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Texas State Historian pens book on Sam Houston, unveils in Carthage

Panola College

The State Historian of Texas Bill O’Neal of Carthage will debut his new book on Texas icon Sam Houston Tuesday, March 1 at Panola College. The prolific writer has penned more than 40 books. This latest one explores Sam Houston’s leadership abilities.

O’Neal has been a lifelong fan of the larger-than-life Houston who was a governor in two states, a military general and lawyer.

“My parents, knowing I was a history nut even as a kid, very graciously took me to the Alamo and they took me to Huntsville where Sam Houston’s home and museum is and now that gigantic statue that sits on I-45 that is 67 feet tall,” O’Neal said. “At Panola College, where I’ve taught since 1970, I lectured for more than 30 years every semester in my Texas history classes about Sam Houston.”

O’Neal delves into nuances about Houston’s character that informed his leadership style. He was strong-headed, O’Neal says, and kept his own counsel as a political leader.

“He would hear people out, but he never would tell you what he was doing. He definitely had a secretive side. He was very good about taking responsibility. He’d say we’re going to do things my way, and if they didn’t go well he certainly took responsibility for them,” O’Neal said.

O’Neal’s book, titled “Sam Houston: A Study in Leadership,” is published by Aekin Press of Fort Worth.

O’Neal speaks in Panola’s M.P. Baker Library at noon Tuesday, March 1. It kicks off two weeks of programs and signings by O’Neal across the state.

Wednesday, March 2 is Sam Houston’s birthday coinciding with the 180th anniversary of the signing of Texas’ Declaration of Independence. O’Neal will speak in Dallas that day as part of a Texas A&M University-Commerce lecture series.

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