  • Series: Grover E. Murray Studies in the American Southwest
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Texas Tech University Press; 1 edition (July 3, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0896727823
  • ISBN-13: 978-0896727823
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,134,199 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

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

About the Author

Jeffrey S. Kerr is the author of two other books on Texas history, Austin, Texas: Then and Now (a 2005 nonfiction finalist for the Writers’ League of Texas Violet Crown Award) and The Republic of Austin (now in its third printing). He also writes a regular history column for the online periodical Austin Post. He and his wife, Sharon, live in Austin.


More About the Author

Jeffrey Kerr entered Rice University in 1975 wanting to become a writer and historian, but this plan soon gave way to more practical considerations. In 1984, Kerr earned his medical degree from Texas A&M University, and after a residency at Wake Forest University, the newly accredited pediatric neurologist moved back to Texas to establish a successful practice in Austin.

Not long thereafter, Kerr discovered the Austin History Center and its incredible collection of archival photographs. Jeff's first book was AUSTIN, TEXAS-THEN AND NOW (2004), followed by THE REPUBLIC OF AUSTIN(2010), and now his third release--the story of Austin's founding, SEAT OF EMPIRE (Texas Tech University Press, 7/15/13).

Visit the author at
http://www.jeffreyskerr.com

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Masterful job of providing notes.
J. Cooper
How that town became Austin, the capital of the new republic, is the subject of this fascinating book.
Louis Burklow
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in Texas and Austin history.
TF

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Louis Burklow on August 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Jeffrey Stuart Kerr's Seat of Empire brings a forgotten political maneuver back to life. Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar is known today (if at all) as a 19th century Texas politician. His greatest political triumph is brought to vivid life in Jeffrey Stuart Kerr's Seat of Empire: The Embattled Birth of Austin, Texas. For anyone who enjoys reading about epic political feuds and maneuverings this book offers juicy ones.

Lamar had risen from obscurity to military hero in the Texas revolution from Mexico and the vice presidency of the new Republic of Texas. In 1838 he was the unanimous choice to become president of his new nation. The incumbent was not allowed to succeed himself. This was Sam Houston, the ultimate hero of Texas' battle for independence,who soon became his successor's bitter opponent. The Mexican army and Comanche nation also threatened Lamar's hold on power. Even so, the new president found the time to engage in political pursuits. A buffalo hunt in 1838 brought him to a small community called Waterloo. How that town became Austin, the capital of the new republic, is the subject of this fascinating book.

Kerr brings long-forgotten political maneuvering and feuds back to life. The impressive research shows how a single decision made for political reasons managed to create an important and vital American city.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By K. Searle on August 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover
According to author, Jeffrey Stuart Kerr, "the government of the Republic of Texas assembled at seven different locations in nine years [and] the state of Texas has had only one seat of government in its 161 year history." Have you ever wondered how Austin became the capital of the state of Texas? Kerr's new book Seat of Empire: The Embattled Birth of Austin, Texas answers this question in a very entertaining way. Kerr relates one unlikely event after another to tell the story of how the tiny village of Waterloo, struggling for its very existence along the far edge of the western settlements in the Republic of Texas, went on to become the permanent capital of Texas.

Seat of Empire explains how the town of Austin became a political football between two ideologies competing for dominance during the Republic of Texas era. On one side was the first President of the Republic of Texas, Sam Houston, who was strongly in favor of annexation and statehood for Texas. On the other side was the second President of the Republic of Texas, Mirabeau B. Lamar, who hid his dreams of a Texian empire extending from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean from no one. In the 1830's, the vast majority of the population of the Republic of Texas was located in the east. This was where Sam Houston wanted the capital. In accordance with Mirabeau B. Lamar's aspirations of empire, Lamar wanted the capital of Texas to be established as far west as he could possibly push it so that it would be more centrally located within his envisioned empire. Austin was his choice.

You may think you know this story, but you don't. There is a lot of new information here gleaned from previously untapped primary sources. Buy, read and enjoy Seat of Empire: The Embattled Birth of Austin, Texas. Seat of Empire is published by Texas Tech University Press (2013) and is included in the Grover E. Murray Studies in the American Southwest series.

-K. K. Searle, Texas History Page
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By DJ on August 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a long-time resident of Austin, I thoroughly enjoyed this engaging and descriptive history of the earliest years of the city. Jeffrey Kerr relies upon many solid historical sources to draw the reader into the personalities, passions, and politics of frontier Texas, at a time when Indian raids were a very real threat and herds of buffalo still roamed the plains. This book presents many daily-life events from early Austin, as well as significant historical events that I had not encountered elsewhere. It also reveals several interesting parallels with modern politics and current events - some things never change. I recommend this book to those interested in the history of Austin or of Texas, as well as to any reader with an interest in the settlement of the American West.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By TF on August 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Jeff Kerr has done a scholarly job of taking the reader inside the political as well as the logistical establishment of Austin as the Capital of Texas. Those who are Texas history buffs will enjoy reading about the legislative tactics used by those who wished to move the capital out of Houston. Especially enjoyable are the stories about those who really "built" Austin and who were her early settlers, the Bartons, Bullocks, Wallers. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in Texas and Austin history.
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