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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 488

In Make Way for Sam Houston , Fritz has sought to create a readable, personalized account of Houston’s life. The fact that the book does not go into excruciating detail makes it attractive for young readers who are interested in learning about Houston and about the part of the United...

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In Make Way for Sam Houston, Fritz has sought to create a readable, personalized account of Houston’s life. The fact that the book does not go into excruciating detail makes it attractive for young readers who are interested in learning about Houston and about the part of the United States history in which he played such an important role.

Fritz focuses primarily on Houston’s affinity for the flamboyant and the unconventional, making her book much more interesting to younger readers than a dry recitation of facts. Her writing style portrays Houston as a very passionate man, and her books are usually characterized by this attention to the personality of the main character. This goal is accomplished in Make Way for Sam Houston by looking at specific events in Houston’s life, such as the symbolism of the eagle as his medicine animal, in order to give the reader a sense of the forces that shaped his personality and later led to certain significant events in his career. By allowing the reader to experience some of Houston’s feelings, Fritz brings him alive and provides a sense of Houston as a real person while at the same time allowing him to seem larger than life.

When describing Houston’s childhood, Fritz emphasizes his stubbornness, mentions his childhood hero, Gaius Marius, and tells of his childhood dream of running away. These three things allow a young reader to identify very readily with Houston, as most children have heroes, become stubborn about certain things, and sometimes wish that they could run away. Fritz has used these events, however, to show how they influenced the later choices that Houston made in his life.

The author has managed to describe her subject’s political views in an objective manner while still giving the reader a sense of Houston’s own feelings on important issues of the day. These issues are presented as secondary to Houston’s personality, so that the reader does not become bored by the details of the political issues with which he dealt. While Fritz does not make it clear whether Houston supported or opposed slavery, his opposition to the proposal of the South’s secession from the Union is undeniable. This position was more a matter of believing in Andrew Jackson’s view that the United States must be kept whole rather than of trying to deal with the slavery issue. Therefore, Make Way for Sam Houston is objective only in the sense that it does not try to force the reader to believe in one viewpoint or another. Houston’s views on the subject of slavery, which was one of the most important issues of the day, are only noted in the fact that he sought to maintain the established system of compromises and balances. Houston’s primary motivation is presented as the wish to keep his country together and to improve upon it, if possible.

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