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Seat of Empire: The Embattled Birth of Austin, Texas
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Seat of Empire: The Embattled Birth of Austin, Texas

3.62  ·  Rating Details  ·  16 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
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 dis ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published July 3rd 2013 by Texas Tech University Press (first published March 15th 2013)
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Louis
Aug 27, 2013 Louis rated it it was amazing
History may be written by the winners, as the saying goes, but they can still be forgotten in time. Such a man was Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar. Today he is known (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 this book offers a juicy one.

Lamar had risen from obscurity (a refugee from family sorrow in Georgia
...more
Sam Sattler
Aug 29, 2013 Sam Sattler rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Modern observers know that the business of politics is a nasty one. Jeffrey Stuart Kerr’s Seat of Empire reminds us, however, that as politics goes, it is simply business as usual, that little has changed since the founding of this country – or since the earliest days of Texas history. Here, Kerr tells the story behind the “birth of Austin, Texas,” a city forever linked to the personal feud between the first two presidents of the Republic of Texas: Sam Houston and Mirabeau B. Lamar.

Lamar was de
...more
Melissa
Mar 25, 2016 Melissa rated it really liked it
Shelves: texas
I've spent more than a few years dabbling in Texas history--and at the end of this book, I realized I had learned so much. There just aren't that many books about the Republic years--and how incredibly chaotic they were. It's hard to think of Austin as the frontier, and yet it was.
Sam Houston doesn't come off as a saint here, which was also rather refreshing. Highly recommended--and it made for some really great conversations at the DHV book club.
Aaron Arnold
Dec 17, 2013 Aaron Arnold rated it really liked it
I'd always wondered what the full story was behind the small statue at 7th and Congress of a defiant woman firing a cannon. I knew that she was protecting the state government archives in Austin from people trying to move them to Houston, but I never really knew where that colorful episode fit into the larger history of Austin. Kerr has written an exhaustively detailed history that answers just about any question a curious reader might have about that incident, as well as provides an interesting ...more
Helen
Nov 05, 2014 Helen rated it liked it
Those of us who grew up in Texas and had Texas history in Jr. High (yes, it was called that in the 50's) never really learned about the animosity between Lamar and Houston. But now we know the whole story thanks to Dr. Kerr's well researched book.

I would love to have seen the site of the capital as Lamar saw it back then. Now we have tall buildings, traffic and a population explosion not the struggling town on the frontier.

"Build it and they will come," eventually.
Cara Cole
Dec 03, 2013 Cara Cole rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: People that love Texas
Recommended to Cara by: Goodreads
Shelves: first-reads
Must say that this book has taken me the second longest in my life to read. It may because I am not a fan of Texas or perhaps the way it was written is dreadfully dull. All the same it was a semi enjoyable once only read that had a lot of great detail and wit.
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Jeffrey Kerr entered Rice University in 1975 wanting to become a writer and historian. This plan soon gave way to more practical considerations and in 1984 Kerr earned his medical degree from Texas A&M University. 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 di
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